The Meal- Fast Food Journal 9

In this essay, Pollan describes his family’s meal from McDonald’s.  He touches upon many ideas throughout this writing, including:

  • the deception that occurs through the companies marketing
  • the convenience of fast food
  • the amount of corn in a meal supposedly of “meat”
  • the nostalgia that comes with fast food (the smell and taste you can’t make at home)
  • the fact that a harmful substance is allowed to be put into this food in small amounts
  • how the bone-lessness of the meat distracts from the fact an animal was probably tortured in the production of this food
  • Is eating this food necessarily a bad thing?

“These healthier menu items hand the child who wants to eat fast food a sharp tool with which to chip away at his parents’ objections. “But Mom, you could get the salad. . .”” pg 110

This idea I think is particularly important because it’s just one of the many reasons fast food is seen as “convenient”.  Not only is fast food cheap and quick to pick up even without getting out of your car, but now it’s difficult for parents to use the “it’s not healthy so, no” excuse.  And as the author points out, his wife caves and does in fact, get a salad even though she would’ve much rather preferred a real meal.

“The car has cup holders, front seat and rear, and, except for the salad, all the food… can be readily eaten with one hand.” pg 110-111

This concept goes back to the idea of convenience.  One can easily eat chicken nuggets with one hand, which is much easier than trying to eat chicken with a fork, knife, and plate in the car.  Since you can drive while eating, this works perfectly if you are short on time.  (It’s also easily eaten quickly, and therefore one will most likely eat more because of that.)

“… soda (100 percent corn), milk shake (78 percent), salad dressing (65 percent), chicken nuggets (56 percent), cheeseburger (52 percent), and french fries (23 percent).” pg 117

These numbers are extremely important to the author’s argument that for a meal that is supposed to have great variety, it is made up of a lot of corn.  He also points out how it expands our appetites, which is in no way healthy along with the potential risk of obesity, Type II diabetes, and heart disease.

I think the irony in this essay stands out because after all this thinking the author does about this meal, he and his family still give into it.  He knows the health risks, the marketing tactics, yet he still eats it. I think that just shows how the average family feels about fast food.  They know it’s bad.  They know they shouldn’t eat it but yet, they do regardless of all those negative or questioning thoughts about the food they are eating.

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