I don't work any more because I don't work any more.
Fast food is with us. It’s rammed down our throats through slick saturation marketing, promoting itself as cool and convenient. Those warm sweet saturated fats are transformed into something truly wonderful and succulent and satisfying and filling and downright puke inducing.
We see those meaty juicy burgers bubbling from the griddle being dressed with fresh crisp salad and pure squares of colourful clean cheese before being pressed into a bouncing lightly toasted bun and presented with a cute smile to the ebullient customers, delighted at the integrity of their choice.
Fifty shades of mush.
It’s not pig flavoured, cow flavoured, scrawny chicken flavoured, cute little battery lamb flavoured or veggie flavoured.
It doesn’t have to be. The advertising has done it all for them. That corporate styling of colours, dress codes and sales speak attracts cutomers like flies to (perm any one from three) big macs, whoppers or the glorious products of Colonel Sanders.
“This is not fair” I hear some say.
“It’s a treat for children of all ages.”
“It’s part of a day out.”
“They take all the hassle out of birthday parties.”
One of the more recent marketing ploys aims to debunk the idea that many of these fine foods include bulls’ testicles and sheep’s ears. The products obviously undergo a series of rigorous inspections before being fit to be called MacBurger’s finest.
In fact, I could sit here and glibly gloat about the overall shiteness of these popular institutions and the moronity of those who feel compelled to frequent them. My last visit to one of these places was in August 1994. It was not memorable even though I remember it! But that’s just me. I cannot criticise people for following trends and seeking fun. Over ten million idiots can’t be wrong can they?
(Stop this etlitist vaunting right now. There is absolutely no need to go on about the smugness of your own dietary choices whilst deeply admonishing those that deviate from your sanctimonious quest for gastronimic nirvana!)
Sorry, my conscience has just told me off.
The fact is, the industry is here and it’s popular. It’s far too easy to sit back and fire potshots. It is an open target. Like betting shops, fast food joints now dominate our high streets and shopping centres. C’est la vie. Or if you want to take the medical approach, focusing on type two diabetes, chostrol and obesity, C’est la malaise.
I could also go on about that subway place and the deceptive vague language they use. “Freshly prepared” could actually involve week old ingredients. Then there’s the oft used “Traditional.” Does old fashioned mean good? Corporal punishment in schools was considered traditional. Look at the good old fashioned habits and morals of the Vicorians.
Fast food however, does not just belong on the street. Many of our dear luvvy wuvvy TV chefs get that little smug hit from declaring that many of our kitchen staples are a source of fast food.
Take the egg. Of course we all buy free range. Boiled, fried, poached, scrambled etc, the egg is a versatile nutritious protein rich product born out of deleriously happy hens romping around in their fresh green paddock, picking out worms and making that cute gurgling noise.
This is a paragraph from an article in Ethical Survey; an online magazine promoting fairness, compassion and responsibility:
“In order to qualify as free range, laying hens must have constant daytime access to the outside world, with available outdoor space of 4 square metres per bird. However, with nothing to stipulate how many exits from the barn must be made available, many “free range” facilities end up being nothing more than crowded barns with one or two small flaps available for outside access. With current EU regulations stating that the indoor housing for free range birds need only provide a square metre of space for every 9 hens, many modern barns can house well over ten thousand hens in cramped, multi-tiered facilities that are a world away from the happy free range chickens advertised on egg boxes and in television commercials. In fact, due to the sheer volume of birds living in these cramped conditions with such limited access to practical exits, many of Britain’s apparently free range hens will never spend any time outdoors at all.”
Do we believe that? Do we want to believe it? Can that precious term “Free Range” be so slippery?
Let’s look at bread. A few minutes in the toaster gives us an instant hit of crisp hot satisfaction. It’s the perfect thing to have first thing in the morning (“Or any time,” says he in that jolly, slightly patronising manner.) oozing with butter and a sweet marmalade. There’s even egg on toast or boiled egg with soldiers. Double delight. You can’t get more natural than that.
Do you know what the Chorleywood Bread Processis? It’s used in all but the rarest of artisan bakeries. The method sort of force feeds the bread in order to cut down the rising time. Even most of the small bakeries on the street corner buy in pre-made dough created in this way. The supermarkets who claim to bake in their very own in-store bakery use this type of dough as well. But isn’t that wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread so tempting?
Yes it is, that’s why I bake my own using the slow coach method. I think the mass media has convinced us that we live such busy lives. We have no time to spend making choices and cooking with time and love. We have phones to stare at, passing cheap jokes between virtual friends or expressing disgust at fake news and half read articles.
That TV chef, you know, the cheeky chappy with the sticky out tongue.
He dashes around his vast well stocked kitchen flipping pans and banging packets of spaghetti on his granite surface.
“If you think you can’t prepare a balanced nutritious meal in fifteen minutes then think again.”
He then proceeds to slap it on a plate and whack it in the oven to that infuriating Neneh Cherry song.
“Ya know wha ah mean?”
Of course it’s totally untrue. We know that.
He advises judicious preparation but neglects to tell us how much extra time it involves. Most people don’t have a kitchen the size of concert hall and all those fancy machines need digging out of cupboards. No-one ever mentions the carnage he leaves after his tarzan like gastro sprint. Who does the washing up?
I think I’d be easily fed up of his jarred sauces, packets of pasta and heritage multicoloured dinky little tomatoes cut all rough and ready and drowned in disgustingly expensive olive oil. Salad out of a packet, meat flash fried and those ready made sauces. “Yeah Jamie my son, you’ve dressed all that up good and proper.” Technically he can argue that it’s zesty exciting food but to me it cries out variations on a theme.
Is fruit the most natural fast food?
Well it’s there, sitting in a bowl just waiting to be picked up and eaten. The fresh crunch of an apple, the soft sweet flesh of a ripe pear or the tangy citrus freshness of an orange. And then we get a pip in our mouth before swearing in future to go seedless. Seedless grapes.Tangerines without pips. Obviously they’re choking hazards.
How cruel to produce infertile fruit, denying it the right to have babies. Think of all those childless bananas.
Once more, the fun is being taken out of fruit. It’s not the same on the bus home from school. You’d saved the orange just so you could spit the pips at that bespectacled boy from the “other” school you refer to as “Fatty Arbuckle.”
I blame health and safety. At least you could throw the peel at him. (Small consolation. It hasn’t been in your mouth so it rates lower on the disgusting filthy boy scale.)
Food is a personal matter. We are what we eat.
Except thin people. Thin people should be herded up and given diet food just so they know the agonies we go through. I think a week of empty stomach calorie counting should be sufficient.
Our food can be as fast or slow as we like. I’m just sick of being told that I have a busy life being important and worthy. Of course I’m still important and worthy but at my own pace.
I’m also fed up of the great and the good extolling the values of street food as if it too is superior to the muck produced by the chains.
It may be more fun to gorge through a deep fried locust whilst being buffeted by the thronging crowds of a heaving Korean street market but it’s still been saturated in oil ready to dribble down your greasy little chin. Naturallly I’m jealous and teeming with rancour at the restrictions I now have as a traveller.
I’m now going to roast mediterranean vegetables, put them into a pitta and pretend I’m in Marakesh. Then I’ll be putting eggs on my shopping list.