As a child a trip to the local fast food joint was a real treat. Mom gets a night off, the kids get exotic food made of some sort of animal protein and and grease drenched potato byproducts – yum! Time passes and everyone gets older, and with the aging hopefully wiser. Sometimes the wisdom does lapse and one finds oneself in a burger joint in Glendale staring at a baleful breakfast sandwich.
Its is a cold rainy morning, the sandwich was hot, at one time, the components may have passed a farm or two on their way to the burger shop, though whether they came from one is dubious at best. It was obvious this sandwich had been sitting there waiting for one lucky customer for some time. One bite of the mass of extracted vegetable and animal proteins revealed that there was no flavor, even the cute little salt and pepper packets left the sausage, egg, and cheese bland and lifeless. As for the biscuit, using the term loosely, one would be better off eating the wrapper the sandwich came in – at least there’d be some fiber.
These types of places which have been sprouting up all over Arizona as well as the rest of the US are going to great lengths to prove they are a quick healthy alternative for the diner. Aside from the food, such as it is, they have stripped the meal of another essential component, family connection. In Italy eating is a social communal event, time for the family to bond over good quality food. The burger joints encourage one to bolt the “food” and run, or better yet pick it up at the drive through and just eat it in the car.
Eating in the car isn’t a new concept, there was the drive-in boom in the post war years. Drive up and the carhop skates up to the car and drops off food that was cooked to order, not waiting for the eater. To add to that the people in the next car were friends so there was as social element to the meal. This disappears as one dines alone in the front seat on the road home at night, especially when dining on food of questionable nutritional value. Once in a while won’t hurt, but all too often fast food becomes a way of life.
The experience in the Glendale eatery helps to remind why not to eat at these places. Early man probably had to eat toxic plants every so often to refresh his memory as to what to leave alone so some things never change. If one is in search of provender in the early morning, it would be best to pass by the “McBurger Emperor” or whatever and search out a cafe – they are rare beasts, but worth the hunt once found.