Food Revolution Day 2014: Make Rainbow Wraps With Jamie Oliver
May 16 marks the third annual Food Revolution Day, a worldwide celebration organized by the U.K.- and U.S.-based Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, and The Good Foundation of Australia. This year, the event focuses on inspiring kids all over the world to cook fresh and healthy food from scratch.
"Everyone knows that over the last few years I've been passionate about getting kids and young people to be taught to cook, whether in schools or at home," Oliver said in a press release about this year's event. "I believe that we all now have a duty to teach children to understand what food does to their bodies if we're going to make any progress in tackling obesity and diet-related disease."
Oliver's trying to tackle a huge global problem. The European Association for the Study of Obesity reported 40 million children under the age of five around the world were overweight or obese in 2011, and in 2013, the American Heart Association reported that more than 30 percent of girls and boys ages 2 to 19 in the U.S. were overweight or obese. Those staggering numbers are exactly what Oliver and his team are trying to reverse.
Can teaching kids to cook fix this problem? Oliver has spent the last several years evangelizing fresh food made from scratch, and while it might not be the foolproof solution, mounting evidence about the dangers of highly processed and fast food indicates any effort to keep kids eating whole foods will certainly help.
The centerpiece of the May 16 effort will be a global live cooking lesson hosted by Jamie himself. He's teaching from London, so the lesson will start at 8 a.m. on the East Coast of the U.S. (which means for those of us on the West Coast, we'd have to get cooking at 5 a.m.). If that's too early, no worries—a recorded version of the lesson will be available starting a half hour later. Anyone who participates in the lesson between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. EDT (or 5 a.m. and 4 p.m. PDT) can be part of Jamie's Guinness World Record attempt for the "most participants in a cookery lesson in 24 hours (multiple venues)." If you and your kids have ever wanted to set a world record, this could be the way to achieve that goal!
During the lesson, Jamie will teach kids how to make his Rainbow Salad Wrap, which mixes shredded vegetables and herbs with feta and a tangy, yogurt-based dressing. Many of the main ingredients—beets, carrots, cabbage, parsley and mint—were available at my local farmers' market when I tried the recipe this week, and it comes together easily and quickly. Kids can help shop for the ingredients, make the salad, and mix and shake the dressing in a small mason jar.
The recipe calls for a box grater to shred the beets, carrots, cabbage and pear. I opted to use my food processor instead—it's faster than a box grater and there's less risk of little knuckles ending up nicked. Kids will love shoving vegetables into the chute and sending them through with the food pusher. Just don't do what I did as I tried to grate the carrots—I put them in the feed tube, then couldn't find the food pusher...until I realized I'd left it in the tube, which meant it was holding the carrots outside the processor. This little cooking mishap greatly amused my husband.
The recipe also encourages the use of other firm, in-season fruits or vegetables. I completely forgot to buy the requisite pear at the store, but had a drawerful of zucchini, and that made an able substitute in a pinch.
The wraps can be blanketed in a tortilla, of course, but if your kids are bigger fans of pita bread or lavash, those would both work well. I also ate the leftovers for a few days after making the recipe just as a salad, once adding diced cucumber to switch things up.
No matter how you celebrate Food Revolution Day, Jamie encourages everyone to share their experiences on social media using #FRD2014. Share your photos, thoughts and cooking successes, and help change our food culture one recipe at a time!
Here are a few more resources for teaching kids how to cook:
- The USDA has some great links for teaching kids of all ages to cook.
- Michael Pollan offers lots of great ideas for where to find resources on this subject.
- Lori Hinze's blog "Cook, Learn, Grow!" is a virtual cooking school for kids.
- At "Cooking With My Kid," learn some great recipes that all feature direct kid participation!
How will you participate in Food Revolution Day 2014? Share your thoughts in the comments below.