Certain geographical areas and neighbourhood types have come to symbolise patterns of ignorance, lack of opportunity and ‘poor lifestyle choice’ in public discussions of family food practices. The media, reporting recently on the activities of one of the UK’s ‘celebrity’ chefs announced: ‘Jamie Oliver to teach the poor how to cook ‘the basics’ in town [Rotherham] where mums opposed his school dinners campaign’ (The Daily Mail 28 March 2008). Concern about diet and about contemporary eating practices is therefore widespread. An increasing public focus on diet and health is not surprising: in England the number of obese children has tripled in 20 years. Ten per cent of six year olds are estimated to be obese, rising to 17% of 15 year olds (Zaninotto et al. 2006). While current concern about childhood obesity is usually expressed in terms of what children eat, implicit in contemporary discourses about health is also a critique of how they eat. While the ‘what’ is subject to scientific debate among for example, nutritionists and members of the medical profession, discussion of the ‘how’ has often been dominated by prejudice, myth and unquestioned assumptions which are grounded in notions of appropriate — and inappropriate — forms of parenting and family life.