A hundred years ago, most meals were cooked at home, by your mom, or personal home chef if you’re wealthy, this is not the case today and many families are relying on mass produced versions of meals to meet their daily nutritional need. These are easy to consume, affordable, readily available to most people today. Because of the rapid production necessary to support the demand for these meals, many additives and stabilizers are added to improve its taste, appearance and shelf-life leading many to believe that fast foods are bad for health.
First popularized in the United states in the 1950’s, it can be defined as a meal that is prepared and served quickly using precooked or prepared ingredients, usually in a portable take out container. They can be obtained from a variety of establishments, from large outlets with seating and bathroom facilities to stands or kiosks that provide no shelter or seating. Many restaurants also provide a drive through service where passengers can quickly purchase meals without leaving their vehicles.
Before our chemically dominated society took hold, much of the meals sold was decided by the available ingredients based on location. Close to coastal areas, consumer meals was usually fish or oysters, and even eels in London. Most of these meals were cooked on the spot and the development of the trawling industry led to the creation of the popular British dish, fish and chips.
The United States
When vehicles became readily available after World War I, many restaurants opened drive through sections. The American Restaurant, White Castle, was formed soon after and became one of the most successful food chains at the time, with many other investors followed its example. The idea of Franchising was also introduced at this time and today, American Fast Food chains are located in over 100 countries around the world. Despite the obesity epidemic, which many attribute mostly to fast food consumption, this industry employs over 4 million people and does not seem to be in any threat of slowing down.
Despite its unhealthy nature, fast food has become a major part of our daily lives, in north America and around the world. We may wish to have healthier options but the level of convenience we have grown accustom to is hard to meet with healthier nutritional sources. With some effort, we can have healthy alternatives, but it is unlikely the companies that have made millions by selling their unhealthy products would be willing to change their practices easily.