While in Iceland, I chanced upon a BBC Food Network featuring the English chef Jamie Oliver running his Ministry of Food based on the principle of “Pass It On.”
That principle has a familiar ring. It’s the title of a song in our United Methodist Hymnal (UMH). We sing it at our Watchnight Services as we light each other’s candles.
Oliver believes passionately in the idea of “Pass It On.” He is fully convinced that if he could teach a few persons how to cook “Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Crispy Posh Ham” and each “Passed It On’ to two others, then eventually the whole of Britain can cook that dish.
“Pass It On” started in the town of Rotherham. It was met with much resistance and many naysayers, who said, “It will not work. People have no time. They are too busy with work and family. Besides, who is going to fund the project?”
Despite the barrage of pessimism and negativity, Oliver went ahead by teaching eight people how to cook some simple dishes, which they can “Passed It On” to their family members and friends.
This group comprised of single mothers, busy working parents, bachelors, and an elderly man. They have never cooked.
Like Natasha, a 22-year-old single mother of two, living on benefits. Prior to the class, she had never cooked a meal for her kids. They ate takeaways for dinner and her fridge was filled with chocolate bars. She eventually turned out to be one of Oliver’s most enthusiastic ambassadors, showing a flair for cooking.
Claire is another mother of two, living on benefits. Prior to the campaign, she was eating ten packets of crisps a day and didn’t even know what boiling water looked like. She acknowledged that her family ate take-away for dinner four nights a week. By the end of this campaign her fridge was filled with fresh produce.
Mick never cooked a meal in his life. But he is now a born-again home chef.
The campaign then took on to workplaces where employees teach each other during lunch breaks how to cook a dish .
“Pass It On” was also held at a football field with men who taught two others a dish, who then each taught two more people, and so on without Oliver’s involvement.
It wasn’t long when Rotherham Council decided to take over the Ministry from Oliver and agreed to fund it to the tune of £125,000. They saw “Pass It On” as an effective way of tackling obesity and chronic poor health as people learn how to cook fresh food and establish healthy eating as part of their daily life.
Today “Pass It On” has spread beyond Rotherham to Leeds, Bradford, Newcastle and Stratford in east London.
And I just wonder couldn’t this be so with the spread of the Gospel.
It only takes a spark to get a fire going
And soon all those around can warm up to its glowing
That’s how it is with God’s love
Once you’ve experienced it
You spread your love to everyone
You want to Pass It On (UMH 572)
We have a ministry of food from the Lord who says:
“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work” (John 4:34).