As I struggle through the latest round of problem sets, it's easy to lose perspective and become entrapped in a web of partial differential equations. However, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution project has been on my mind a lot lately and helps me keep in mind what really matters. At the latest TED conference earlier this year, he proposed his wish to "to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”
I feel totally disconnected from the public school system right now, but his message resonates me for several reasons:
- I'm helping develop the "Science of Cooking" class to be taught at Harvard this fall. The class itself is only open to Harvard undergraduates, but many other people have expressed interest in the course. I think that food is a great way to introduce all types of people (including elementary school students) to topics ranging from physics and chemistry to neuroscience and ecology.
- I'm also helping organize a TEDx event in Cambridge, inspired by Jamie Oliver's TED wish. I've already discovered many fascinating new ways of thinking about the issues he raised by reaching out to potential speakers.
- I recently finished reading Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, Born Round by Frank Bruni, and Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, which explore the intersections of food, psychology, and behavior change.
- One of my role models for giving effective presentations, Garr Reynolds, is similarly inspired by the Food Revolution project (see here or here, for instance) and his written several times about the contrasts between fast food in America and traditional Japanese cuisine.