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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Trouble with Fast Food


McDonald’s commissioned an independent television production company to produce a one-hour special where six random Australians were given the task of investigating the entire food-making process. Whilst McDonald’s funded the project, and their food-making processes were the ones scrutinised, it’s clear very little was hidden from these independent ‘food critics’. This program showed that McDonald’s food, and probably most major fast-food chain offerings, is actually relatively healthy—and more hygienic and fresher than we think.
Fast food companies have always gone to great lengths to convince the eating public of the wholesomeness of their food. It’s an incredibly profitable business. But, one of the business risks, in a health-conscious age, is having a reputation tainted by thought that your food is unhealthy or, worse, disgusting.
So, typical fast food—in the main—is safe for consumption and may be moderately healthy. But why do we feel unhealthy having eaten it? Compared to a serving of grandma’s pot roast where we felt sated and fulfilled, fast food tends to leave us feeling unfulfilled, spiritually.
I have a thesis about food: the only prepared food profitable to us is the food cooked with love. That is, food cooked for a known individual to eat. Food cooked with them in mind. It’s food that has soul.
Food Should Be Prepared With Pride
In the healthiest sense, proud is the cook that makes their food to please the eater. They have a vested interest in everything they do. They want to create it tasty, hygienic, and aesthetic on the plate. They care. They cook their food with love. And they want their food eaten with love and respect for the process.
Fast food, on the other hand, is an unloved child whose parent neither loves the food, their work, nor the receiver of the food. It’s made with no soul or spirit. It may fill our bellies and nourish our bodies, but the experience of eating fast food does nothing to nourish our souls.
We ought to become keen observers of how food makes us feel, and although food of itself doesn’t make us evil, our practices can sometimes make us feel that way. Feeling bloated or dry in the mouth or queasy are all psychosomatic signs that the experience of eating certain food hasn’t been positive. The food hasn’t served its nourishing purpose.
The Service That Comes With The Food
Whenever we go to takeaway restaurants, not only is the food not cooked with love, it’s often not served with love. Patrons are commonly treated as second-class citizens; mainly because the person serving them has no propriety. They’ve not been trained to care.
Wherever we go in life it pays, as much as possible, to place ourselves in situations and circumstances of good experience. Enriching experience is good for the soul. Placing ourselves in non-enriching experiences, though, leads to a deadening of the soul. The service that comes with the food is just as important as the eating experience is. The service, too, must come with love.
***
The trouble with fast food is it’s generally not cooked nor served with love. Often it’s prepared and cooked by people with no stake in its consumption. Eating food is a spiritual activity. If we care enough for ourselves and those we love we limit our reliance on fast food. We’ll still eat it, perhaps, but less so.
Our dietary habits are key inputs to our spirituality. When we eat food made with love we profit. Food made without love cannot profit us spiritually.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.
Postscript: there are many people who do care about the fast food they prepare and cook. They cook their fast food with love, against the abovementioned trend. You, who do this, cook with soul. And blessed are your eaters in the experience of what they eat because of how you cook.

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