While most think of burgers and fries as fast food, the name can apply to any type of quickly made food, so vender grub is actually classifiable as fast food. It has a history far, far older than the fifties, thousands years more, back to the Roman years. In Rome, which in some ways is a historical parody of our civilization in my point of view, several people’s diets relied on what they got from street venders [maybe they ate a panzerotti while watching people get eaten by lions in the arena].
It was the same in the rightfully named dark ages of Europe, where citizens that couldn’t afford a kitchen ate mostly what they bought from salesmen in the streets. This type of vender-buyer lifestyle still reigns today, just ask someone from New York, or someone from India or China where street food is immensely popular.
The kind of Fast Food most people, even our friends in Asia [or to those people, their friends in North America] really did start in the fifties, before Ralph Nadar when Americans lived the dream of beautiful [unsafe but no one cared back then] cars, and didn’t know what was in their food, and being a teen meant living in the fast lane, anyone who saw Back to the Future knows what I’m talking about. White Castle [hear about them now? I didn’t think so] is the pioneer being the second Fast Food chain and the first to serve hamburgers and have the staple limited menu we all love and hate. They sold their burgers for five cents a pop, remember inflation was a thing of the future back then.
Because of that era that time travelers just love [Back to the Future, Quantum Leap, Star Trek etc…], now over two million American out of the 314 mil of them are fast food workers. I wonder how many are teens.
The thing that makes them so popular, to put it bluntly, is the speed they cook at, and how other choices like chili or baked potatoes are also available. The fact you can, but probably shouldn’t, eat a burger at the wheel of a moving car also has its appeal in today’s kind-of-like-the-fifties-but-with-more-political-and-economy-crap-era.
Hey, Canada is much the same way, I didn’t say we’re better than those guys down south [I didn’t say we’re worse either, so don’t you even think it]. North American and British cuisines aren’t the only ones being influenced. Italian pizza has been changed from a thin to a thick crust, and giving different ingredients, and Chinese food has changed so much that actual Chinese people, by that I mean culturally more than anything else, couldn’t recognize some of the take-out we have now [it makes me wonder what they have in a greasy five dollar box being passed off as authentic].
Editor’s note: the video below is a little long at aprox 16 minutes. But its funny and very enlightening. Worth watching
Cheap, quick meat patties on a bun has spread like a virus, I don’t use that analogy positively or negatively, to other counties that before wouldn’t have dreamed of eating this stuff, like, for instance, Japan.
While I acknowledge vender food, I think the fast food chains is what most readers really want to, and should, know. It is a very controversial topic, with films and books pointing the finger at fast food companies crying wolf for bad health, bad food, and bad economy. A whole mess of junk, in effect.
Well, along with other modern innovations, fast food did emerge at the same time a lot of problems did. Could simple food companies really be to blame for a host of calamities, or is the wolf a fake? It is incredibly popular, the simple good taste fat, salt, and sugar has, as well as the lack of some proper nutrients, does reach a wide audience with many different palates. Secondly, its in our face, bill boards, brought-to-you-bys, television ads, pop culture references, schools, blah, blah, blah, blah etc, they’re here they’re here! Fast food will take over the world, just don’t put on your tinfoil hat, it’s probably McDonald’s’ litter.
That’s all well and good, but it’s more the type of food that’s ‘the rub’ as they say. Hamburgers have: high protein, good, high fat, bad if there is too much but is necessary, high salt, again, important but too much is bad. Iron is in there as well, but, like we all know, veggies is where the vitamins come from, and I don’t mean french fries, which are fried to the point of being deficient.
Coke is obviously bad too, who said bubbling sugar water that nobody knows the ingredients of. On that topic, I was going to put the list down, until I figured out the pepsi bottle we have is diet. I already knew they had water [of course] and caramel colours for colouring, but the rest I didn’t know. “Contains: Carbonated water, Caramel Colour, Phosphoric Acid, Aspartame, [124 mg/355 ml, contains Phenylalanine] Sodium Benzoate,” the list goes on.
By the way, Sodium Benzoate is not the salt that we know, that’s another Sodium. I’m pretty sure most of those chemicals are sugar substitutes, here’s the regular Pepsi ingredient list [courtesy of Wikipedia] “In the United States, Pepsi is made with carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup [a very bad thing for your health, and is a replacement for sugar], caramel colour, sugar [for Petey’s sake WHY? You have the sweet fructose crap!] Phosphoric acid [acid in your drink, umm healthy!], caffeine, citric acid [don’t worry, that’s the same kind from lemons or oranges; citrus] and natural flavours.” That’s an actual quote from Wikipedia, excluding the brackets, obviously that was me. The caffeine-free varieties of Coke and Pepsi both have the same recipes just without caffeine.
That didn’t sound too great did it? Well, that’s just coke, and that’s just the very beginning of it all. It’s starting to look worse and worse for the fast food guys, especially with movies like Super Size Me or Food Inc., which takes a look at the disgusting ways livestock is treated. I have two facts more to give. One, the companies won’t change unless there is incentive to, meaning that they do whatever gets them more customers. Two, not all places are this bad. There are several places, chains too, including Subways and other places to an extent, that are far better than abused animals and customers, so if you really want to save the world, don’t hate fast food, just eat better fast food.
Look at the Eaton Centre’s food court, there are all kinds of delicious and nutritious things there, and next time you go there, or your home’s equivalent of it, go to the more exotic foreign option instead of greasy, disgusting slop you don’t even like that much anyway. I might sound a little extreme, but what’s causing the problem, the Holy Ghost? You tell me, I know as much as anyone at this point.
Editor’s note: Any excuse to throw in an Eddie Izzard clip. Mention Holy Ghost and voila:
But wait, isn’t this all a little hypocritical coming from a food blogger, someone who goes to all kinds of ridiculously unhealthy places as a hobby? Well, for starters, I only eat like that when eating out, when I’m at home, I eat the best I can, and I exercise, treats are okay for anyone, health freaks would agree. Also, I try knew foods, one of my favourite restaurants in Mediterranean, the other Pakitstani, another Indian Fusion, one Japanese and one Mexican.
Now for my opinion and voting of this cuisine in the months long cuisine contest.
As I’ve said before, it is probably the only one that’s controversial, and that is a big obstacle, even Ganesh would have trouble with it [wiki it]. So we’ll do it the standard way:
Taste: while generally hamburgers taste good, you have to know which place to go to, since several places serve rather bland stuff, and mass produced flavours lose something when treated so industrially. Some fast food chains are delicious, but it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out which ones
Health: Oh boy. Burgers, shakes, fries, cokes, ice creams, cakes, chicken nuggets that you don’t want to know what they’re made of, does that sound healthy to you?! As I said before, it takes some good amount of knowledge to find healthy fast food, and when it gets to the bigger, international chains, it gets even harder. This wouldn’t be so bad if so many fast food places, and processed food companies, deceive and, in essence, lie to us about what’s in our food. I’ll be generous and say that the healthier places make it all right and save the score, but they don’t really
Variety: well that’s a stumper. There are some chains that have rather exotic and foreign items, but even then it’s mostly ‘Chinese’ grease that isn’t really Chinese. I’ll say there aren’t many options here when it comes to variety, excluding some few, smaller chains.
Will this cuisine reign supreme? Well… It’s okay to great in some places, but it gets harder and harder to find good quality, and the healthier the slimmer the pickings. I think this cuisine has, not had, potential, but only if some serious changes occur in our culture. All I can say is that it is really too hard for me to place, and I’m being nice. If I felt like being mean [our brutally honest, depending on your view] I’d be getting really nasty and snarky, but I don’t want to drown in controversy, which leads to arguments and hate mail. If this wasn’t one of my more happy cuisine posts, then I’m sorry, it’s the truth