I think that the majority of people out there, kids included, know what they are supposed to eat to maintain and protect their health. So why then do we struggle so profoundly with diet-related diseases, obesity, and a vast array of chronic health issues. Because of the perception that making the healthy choice isn’t the easy choice, or the delicious one.
Notice I used the word perception. It’s not true, it just appears that way! Healthy, wholesome foods can be simple, quick, and yummy, all at the same time! I talk about it a lot, but that’s because I think it’s really important. One of the barriers we experience in this area is education. People aren’t sitting down to home-cooked, nutritious meals because they don’t know how to cook. Kids are buying poor quality food from their school’s cafeteria at lunch time because they don’t know how to prepare simple foods which they can pack in a school lunch. We lack education. In this case, knowledge is everything, and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day is a worldwide campaign to get our governments on board with making practical food education a compulsory part of our schools’ curriculum. Every child should have the opportunity to learn where food comes from, how to cook it, and how it affects their bodies. That right there, is a recipe for better health!
Raising awareness and initiating change in this area is difficult, and Jamie’s idea has been in the works for years now. I remember watching Jamie’s TEDTalk a while ago now. It was filmed back in 2010, in Jamie’s younger days which also involved some exciting hair styling! But I still remember the passion with which he spoke, and his impressionable visual demonstration involving a wheelbarrow of sugar cubes. I remember thinking to myself that this guy was right, he was onto something. I was also inspired because I knew that his celebrity chef status and amicable demeanour (I mean c’mon, the British accent doesn’t hurt) meant that he just could be the one to get the job done. It’s 2015, and his Food Revolution petition has more than 1,000,000 signatures, and counting.
In celebration of Food Revolution Day, I’m sharing with you one of Jamie’s own recipes for Orange & Polenta Cake, because every celebration needs a cake, and because a slice of celebratory cake can definitely be a part of healthy living. This uniquely rustic cake uses cornmeal and almond flour in place of white cake flour which produces a dense, rich, and flavourful treat! Packed with lots of punch and zing from orange zest baked right into the cake, and topped with a spicy orange juice syrup, this cake is one that’s truly worthy of sharing around the table with family and friends.
It’s simple – slaving in the kitchen for hours is not necessary! And I think we’ve already established that it at least looks delish. I’ll leave the taste test up to you. I actually cut the sugar by half from what was listed in the original recipe, both in the cake and the syrup, and no one missed it at all. It was still perfectly sweet enough to taste like dessert. I thought about leaving out the sugary syrup topping all together and keeping the sugar in the cake, but decided that the syrup would be missed because of all the fresh orange juice taste and warm spices that would contribute to the overall flavour profile. Hence the compromise to cutback in the cake and in the syrup. Now, functionally, reducing the sugar in the cake didn’t cause any problems, but I knew reducing sugar from the syrup would require some additional work to get it to thicken up. All of these little decisions and thought processes that I used to reduce the sugar content of a dessert recipe by 50% and still have it turn out, came from years of practice in the kitchen, and time spent learning the tricks of the trade. I had the opportunity to be educated about food because I was passionate about it and was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by people who both loved to cook, and were good at it! They taught me so much, and I only wish every child would have the same opportunity. Help us make it happen! Sign the petition, and share it.