The Fast Food Generation

13 Oct

The Fast Food Generation

My generation can almost forget that chain restaurants have not always been in existence.

I mean, the first McDonalds came about when I was only a few years old. And there the chains began . . .

Unless, of course, you count the Howard Johnsons and Holiday Inn restaurants that came about in order to feed travelers staying at the new chains of motor lodges which came about as people all began to buy family cars in order to explore our country’s new interstate system in the 1960’s!

Fun times! But all of them recent, since my birth in 1958.

We like to say that our current epidemic of obesity in the U.S. can be traced to the migration of people to the cities and to office jobs in the last century. That, before that, the majority of people worked on family farms and used just as many calories as they consumed, without ever needing to work out in their leisure time. Some of that is, of course, true.

But I believe some of the blame for the obesity epidemic can be laid on our tendency to love eating out at chain restaurants that never existed prior to 1960. Especially fast food chains.

Think about it. We are a culture of chain restaurants. We are also a culture of eating at chain restaurants, no matter who you are.

Even the poor in our society eat out. It is expected. Cash flow incorporates it, at all levels.

I am only thinking about this because some friends are pursuing missions work in third world countries. Even in many of them, there has been a tendency to Americanization/Europeanization which has produced chains of restaurants.

There are some remote places, say in some African countries, where that is not so, but most capital cities, in African countries and elsewhere, provide some chain restaurant options nowadays.

The foods are tasty but often at the expense of health, with sugar and salt serving to flavor things, rather than the more expensive herbs and spices we can cook with at home.

And we lap them up!

I myself love to eat out, as does my Daddy. It was a favorite bonding experience as I was growing up and the list of chain restaurants in existence started to expand. There were not too many until I was in high school . . .

This is not a complaint piece, and it really does not suggest any course of action other than awareness.

We act as though there have always been chain restaurants as an option. We forget that a generation before us, everyone ate at home, even if their mothers were terrible cooks.

Nowadays, no one is known as a terrible cook. If she is, she just buys prepared foods or eats out a lot. No one need ever find out . . .

The world has changed a lot in 50 years.


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