Wholesome Inspiration on the Big Rig

Wholesome Inspiration On The Big Rig

Thu 09 Jan 2014

Story by Jennifer Randel

When I discovered that Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Big Rig was coming to Bakersfield, I was ecstatic! I’ve been a fan of Jamie’s for years and enjoyed watching his Food Revolution show on telelvision. I was excited about cooking Jamie’s recipes in a moving kitchen.

Although I am familiar with cooking with whole foods now, I ate many boxed and canned foods as a child. When I was growing up, iceberg lettuce and cucumbers were about the freshest that veggies got at our dinner table. It wasn’t until I met my now-husband, as a college student, that I tasted fresh asparagus! Up until that point, I thought asparagus only came out of a can. Since then, my fondness of cooking with whole foods has grown immensely. Now that I have small children, we enjoy visiting the farmer’s market together and seeing how many colors of the rainbow we can fill our bags with. When we get home, they help prepare some of our food.

I didn’t sign up for cooking classes on the Big Rig with hopes of being educated about the importance of eating healthy foods, but I knew there would still be something for me to learn. I was right. My seven year old daughter and I took 3 of the classes: Stir-It-Up Sizzling Beef, Baked White Fish & Broccoli, and All About Risotto.

The first class was so much fun because we got to cook side-by-side and I watched as a local food champion instructed her on using a chef’s knife to cut veggies--something she doesn’t get to do when we cook at home.

In the Baked White Fish class, my daughter and I had to work at separate stations. I was concerned that she’d be too shy, but she had a blast. She got to chop veggies and stir the bubbling sauce on her own. Meanwhile, I learned about various types of fish. I also learned that we could slice and cook broccoli stems along with the tops. They are yummy and have a flower-like shape, which is always a hit with kids. I was most inspired by this class because I got some tips about preparing homemade food in advance, freezing it, and re-heating it on a busy evening.

After class, once we were in the car, my daughter yelled out “Now I’m in the mood for cookin’!” Those words were like music to my ears.

When I asked my daughter to write about her Big Rig cooking experience, she wrote:
“I was excited to cook on the truck because my Mom really likes Jamie Oliver. I also loved using the chef’s knife to cut food by myself. And my favorite part was stirring the sauce. I would say that I can’t wait to do more cooking.”

Now that the Big Rig is on its way to another town, I am anxious to see how our local food champions will continue to educate other Kern County residents. In my opinion, there is no good excuse for anyone here in California’s Central Valley to not have access to fresh produce. Our valley farmers grow a simply amazing variety of fruits and veggies year-round. I am hopeful that Jamie’s Food Revolution roots will continue to grow until more people are shopping for their food at the Farmer’s Market than in the big box stores.

Find out more about the Big Rig 2013-2014 tour around California with The California Endowment at www.jamiesfoodrevolution.com/bigrig and follow @joffbigrig on both Twitter and Instagram to see pictures of classes in action.

About the author: Jennifer Randel is a Bakersfield native and full-time working mother of two with an interest in cooking. One of her proudest moments happened recently when her oldest child ate at a major fast food chain with a friend and later proclaimed that their food was “the grossest in the world”.


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