Fast Food : LUSENET : like sands : One Thread

Do you eat it? Do you think McDonald's is an evil corporate empire? Have you read the book?

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2001


I'm opposed more to the architecture than the food. The tiresome U.S. landscape as traveled by roadway is becoming more dotted with identical chain restaurants everyday.

Nowadays, to be truthful, a great contemporary American artist must illustrate a vision of America as a McDonalds, a mountain, a tree in the foreground, and then another McDonalds, or he is lying about what he fucking sees. (okay, maybe I exaggerate a bit)

Oh, my theory on food in general is concerned with the advent of "Supersize". You know, a little poison is not dangerous, it's the portion sizes that will kill us. And the bad thing is, if you want less, you pay more, as the specials are always cheaper, but include more volume.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2001

The only truly "fast food" that I eat these days is the Taco Bell bean burrito without cheese, as it is the only reliable vegan option that I find appealing. While admittedly not the healthiest choice, it provides a fairly quick and inexpensive meal. I will sometimes stop at the Taco Bell on Lexington Avenue and 57th when in New York for the dayon business, and can have dinner for under $5.

Cory's point about architecture is an interesting one, and may be indicative of the decline in the formerly gilt-edged McDonald's franchise. The typical McDonald's restaurant is becoming increasingly tacky, and often is redecorated by painting the brick facade with garish stripes over an unappealing grey, not unlike the charm of an urban liquor store. Tastes have changed dramatically over the past several years, and I suspect that McDonald's will continue its slow decline as more options become available.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2001

I've always liked McDonald's fries...and their shakes. And that's after having been a grill chief in high school...

But Der Wienerschnitzel is my favorite-- I'm a major chili dog fan...

Since the only vegetable I eat is the (fried) potato, and since I can't live on Chinese takee-outee all the time, fast food is an essential food group.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2001

Cory, I agree that those bigger portion sizes are deadly, literally. But I was also shocked to read in the book that "On any given day in the United States about one-quarter of the adult population visits a fast food restaurant." I'd say the frequency with which one eats this food is at least as big a factor in the Western obesity epidemic as the amount one eats.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2001

I haven't read Schlosser's book but that $6 billion to $110 billion increase doesn't surprise me. My average-sized metropolitan home town in the late 1970's had two McDonald's, one Taco Bell, one KFC, and one Wendy's. That's it. Fast food was a novelty that most people avoided. People ate at locally owned delis and "sit down" style family oriented restaurants which were eventually bought by national franchises as their owners died and their kids ran them into the ground. There were even a few depression-era cafeterias that were still popular with the older folk.

Twenty five years later, the population hasn't even doubled there yet there are five McD's, three or four Burger King's, and every national fast food franchise I can think of. The locally owned places are gone gone gone.

Depending on how Schlosser defines "fast food" it could just be there's a *much* larger variety of fast food that most people can get these days. Back then my town had no fast food delis, no bento bars, and no pizza by the slice joints. You could get this food to go, but is that "fast food"? Now my little town even has a locally owned drive-through Thai restaurant! Yummy!

I guess I'll have to read the book now.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2001

I've been known to eat at McDonald's on road trips. Also Taco Bell. Otherwise, such food rarely crosses my lips. What interests me is the question of why fast food is so appealing to people. What makes people eat breakfast at McDonald's every day? They couldn't put an ugly franchise on every corner unless they were getting steady business, and clearly, they are. Even in Paris, which is not exactly short of good, cheap places to eat, McDo is everywhere, and every store is always packed (the stores are at least architecturally appealing, though, for what that's worth -- solid wood and real marble.) Pizza Hut seems to be making inroads here too. Does the book talk about why people like eating fast food at chains? I'd like to know that. I don't find the news that people are eating lots of fast food, spending lots of money on it, and getting fat particularly surprising. I just don't see why crappo McDo fries are bringing in the crowds when we can walk over to Mi Va Mi in the Marais (your local joint here) at all hours and buy tasty ones.

Or, if you're daring, try some less pedestrian cuisine. I mean, geez, we live in Paris. Paris! The same Paris that is referred to as the food capital of the world, yes, that Paris. Why are there a hundred McDos here? It's not like there aren't other options.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2001

Dorie, the book did talk a little bit about why people eat fast food, and for the most part, it seems like the main reasons are that it's cheap, convenient, fast, and most people think it tastes good.

Also, the book pointed out that many of the chains target children as their prime advertising demographic. The food is agreeable to young palates, and the atmosphere is exciting to kids, so they bring their parents in.

But finally, I must admit that the last time I was in Paris, I actually ate at McDonald's! But it was only one meal--my boyfriend and I were walking along the Champs-Elysees (a really touristy part of town) and we were really tired and hungry, and all the restaurants looked really expensive and touristy, so we figured that if we were going to eat crappy food, we might as well eat cheap crappy food, so we ate at McDonald's. The rest of the time we ate real French food, though, so I didn't feel so bad.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2001

Lohr, I heard Eric Schlosser on Fresh Air, and he said that the reason why McD's fries have their distinctive taste is because they chemically inject a slight beef flavor into them, and before 1989, they were actually fried in beef tannen.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2001

JohnDewey, I walk by that Taco Bell at least 5 times a week. it's right in between my apartment and my parents'.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2001

"French Fries" are French, right? I love them too! Have you tried the KFC Tender Roast sandwich? It's the best! I usually eat two per week, but that's about it.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2001

On road trips, if i do not have any other food. I quite like the taste of McD's food, but maybe thats because I have it relatively rarely.. like once a month on average. The good thing is their uniformity and speed of service ( while on the road). But sure, having that every second day could be bad for health, unless the oter meals consist of whole grains, spinach and 5 veggies and fruits. as to theirs being an evil corporate empire, i dunno about the evil part. All corporate empires' primary aim is to make a profit ( Jen, Monsanto included, but lets not beat THAT one ;-). Very few corporate empires are genuinely allround good. So if McD's is evil, I guess most other corporations, from Shell Oil to Motorola to Kelloggs could be termed evil, each pissing off some section of humanity somewhere. As to illegal aliens' horrible working conditions, I think they'd rather prefer working in ankle-deep blood and getting $$ rather than scrounging around garbage dumps.. no one is FORCING them to work chez meatpackers'.. No I have not read that book, but i did read a review of it. Seems interesting, if a bit radical. But some of the info in the review was informative to me, such as using low grade meat for burgers, that have all the chemical residues.. yuck !

-- Anonymous, March 07, 2001

I think that eating at the McDonald's on the Champs-Elysees may have been your best option, actually. It's not a location noted for value pricing. It's sort of like stopping off for fries on a road trip.

That said, I can recommend lots of great places to buy fries in Paris that aren't McDonald's if you're not on the Champs-Elysees.

-- Anonymous, March 08, 2001

Dorie, I'm are other fries in Paris different from McD's fries ? I know that chips in England are very different, in that they are cut bigger and as far as I remember, are not fried in lard. Maybe I'm wrong..I think in any country where the potato has reaches, they have fried potatoes, and like in Asia they are fried in oil ( peanut oil, vegetable oil ).

-- Anonymous, March 08, 2001

Interesting question about fries in Paris; I can't say that I had given it much thought before. I've only thought about where, in particular, I might get tasty fries.

I think that the fries in McDo here are worse than in the US. I know that they're supposed to have world-wide standards that all stores follow about how long food stays under the lights before it's thrown away, but McDonald's has had long-standing issues with franchise owners here not really following the rules. That's part of the problem (you can intuit from this paragraph that I have tried McDo fries in Paris -- but only once.) In general, however, I would say that you're more likely to find the thick fries in Parisian cafes than you will in the United States.

The only hard and fast rules I've found for eating in cafes (your fry destination of choice in gay Paris) is that you pay more for lower quality on the main drag. Any restaurant or cafe that's on one of grand boulevards, like the Champs Elysees, or on an intersection with a name is almost always going to give you high-priced mediocre food. I don't think I'm revealing any great mysteries here, though.

And the difference that I notice most often about fries in Paris is that they are never salted. The best place to buy fries that we've found is in the Jewish district, along the Rue des Rosiers in the Marais. Actually, that neighborhood is the best place to buy a lot of things. While I've never been deeply impressed by Ashkenazi cuisine (wow, chicken fat again? beef tongue? oh, you shouldn't have), the Jews that moved back into Paris after WWII were a pretty evenly mixed between Ashkenazi and Sephardic, and Sephardic food is wonderful. So the neighborhood offers the best of both worlds; bagels and cheesecake from the Ashkenazi Jews, falafel, spicy pastries and french fries from the Sephardic Jews. Aside: fries you buy in a kosher or kosher-style restaurant (casher in France) are cooked in vegetable fat. I got a dirty look for asking once; apparently the certification was a real trial.

Okay, now I'm getting embarrassed. Despite how this may sound, I don't eat fries in Paris every day, or even every few days, though I like them. I really do take advantage of living where the food is good. French food, not cheesecake. Honest. Happy to talk about that, too.

-- Anonymous, March 09, 2001

merci, Dorie ! I'll remember the bit about high-priced mediocre food, and shall certainly check out the jewish section for fries ! not that I'm a fries-freak, but I'd better do justice to this discussion ;-)

-- Anonymous, March 09, 2001

The scariest aspect of 'fast food' is that the industry has taken foods that we've historically associated with health and good nutrition and managed to corrupt them.

Over the past couple of months, I developed a preference for Boston Market over the usual mealtime choices of McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, et al. I think the food tastes better and I was under the assumption that 'real food' like rotisserie chicken was better for me than a deep fried Filet o' Fish slathered in tartar sauce.

I was quite surprised to find out that my typical 1/2 Chicken meal with Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Casserole featured 1030 total calories (not bad), but 513 calories from fat (an alarming 49.8%) and 1780mg of sodium. It's frightening just how much fat and sodium is in most of their menu items. It's right here. The Filet o' Fish? According to the same site, it offers 470 calories (234 from them fat, or 49.8%) and 830 mg sodium.

It's just something to think about.

-- Anonymous, March 11, 2001

Rich, I would say that what you mention is true of nearly ALL restaurants, and not just those of the fast-food or chain variety. Fat, sugar and salt make stuff taste good, so restaurants add these things to their food to keep you coming back for more. Even here in health-conscious California, when I virtuously order a salad, it usually arrives smothered in nuts, cheese or dressing.

If you want to eat healthy, you probably have to make it yourself.

-- Anonymous, March 12, 2001

well fast food it depends what kind it is if not then they alll such big ass!!!!!!!1

-- Anonymous, October 14, 2001

well fast food it depends what kind it is if not then they alll such big ass!!!!!!!!!!

-- Anonymous, October 14, 2001

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