Fast Food Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Fast Food

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Where the term 'fast food' originates is still a topic for debate. Some, usually those in the employ of a company that specialises in the market, argue that it is a reflection of how darn swift the service is. Others contest that the adjective describes how quickly one loses one's appetite having smelled or seen the object it modifies. There is a third party that thinks the phrase implies how well cooked the burgers are. Finally, a fourth group ardently believes it is an indication of the rate at which the food passes through one's bowels.

Originating in America, fast food has swept the globe quicker than you can say 'have a nice day!'.

Despite perfectly understandable culinary objections, whole cultures have been swallowed up in this scarily vast phenomenon. The promise of remarkably tasteless, but importantly, quick grub, can now be answered across the globe with entire national dishes being rudely slammed in a soggy bap and marketed surprisingly well.

The fact that customers fuel this staggering business by persisting in stuffing themselves with any gherkin-tainted junk dumped in front of them, is one of the wonders of the modern world. Why people choose to pay through the nose for something that looks and tastes like it may have been excreted is a question that truly baffles.

The answer has roots in one easily-observed truth: eating in a fast food restaurant is a profoundly forgettable eating experience. This is mainly due to the lack of any palpable atmosphere, genuine customer service or human contact together with the shoe-box decor. Add all this to the tasteless excuse for a meal all crammed into the briefest possible period of time, and the thought process is reduced to something approximating this:

'I'm really hungry... I need food now ... let's go into the fast food restaurant... let's get out of here.... I'm not hungry anymore.'

The result being that when tempted to return on your next outing, you've forgotten everything about the entire meal except for the important absence of hunger that followed. When craving food, this sole memory itself is as irrepressible as the temptation to return.

Of course, another factor of the strange temptation to eat in these places lies in the presentation of the meals themselves through the publicity images in the establishments. Even though we all know that the photographs of our chosen burger are, quite blatantly, lies, they still look darn nice. We know our bap is going to be soggier, the burger distinctly less meaty, the lettuce limpier and the entire thing is going to be about half the size it is in this glossy propaganda, before we order it, but when you're hungry these things are conveniently forgotten.

The best course of action when you're next out shopping is to take a packed lunch.

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