A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jamie's Meals in Minutes seems aimed at time-crunched parents who eat after the kids are in bed, rather than cooks making family meals. Ingredients are sometimes sophisticated things many kids wouldn't go for, like heads-on prawns or elderflower syrup. In addition, since Oliver's show was filmed in the U.K., some ingredients may be hard to find in the United States, and measurements are metric: centimeters, milliliters, degrees Celsius (though conversions may be offered onscreen). Despite those mild limitations, this program will get viewers craving their vegetables, as Oliver passionately extols their virtues and shows how to get the most out of them. Kids and parents who watch together may get any number of ideas for dishes that'll work at the family dinner table.
What's the story?
Firmly rooted in the \"stand and stir\" mode of traditional cooking shows, JAMIE'S MEALS IN MINUTES distinguishes itself by being a non-vegetarian cooking show that focuses heavily on vegetables. Host Jamie Oliver prepares a meal in under 30 minutes: main dish, sides, dessert, as a graphic clock ticks away the minutes in between each dish. At the end of the half-hour, Oliver sits down and eats the meal he just prepared with his wife as the credits roll.
Is it any good?
Jamie's Meals in Minutes does its job: It makes you hungry for whatever Oliver's making on the show, as well as making you think you could possibly whip up this stuff yourself, as the cooking techniques tend towards the simple. All the vegetables and fruit used on the show looks glowing and yummy, and Oliver himself is so enthused over the flavor of a crunchy raw squash or a bite of sweet corn that watching may encourage your own produce appreciation.
The food is exactly the kind of stuff you'd expect the archenemy of pink slime to cook: salads, fruit-based desserts, light on the meat, lots of seafood. It's food that kids may or may not appreciate, so don't tune in expecting "meals for the whole family" in 30 minutes. Unless you have a child who doesn't mind chopped bird chiles and prawns with all their legs on.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Jamie Oliver serves so many different fruits and vegetables in each meal. Can you count the number of vegetables? Do you know how many servings of fruit and vegetables you are supposed to eat each day?
Have you heard of Jamie Oliver before? Do you know about some of the stunts he's staged around healthy/less-processed food? Knowing his background, are you more or less likely to believe that this is the type of food Jamie Oliver cooks and eats at home?
Do you think it really takes Jamie Oliver a half-hour to cook the food he makes on the show? How long do you think it takes him to clean up after he cooks? Do you think he's the one cleaning up? Who buys the food he cooks on his show? How long do you think that takes, in addition to the cooking and the cleaning?
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