Posts Tagged With: McDonald’s

320/365: National Fast Food Day

Hurry up and enjoy today’s food holiday! November 16 is National Fast Food Day.

Dietitians may cringe, but fast food is wildly popular worldwide, especially in the U.S. It is estimated that 41% of Americans eats fast food at least once a week, according to Pew Research. Fast-food and drive-through restaurants are a direct result of he popularity of the American automobile in the years following World War I. Walter Anderson built the first fast-food restaurant, called White Castle, in Wichita, Kansas in 1916. A second location in 1921 made White Castle the first fast food chain of restaurants; they were known for their 5-cent slider hamburgers. White Castle was a success from the very beginning, and spawned many imitators. The earliest included A&W Root Beer, who revolutionized the concept of franchising in 1921; 7-Eleven in 1927; Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1930; McDonald’s in 1940; and In-N-Out in 1948. The term “fast food” first appeared in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary in 1951, and the concept became especially popular during that decade. Fast food is often vilified for being a highly processed nutritional nightmare, but it is this emphasis on speed, uniformity, and low cost that has made fast food popular with consumers. No big surprise: who doesn’t appreciate a tasty, cheap, quick meal?

As you might imagine, different variations of fast food are popular in other parts of the world. Japan’s got their sushi, the Middle East has kebab houses, Asia has noodle shops, and the U.K. is known for their fish ‘n chips. The Dutch serve French fries with mayonnaise (and other sauces) and meat, and in Portugal, local dishes such as piri-piri (marinated grilled chicken), espetada (turkey or pork on sticks), and bifanas (pork cutlets) are served with – once again – French fries. The common denominator.

I would personally love it if White Castle expanded to the West Coast. I’ve only ever been there once in my life, on a road trip to the midwest in 2011, and it was like the Holy Grail of my vacation. Alas, no such luck, but we do have Jack In The Box out here, which is hard to find back east. Kind of makes up for the White Castle slight. We were in Salem, the state capitol of Oregon, tonight to get our culture on and catch some dance. Afterwards, we swung by the aforementioned Jack In The Box. This photo was taken in the car at 10 PM, and isn’t nearly as impressive as it tasted. Trust me…my Sourdough Jack and french fries were delicious!


Categories: Too Weird to Categorize | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

171/365: National Vanilla Milkshake Day

Those susceptible to brain freezes beware: June 20 is National Vanilla Milkshake Day!

The term “milkshake” has been around since the 1800s, though it originally referred to an entirely different drink altogether. It first appeared in print in 1885 and was described as a”sturdy, healthful eggnog type of drink, with eggs, whiskey, etc., served as a tonic as well as a treat.” I don’t know if your liver would necessarily agree about the “healthful” part, but whatever. By 1900 the alcohol had disappeared, and milkshakes were made with vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry syrups. It wasn’t until 1922 when the milkshake as we know it and love it was invented; a Walgreens employee named Ivar “Pop” Coulson added two scoops of ice cream to a malted milk (milk, chocolate, and malt powder) and, voila! A new creation was born. By the 1930s milkshakes were popular across the nation, and the invention of freon-cooled refrigerators during that decade provided a safe and reliable method of making and dispensing ice cream. Fancy stainless steel automatic milkshake mixing machines soon followed, and in the 1950s Ray Kroc bought exclusive rights to one of these automated milkshake makers to speed up production in his fledgling new chain of fast-food restaurants called McDonald’s. These machines folded air into the drinks, making them smooth and fluffy. Like a koala bear. Milkshakes have remained popular over the years, evoking nostalgia for a bygone era. They are an especially profitable source of revenue for restaurants since the fluffy drinks contain so much air; one market research study showed that 75% of the cost of an average milkshake is pure profit. Almost makes me want to not order a milkshake just out of spite, but come on…how could I do that? Milkshakes are delicious!

To celebrate, we stopped at McDonald’s. After all, it was Ray Kroc’s foresight that helped milkshakes become as widely popular and readily available as they are now.

National Vanilla Milkshake Day

Categories: Dairy, Desserts | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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