Fast Food Frenzy


There are a lot of things that we didn’t have when I was a child and one of them was fast food; all we ever had was slow food.  Perhaps if we still had more slow food, people would learn how to wait and there wouldn’t be such a thing as road rage because at least half of the people on the highway would be at home or in ordinary restaurants patiently waiting for their slow food. 


The fast food chains have captivated the children with their slogans and special meals designed just for kids with a toy thrown in for further enticement. It would be nice if children today could recite the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”, as quickly as they can pick out the golden arches from a mile away. 


Just the other day I was in a hurry so I pulled my car through the drive through lane of a fast food restaurant.  I was simply thinking about just getting a quick sandwich.  I pushed the button on the menu board, and “the voice” began speaking.  I tried hard to decipher what was being said from the rapid spiel of obviously memorized words but it was very difficult to interpret. 


Finally, I did manage to place my order when suddenly “the voice”, sounding something like a hysterical chipmunk, frantically exclaimed, “Woonyulakfriswittat?” After asking for a repeat three or four times, I finally understood that she was saying, “Would you like fries with that?”   At this point, after I replied in the negative, I thought I would get my food and leave, but no, she wasn’t finished with me yet. 


Next, she wanted to know if I wanted my meal “super sized”, which seemed to mean that I would get larger portions (for a price) and a soft drink in a gallon bucket. I wondered if the super sized food came with a warning label stating, “The surgeon general has determined that super sizing may super size your body and cause your arteries to slam shut.”  I explained that I didn’t want anything super sized unless they could do something about my bank account.   At this point, I just wanted to scream, “Please, can I just have my chicken nuggets so I can go home!” 


 By the way, take it from me; do not mention the word, “diet”.  If you do, you will be offered the latest low-carb, low-fat meal that consists of a wilted lettuce leaf with a paper-thin slice of something that vaguely resembles meat.  Upon receiving this wrapped concoction, you realize that you could have made your own diet fast food at home in five seconds at a total cost of twenty cents instead of $3.60. 


Also, parents today drive away with the kids fighting over the toys in their “Happy Meals” and dumping sticky soft drinks all over the car.  The children only consume two bites of food because they are only interested in their free toy.  In addition, they manage to get most of the food all over themselves and the car, which in turn causes parents to lose their cool as they scarf down their own food that has quickly evolved into a “Cranky Meal.”   A few minutes later, parents end up hunting for the Tums.


Fast food is not just assigned to the drive-through restaurant.  If you want to have fast food and just stay home for the evening, never fear, just check out the frozen food section of the grocery store.  You can bring home and thaw out or nuke a complete meal and you won’t have to worry about the kids fighting over the toys from the fast food restaurants.  Instead, they can fight over who gets to open the pudding six pack and you can hear them whine to eat it now because the frozen lasagna hasn't finished heating up yet.


It is interesting that these days most people have a kitchen full of the latest appliances, yet they are only used on rare occasions such as Thanksgiving because the rest of the time everyone is eating fast food. 


There are a variety of appliances in the average kitchen these days from bread machines to pizza bakers.  It seems like we could surely come up with an “all in one” appliance.  Perhaps that is what our grandmothers possessed in that antiquated appliance known as “the cook stove.”  It seems I remember Grandma making coffee, tea, bread, grilled meat, and a variety of other things on that one appliance without the need of a separate machine for each item.  Grandma’s trash compactor consisted of smashing cans with the feet, dishwashers were you and your siblings, and garbage disposals were found barking outside the door or in the barn lot. 


In some ways life is a lot easier now but in other ways we’ve lost something in not gathering around the kitchen table together with prayer and thanksgiving as often as we should.  This is where children learn to help and memories are made even if the food isn’t made entirely from scratch.


It is nice to share a meal without drive through windows or the interruptions of the world around us, so I think I’ll give it a try and trudge over to the microwave and nuke a couple of hotdogs.  Hey, it’s got to be easier to wipe off the kitchen table than to dig French fries out of that little space between the car door’s window ledge and the window. 



Pamela R. Blaine

December, 2004