My thoughts on fast food are documented here, but a brief precis essentially explains that it’s more the fact that people are absurdly excited by the proposition of eating a lot of mechanically-reclaimed meat bound together with
gluten, salt, sugar and various other shit – rather than the fact they eat it at all – that annoys me most.
And here’s an advert for Burger King’s King Savers menu to illustrate my point. The man who reacts to the news of 99p Chicken Nuggets is – and I make no apology for this – a moron. He’s a moron for saying “Shut the back door!” like a third-rate hipster version of Larry Grayson in a stupid hat, as if he’s just been told that Michael Jackson has been brought back to life by Suggs, Boris Johnson and Ricky Tomlinson in a voodoo ceremony performed at Alton Towers.
There’s something interesting about fast food. Once upon a time places like McDonalds and Burger King would essentially guarantee you the cheapest hit of fat, protein and carbs for the minimum amount of money. They were the vanguard of mechanised food, making meat affordable for the masses: the most protein for the least money. Today the idea seems vaguely absurd, but the blue-collar workers that fuelled American’s ascent in the 20th Century and needed high-calorie food to get them through back-breaking days of work relied on places like Maccies and BK to exist.
But we don’t live in those days any more – it’s easier to access healthier foods and there are cheaper and easier ways of preparing them (if you’re truly skint I recommend a tarka dal, probably the tastiest, cheapest and healthiest meal you could ever make). There’s also a hell of a lot of competition on the high street for your lunchtime cash. So we don’t eat these junk foods because we need to – we eat them because we choose to. I find this largely incomprehensible, with the caveat that a pizza or kebab looks just as tasty to me after five pints as it does to you.
The way our world works is to make everything as cheap as it can possibly be, regardless of whether it affects the quality. So it is not surprising that Burger King 99p Chicken Nuggets exist – any more than it is surprising that you can get surprisingly good wines for under a tenner in Aldi, whole chickens for three quid or a flight to the continent for £25.
The price doesn’t surprise me – but what continues to astound me is the infantilising ability junk food continues to have on grown people.