Tasty Food On The Go Driving Through The Quintessential American Restaurant
In today’s fast-paced American culture, there is such a constant, pressing need for more and more time that competitive, work-focused Americans find that a day is not long enough for them to do everything they would like to. Americans find themselves so busy that often such basic priorities as preparing food for oneself are incredibly hurried and often, time spent obtaining food for a meal can be omitted entirely. Within the last fifty years, a large industry of “fast food” has been created and has been increasingly gaining impetus and popularity within the United States. This industry is embodied in the millions of flashy, easily accessible widely-distributed and highly advertised, so-called “restaurants” whose claim to fame is the fast-pace at which they operate, following a “more for your money” motto. It is curious how an American can avoid putting any effort into nourishing themselves time-wise and also financially, and thus I decided to investigate this fast food restaurant phenomenon.
A fast-food restaurant is so-called because the food one obtains there is literally made available to the consumer minutes after they place an order. One can either enter inside a fast-food restaurant or, even better can drive through a “drive-thru” in their car to place an order, while still remaining seated inside their car. The method of the drive-thru, perfectly exemplifies the convenience such a restaurant provides Americans in obtaining a meal. All one has to do is drive up to a bright, large menu which also displays many of the foods in detailed color pictures and place an order by speaking to a voice from within. Once the ordering process has been concluded, the person driving moves forward to a window in the side of the restaurant to pay for their food, and then one more window where the food is handed right to their car window in neat little packages. The colorfully packaged single-person servings make the processed foods appealing, and in addition, their price is affordable to literally all classes.
There is not much of a wide variety of the kinds of food available for purchase at fast food restaurants, but that is not a problem. Menu options center around a hamburger, French fries, and a large soda with some other variations but the hamburger and fries combination is what is most frequently ordered. In order to be made available so quickly however, the food is prepared in the unhealthiest of ways, involving lots of quick, deep-frying and defrosting, so it is not actually fresh. Americans claim however, that the food is delicious! Taste-wise, fast foods are highly flavorful, but they are in essence, too good to be true. These fat-saturated foods pose many serious health risks such as high blood pressure and heart disease, when consumed in excess.
This kind of unhealthy, low-cost food underlies the nation’s obesity crisis. It would be incorrect to say however, that consuming fast food is purely an unwholesome indulgence that solely obese people partake in. Many Americans are well-informed of the negative consequences of consuming such unhealthy foods, and try to avoid them Yet there are still many that are oblivious of the perils that they are getting themselves into when their dinners consistently are obtained from drive-thrus. There are also people who do know of the consequences, yet do not stop. The United States is partly responsible for the widespread fast-food consumption, as it promotes this kind of toxic food environment, seen by the multitudes of fast-food restaurant lining roadways, barrages of burger advertisements on television commercials, radio advertising, and visuals of hamburgers on billboards 20 times actual life size. Fast food is simply inescapable, unless you’re blind and deaf. It is no wonder that the common American is found craving this food from time to time that is, if they already are not in the habit of consuming it regularly. The problem however can’t exactly be blamed on an American’s lack of self control since the unhealthy food reigns wide. Advertisements for prepackaged and fast foods saturate one’s senses, visually on television in magazines, etc. audibly, on the radio and even just driving by a fast food restaurant assaults the olfactory sense. Americans are assaulted by fast food advertisements so that it is difficult to not fall into the trap of being fooled into craving fast food.
Many fast-food restaurants even aim to appeal to young children, with their advertising. One of the most popular fast food restaurants, McDonalds has a friendly- looking clown cartoon character that serves as its representative. McDonald’s and other fast-food chains offer special meals for kids, which are smaller, and contain a surprise. The name of such a meal, called a “Happy Meal” subconsciously causes the consumer to associate the food with happiness. It is not an uncommon occurrence when children ask their parents for this kind of fast food after they might see a commercial for it while watching a program on the television.
An important characteristic of these fast-food chains is that they are all the same. A brand like McDonalds offers a feeling of reassurance when its products are expected to be always and everywhere the same. A burger in California can be found on the opposite coast in Maine and will taste exactly the same. Uniformity is crucial, as customers are drawn to familiar brands by an instinct to avoid the unknown.
The demand for this food can be easily seen in that just on their way home, an American will encounter visuals of juicy-looking hamburgers that they know they can obtain within minutes. It is understandable why a busy American would not want to spend at least an hour or so cooking a healthy dinner when they are presented with the drive-thru a time-saving opportunity. Cheap, fast, and easy, fast food well-suits the American lifestyle. These fast food restaurants have largely contributed to the eating habits and culture surrounding food of virtually all Americans living today.