Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fast Food Connoisseur

From the looks of me it's apparent that [I'm a small dude] yet I can eat for two -- two regular-sized dudes. Used to compete in food-eating contests, with the distinguished position of being the fastest pie-eater in my senior class from high school. Back home I would binge regularly at many a revolving sushi bar, stacking plates to the rafters for free meals in their contests.

I like to keep an open-mind in addition to an open-palette, y'know. My food of choice varies, but when it comes to instant gratification of hunger nothing satisfies me like fast food.

Whether it's the delicious fries of McDonald's, the phat burgers at Carl's Junior, or the crunchy tacos at Taco Bell, my palette welcomes grease, salt, fat, and carbohydrate upon carbohydrate. I turn obese people into haters as I sit knocking back two friend chicken breasts from KFC with large sides of mash, mac, and a co-cola.

(Many people have told me that the amount of junk I eat is one day going to catch up with me and turn my Skinny Behind into a Fat Ass. But people have been saying that for years, and so far the only weight I've gained has been marginal at best. At this moment I weigh 164 at a height of 5'11", most of it is muscle, skin, and bone, because my percentage of body-fat is pretty damn close to less than 10% of my total body mass. I blame that on my manorexia whereby I often forget to eat more than a couple meals in a day. Additionally my doctor assures me I have extremely healthy levels of blood pressure, blood sugar, and other criteria, despite all the times I remain skeptical in the face of my fast food binges.)

But getting back to the topic at hand, there is a hierarchy of fast food. Despite the obvious proletarian menu, fast food joints range from near-restaurant quality fare to dingy curbside drive-thrus only good to satisfy a drunken starvation.

More importantly, this variation is merely the tip of the iceberg regarding fast food joints.

Allow me to being with the definition of a Fast Food Restaurant for you [via Wikipedia]:

"A fast food restaurant, sometimes known as a quick service restaurant or QSR, is a specific type of restaurant characterized both by its fast food cuisine and by minimal table service. Food served in fast food restaurants typically caters to a "meat-sweet diet" and is offered from a limited menu; is cooked in bulk in advance and kept hot; is finished and packaged to order; and is usually available ready to take away, though seating may be provided. Fast food restaurants are usually part of a restaurant chain or franchise operation, which provisions standardized ingredients and/or partially prepared foods and supplies to each restaurant through controlled supply channels. The term "fast food" was recognized in a dictionary by Merriam–Webster in 1951.

Arguably the first fast food restaurants originated in the United States with White Castle in 1916. Today, American-founded fast food chains such as McDonald's and KFC are multinational corporations with outlets across the globe.

Variations on the fast food restaurant concept include fast casual restaurants and catering trucks. Fast casual restaurants have higher sit-in ratios, and customers can sit and have their orders brought to them. Catering trucks often park just outside worksites and are popular with factory workers."

(Click to enlarge)

A list of fast food restaurants (which is by no means completely authoritative):

Quite a list, huh? I'm rather proud of it. Moving on...

Now [unlike the majority of Californians] I do not count In-N-Out as quality fast food. Why? [Because of the very reasons people love it so much!] They call it "healthy", "reasonably priced" and other silly things like that. Sorry, but if you think In-N-Out is healthy then you're likely going to be disappointed -- and not just by this blog-post, but by Life in general. Also, reasonably priced?? Seriously? In-N-Out gives you a hamburger smaller than a McDonald's hotcake with fries that look more like raw slices of potato dipped in yellow food-coloring and a soft-drink cup that isn't even big enough to piss in! And all this they give you for around 5-6 bucks + tax!

Please... I can get a better meal at Jack-in-the-Box (AKA Jack-in-the-Crack) from [the dollar menu]. Some Junior bacon cheeseburgers and curly fries with a REFILLABLE drink of adequate size, all at a buck each! Now that's some reasonably priced food. Shoot, even McDonald's offers [a meal of slightly better quality] for THREE DOLLARS. You could get two for the cost of an In-N-Out meal at that price!

But I digress. Fast food is serious business. They account for [the large majority of available late-night food] across America, and [can be linked to the growing obesity epidemic] as well. Many people are upset about it too. They provide a service which is based on an acknowledgement that you're purchasing -- not nutrition! (though they will often try to trick you that they are) -- a mismash of grease, fried fat, chemicals, and other culinary hazards.

Now, call me unapologetic (which would be true) but to me that's the reason for purchasing fast food. I eat it BECAUSE it tastes disgusting, and BECAUSE it's made from rat-meat horse-meat leftover cow-meat chicken-gibblets franken-potatoes delicious ingredients. I enjoy the unhealthiness of fast food. And isn't that the whole point of it?

However [consider my long experience with fast-food] I have been munching at various junk food joints since I was old enough to sneak out of the house.

I remember long nights playing Starcraft online as I chowed down on Double-Western bacon cheeseburgers with criss-cut fries and a large soda from Carl's while I pwned noobs in pre-DOTA mods.

I remember sitting outside of Taco Bell eating my Fourth Meal of nachos Bell-Grande and a half-dozen crunchy tacos with my friends & bandmates after a long gig in Long Beach playing ska for shitty bars where the patrons yelled "FREEBIRD" at random moments during the set.

I remember taking 4 AM drives to the last remaining Wendy's in Orange County so I could be the first at opening for a stack of square-burgers and chocolate shakes with that oh-so random baked-potato (complete with aaaaaalllll the fixings).

I remember sitting in the drive-thru at McDonald's, listening to the radio and hanging out my window waiting for the staff to hurry up and finish my 20 McNugget meal with a side of two super-size fries and colas. (This was back in the day when Super-Size Me hadn't yet ruined gargantuan servings of food.)

However, when it comes to fast food, I do have standards nonetheless. I dislike Chick-fil-a. I refuse to condescend to In-N-Out unless there's nothing else available. I straight out won't eat at Dell Taco.

The hierarchy for me is simple: Carl's Junior on top, Dell Taco below, and in the middle the rest exists in an ambiguous conundrum of my personal appetite which varies from moment to moment. Don't be fooled by the seemingly capricious nature of this though! I can provide evidence why fast-food needs to be classified hierarchically.

(False advertising anyone? Oh well, still delicious.)

See?? Such disgusting examples demonstrate the need for fast food connoisseurs (such as myself) to recall the Golden Age of the True Quick Service Restaurant, and share that history with the current crop of depraved adolescents.

Yet despite my melancholic nostalgia, there is [a disturbing trend] whereby fast food joints are going... h-h-healthy!

Excuse me, but WTF? Do you seriously expect me to believe that salads and fruit cups from McDonald's are healthy? That Subway sandwiches and plain cheese pizza is "fairly healthy"? Really? For real? For really real?

This is the kind of dumbass shit that just makes me wanna shank somebody. With a spork.

Fast food IS NOT about eating healthy. If you're eating at McDonald's, you know what you're getting. And any attempts to delude yourself [or your children] isn't my problem. I mean, it's like people insist on getting angry at fast food companies for providing the service they're based on! People act as if they lied that their greasy shitburgers weren't exactly that: greasy shitburgers. [It's like watching a young woman get angry at a man for dumping her after a one-night stand.] What did you expect?

Frankly, if you think fast food is healthy, then you've got a lot more to worry about than your diet! You've got to start worrying about how you manage to get dressed everyone morning... Oh wait, nevermind. You just wear the same clothes day after day. Now it all makes sense!

But seriously. Fast food is greasy fried goodness, and attempts to make it healthy are missing the point. (I point particularly to food activists in my own city of San Francisco who are [constantly protesting against how unhealthy fast food is] yet so prevalent in our country -- you know who you are. Here's a tip: stop trying to be everyone's mommy! Let people eat whatever they want, and suffer the consequences for it. It's called learning. And besides, making fast food restricted or illegal won't solve anything. See: alcohol, marijuana, and prostitution.)

More importantly, I miss the days when Super-size, King-size, Ultra-duper gargantuan-size were commonly served at fast food joints. Seriously, books like Fast Food Nation and documentaries like Super-Size Me totally ruined my chance to get the...

(No that is not my hand.)

Yeaaaaah. I drink soda like a boss.

Unfortunately such sights are rare these days, proverbial White Elephants hidden among the burger stops and fried-chicken joints of hickvilles along interstate highways. To see portions of food consummate with my desire to eat like a glutton is something of a bygone experience. A melancholic bit of nostalgia.

But that hasn't stopped me from indulging in my appetite for McNuggets, Double-Western bacon cheeseburgers, spiced curly-fries, chocolate shakes, and more stolen packets of ketchup than most tight-fisted fast food employees are willing part with. (Seriously, why do ya'll hear me say "a handful" and toss in 3?? Why so stingy? Who are you saving all that ketchup for if not paying customers? It ain't like I'm asking for your first-born child. I just want some damn ketchup! And since your packets are so little, Geebus P Cryst knows I'm gonna need more than a couple to cover the big mound of fries I just ordered from you. But I digress..)

It hasn't stopped my heart, or overloaded my blood pressure, or shot my cholesterol through the roof. It hasn't stopped me from living the dream, one artery-clogging meal at a time. Ima keep on keeping on double-fisting criss-cut fries and White Castle sliders until the day I die.

And come back as a zombie.


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