Turkey Twizzler Moments and Public Policy Discourse
At an early, dramatic and pivotal point in the School Dinners series Jamie Oliver demonstrated the potential influence that these sorts of series can have on public discourse – particularly when joining up matters of (dis)taste, young people’s health and well-being, and apparent indifference by schools, local authorities and national governments. Oliver dramatised the poor quality of school meals in England by demonstrating to secondary school pupils how a ‘turkey twizzler’ is produced. The turkey twizzler was a food item found on many school dinner plates in the UK up to this point. Oliver’s graphic demonstration involved pulping the skins and organs of turkeys in a blender before adding various chemical constituents and forming these into shapes before covering them in chemically enhanced breadcrumbs and deep-frying these in saturated fat. This deeply affective display was successful in producing a visceral sense of disgust and revulsion in the young people who were Oliver’s audience.1 Indeed, the viewing public reacted with similar shock and disgust resulting in the turkey twizzler becoming ‘the most talked about food in Britain’ (Shooter, 2005). As a consequence, the twizzler (it doesn’t seem right to call it a turkey) was removed from school lunch menus by three major school catering companies.
KeywordsYoung People Civil Society Welfare State Primary School Child School Lunch
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