He performed a few of the same tricks that he did in England - showing the kids a variety of vegetables to discover that few, if any of them could name a single one. They didn't even know that French Fries were made out of potatoes. He also demonstrated what went into chicken nuggets by making them in front of the kids. In a remarkable exception to the usual result, even though the kids were suitably revolted by the crap that went into the nuggets, once they were shaped into nugget form and fried, (the nuggets that is), all the kids still elected to eat them. Jamie was, not surprisingly, shocked at this result and realised he had perhaps under-estimated the goal of revolutionizing school meals in the USA.
And you wanna know the bit that depressed me most? Not the fact that the kids wouldn't try anything new (heck, come over to my place), nor the fact that the adults were complaining about the cost of giving the kids real food - but the fact that lunches were served without knives and forks.
Anyone who's spent any time here will know that Americans regularly forego a knife at the table. Only last week I had lunch with someone who attempted to cut up iceberg lettuce - with a fork! (The knife was right there on the table.) My own children cut up their food like cavemen despite years of me standing over them and physically putting their hands in the right position. It's just not a big thing here. A lot of kids' food is what they call "finger food" - burgers, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, and pizza. My 14 year old tries to cram as many food items into that category as he possibly can, such is his aversion to using cutlery/flatware. I remember yelling at him a few years back "Ice cream is NOT finger food."
So, I am popping over to Jamie's web site to sign his petition to get healthier food into American schools (please join me), but I'll be adding my own little addendum - "and give them knives and forks too".