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Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Growing up in the 1970s, my lunch was a squashed Vegemite sandwich, an apple, and a cordial bottle. I got tuckshop every second Friday, and bought a cream bun, a sausage roll and a Sunnyboy iceblock (remember those? They were in those little frozen pyramid shapes and you sucked all the flavour out?)

Breakfast was porridge, boiled eggs, toast and a cup of Bushells tea. Dinner was rissoles, sausages or chops with mashed potatoes and some token green. Dessert, weekends only, was ice cream.

That was it.

Fast food? I think there may have been a pizza joint about three suburbs along, and some rogue Chinese establishment that smelled suspiciously like somebody had died in there the week before and was still decomposing in a wok.

My mum was a midwife, so sometimes she’d have to work Saturday nights. We loved those nights. Dad would ring up and order pizza and my brothers and I would pile into the Falcon 500 to pick it up. We had two choices: supreme or ham and pineapple. Of course we only ordered ham and pineapple. Supreme was waaaay to avant-garde in the 70s. Salami? Mushrooms? Get out! I’m not eating that!

Fast forward 30 years. I see people starting their day with a can of Red Bull and a take-away double shot latte. And these are the 15 year-olds. The 30 year-olds are a bit more hard-core. They skip the latte in favour of a V-shot chaser. They do the lattes later.

Some people drink so much coffee their eyes stay open when they sneeze. They can type 60 words a minute with their feet. They channel surf faster without the remote.

Now it’s common to eat Nandos, Aportos, KFC, McDonalds. To buy pre-packaged pasta and prepared sauces, then chuck it all in the microwave on high for three minutes while you grab your 3rd can of Diet Coke. Frozen dinners, frozen spring rolls, frozen meat pies. Packets of chips, packets of biscuits, packets of fat.

Just personally, I think fast food is the nutritional equivalent of pornography.

No need to make breakfast at home! Grab a bacon and egg muffin or a savoury bread roll on your way to the office. Please, at lunch time come and buy our salad. Salad, my arse. If you look closely enough, you may spot a lettuce leaf drowning forlornly in some tangy creamy dressing. For dinner, shovel up some half-price Chinese from the all-you-can-eat buffet in the food court. I’m sure this food is still ok, even though it has been sitting under the lamps since 7am.

The factors that make fast food so popular still seem to be powerful enough to make the majority of the population ignore the obvious risks of poor nutrition and weight problems. Fast food is easily available, relatively cheap, most people find it tasty and filling and it can be purchased fast.

Although, sometimes I think it’s called "fast" food because you're supposed to eat it really fast. Otherwise, you might actually taste it.
According to a recent article I just read on nutrition, they said eating right doesn't have to be complicated. Nutritionists say there is a simple way to tell if you're eating right. Colours. Fill your plates with bright colours, it chorused. Greens, reds, yellows.

A friend of mine says she does that every day, by eating an entire packet of M&M's.

The big problem with "fast" food is that it slows down when it hits your stomach. And it just parks there and lets the fat have time to get off and apply for citizenship.

Personally, I can’t do it. I can’t even use a jar of spaghetti sauce. Sometimes I even struggle with tinned tomatoes. I’m not sure these days whether the fresh fruit and vegies I buy are in fact fresh fruit and vegies, or if they’ve been sprayed with nitrogen or some other chemical and stored in the back of a shed in Stanthorpe since 2004.

1970s food, for all its scary apricot chicken and beef Wellington carry on, was made the way nature intended food to be made. From scratch. In those days, milk lasted three or four days. Now, I can buy milk with a two-week fridge life. So exactly how much of the white liquid in that carton is milk from the cow, and how much is additives and preservative crap?

I think it would be nice if the government mob who monitor warnings about toxic substances just gave me the names of one or two things that are still safe to eat.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you although occasionally (once every two months) we'll indulge in a takeaway pizza but that is it. Like you I can't even use a bottled pasta sauce ... its not that hard to make from scratch and the taste is so worth it. I make enough for four meals and freeze it ... that's my type of "instant" meal. I'm as busy as the next person ... and I work full-time and most nights don't get home until 6:30pm - 7:00pm. With a little thought there is no need to succumb to "convenience foods".