Thursday, February 16, 2023

Fast food: False hopes, musings, and memories

Yo Quiero Whut??? OK, it turns out this headline is slightly misleading, but it did give me hope for a few brief, glorious moments: Taco Bell is Officially One of the Healthiest Fast Food Chains
Before we all get too excited (as I did), the article doesn't really cover the more popular items (*cough Mexican Pizza cough*), burritos, or even the regular tacos. It pretty much says if you eat just a few select items you're probably choosing decently, especially compared with other chains. It also doesn't spend much time addressing things to avoid like the plague, like the hideous looking nacho cheese-like sludge and anything that involves the words "Mountain" and "Dew". Also, how is this article about Taco Bell and not El Pollo Loco, which has to be healthier? And that's coming from someone who, unfortunately, loves Taco Bell. But I do think that if you make a run for the border and have a couple regular tacos (or the periodic Mexican Pizza) with something other than poison sugar-water to wash it all down, you're probably okay if you don't eat fast food often.
Almost two decades after Super Size Me, I would hope we understand that fast-food has become one of the unhealthiest things we can consume. Back in the dark ages when I was a kid, fast food was not something we ate on a regular basis, but was presented to us as an occasional treat, and we only went if our parents took us. We rarely were allowed to go on our own until we were well into our teens and were driving. But it seems like that's definitely changed - when I lived in Arcadia a couple years ago, if I was in either one of the shopping centers on the north side of Foothill at 2nd Avenue, I could watch the students from Foothill Middle School just up the block head for the McDonald's on Foothill en masse. I wonder how often they eat there. My guess would be several times a week and that's not good.
Not to mention fast food served when I was younger was probably healthier than it is today. And often it doesn't taste as good as I remember. I've had many experiences (especially with McDonald's, which I used to eat tons of but rarely do these days) where I have certain expectations of the food as I remember it being unmet by the food served today. Whatever changes they've made in the name of economy and efficiency, they are unfortunately noticeable and not an improvement. 

And don't even get me started on McDonald's replacing their awesome deep-fried apple/lava pies with the current sawdust crust versions. Boooooriiiing. Also, way back in the day when I worked at McDonald's in my teens, they had the best brownies I've ever had. EVER. Chewy and fudgy with thick chocolate icing...just the best ever. We used to eat them right out of the walk-in, because something about them being cold made them even better. I don't know if they still do this for employees today, but back when I was one of Ronald's flunkies we got half-priced food and free soft drinks and I would wash those fabulous brownies down with Diet Coke. I can't remember when they discontinued the brownies, but it was ages ago. 
My point is if you're going to eat junk food, eat good junk food and enjoy it. Just don't make it a regular thing.

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