Jamie Oliver – Speciality Diets Month! + Interview with Food Fit For Felix Blogger
As part of one of Jamie’s ‘Ambassador Challenges’ for his ‘Food Revolution’, this months’ challenge is to do something for a ‘speciality’ diet. I’ve managed to hunt down one of his ambassadors for a chat about the scheme, as well as get him to give him a couple of his recipes which are good for kids. It just so happens that he’s also my cousin!
Alex Hodgkinson-Last has his own food blog (Food Fit for Felix) which was inspired by his son, Felix, and Jamie’s Food Revolution, which aims to allow people from all over the world to share their passion for food. Recently, he published an article about people with food intolerances, asking whether nowadays there are more people who are more ‘faddy’ than actually allergic to food. He lives in Cheltenham, England with his wife and two children.
1. Tell us more about Jamie’s Food Revolution and what it aims to achieve.
The Food Revolution is about celebrating the importance of cooking good food, passing on cooking skills and raising awareness of how food impacts our health and happiness. I belong to the Food Revolution Voluntary Ambassador program which was founded by The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA) back in 2012. The vision was simple; galvanise the global foodie community into a coordinated movement to keep cooking skills alive. We work together to bring about positive change to reduce the impact of diet-related disease in current and future generations around the world. Every year we focus our ongoing efforts on Food Revolution Day and to date, our collective voice has reached millions of people, young and old, and can boast successes such as inspiring over 10,400 cooking events across 121 countries in a single day! The message to take away? Get back to basics and start cooking good food from scratch. I have my wife to thank for my involvement in Jamie’s Food Revolution. She thought that I would be a good fit for the role and suggested that I apply.
2. Regarding your recent article about people with food intolerances, do any of your children/children’s friends have any allergies/intolerances to food? What was it that inspired the article?
I’m really pleased to say that they don’t. Perhaps this is a result of a balanced, varied and healthy diet following a full year breastfeeding? We do however have some dear friends that are unfortunate enough to have developed intolerances in the past few years. The more we delve into the subject and understand allergies and intolerances, the more we realised that we actually know lots of people that have suffered from the symptoms of ‘IBS’ that in hindsight was probably some form of food intolerance.
3. We all know that kids can be the fussiest eaters. What’s the best way to encourage children to try more exotic foods or get them to eat foods they may not necessarily like?
This is an interesting one. I concur that yes, they are certainly pretty fussy; even our two go through phases of disliking certain things, albeit briefly. This was slightly disappointing at first, but we have to appreciate that taste buds, like all of our senses, develop and change over time. We all need to be more adventurous about food, especially in the presence of children. Make it exciting and most importantly, make it fun; get them involved at every level from foraging to shopping, preparing to cooking and sharing. The more accomplished we become as cooks, the better we are at making humble ingredients really sing. Make them delicious! I ate some fairly ropey vegetables when I was a child, and that standard operating procedure of dinnerladies overcooking everything really put me off eating any vegetables for a long time. Factual education about the food we eat is so important, and the lack of it in the past is where we went wrong. Give them all the information in a digestible format (pardon the pun), and you’ll be amazed how they will make the right choices about what’s good for them.
4. Many people are overly critical about allergy testing in children saying that it can restrict the nutrition in their diet. Have either of your children been tested for food allergies? What would you say is the right time to get your child tested?
I’m not surprised at all. There’s still a lot of doubt and misunderstanding about intolerances. On a positive note, the picture does seem to be getting clearer as more scientific effort is devoted to this growing problem. Likewise, it’s getting more airtime and coverage across global and social media. I believe that it all comes down to diversity both in our everyday environments and in our eating habits. There’s good research suggesting that we need to protect our microbial diversity by exposure to the natural world. Get your kids outside, feed them a varied diet, and educate their immune systems! Thankfully we haven’t had any reason to have our children tested for food allergies, and I’m fairly certain that they have tried everything under the sun. I couldn’t really comment on parents testing their children as, very much like immunisations, it’s their own decision to make.
Raw Broccoli Salad
The recipe I have to share with you is for raw broccoli salad… I’m not sure that I would have gone for raw broccoli as a child, but this simple recipe elevates it to something that even kids love.
A great friend shared this with us on a camping trip. I admit that at first I was rather sceptical about eating raw broccoli, and I expect others to be hesitant. Trust me though, it’s so good that you won’t be able to put the bowl down.
- Flaked Almonds
- Cheddar Cheese
- Salt & Pepper
Cut the broccoli into bitesize florets. Mix them in a bowl with some grated cheddar cheese, a scattering of raisins and flaked almonds, and then add just enough mayonnaise to bind it all together. Season and serve.
Top Tip: Once you’ve separated a floret from the stalk, slice into the base of the stem and pull it apart rather than just hacking it up. It’s more time consuming, but they split evenly and you don’t end up with lots of tiny pieces.