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Revenge of the Lunch Lady

In the fall of 2009, the British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver arrived in Huntington, West Virginia, which had recently been named the unhealthiest city in America. Huntingtonians were suffering in record numbers from diabetes and heart disease. They were being destroyed by the mountains of burgers and fries and nuggets that filled their restaurants, schools, refrigerators and arteries. They were fulfilling the prophecy that this generation of children would be the first to live shorter lives than their parents. Oliver had come to save them—and to film a season of his new reality show, “Food Revolution.”

The first thing he saw when he walked into the kitchen of Central City Elementary School was the breakfast pizza. It looked like you remember school pizza: a rectangle of bleached dough spackled with red sauce and melted cheese. What made it breakfast, presumably, was that each slice also had crumbles of sausage scattered across it. That, and it was 7:40 a.m.