Fast food. Everyone seems to have an opinion (even rather strong opinions) about fast food. Some hate it. I suppose some love it…although I have not met many who said they did. But those who do eat it and/or enjoy the convenience of a drive-through meal, most have strong opinions about exactly which fast food is the best. Everyone definitely seems to have a favorite! I happen to be in the “fast food is gross” camp. A couple of times a year, my husband will get a hankering for some Chick Fil-a strips and, well, I can be “forced” to enjoy the mac and cheese there. Ok, it really is good. And, of course, I have already confessed to my weakness for french fries…and so you can convince me to go to Freddy’s. But, that is about it. Any of the others, I find, well, unappetizing. To be kind.
For some reason, I was thinking about our rather “strong dislike” for fast-food fare. Growing up, I do not remember going to McDonald’s often. There was one not too far from our house but I don’t ever remember going there. McDonald’s or Burger King (I only remember those two burger places and Kentucky Fried Chicken as the three main fast food places), were considered “treats” when we were traveling – on the road heading to Florida for our annual summer vacation. We always went to Florida! I think my parents preferred Burger King over McDonald’s and, without ever really saying anything, they passed their opinions on to my brother and me. As an adult, my brother is not a drive-through fan either.
Before we had kids, my husband and I went to Burger King almost every Friday night. It wasn’t exactly that we loved the burgers and fries but it was what our newlywed budget could afford. Those were some great date nights – before the idea of “date nights” was even a thing and in spite of the food!! Fast forward several years and we had three little ones at home…and going to McDonald’s was reserved for special occasions – like birthdays. I remember taking Tyler there for his second birthday. They provided decorations and even a party hostess. Happy meals and a “huge” play place for the win!! Just a few years later and Chuck E Cheese took over as the premier party place for kids’ birthdays!
We also used Burger King as our “reward” for being good car riders when we would travel and the kids were young. We made many a trip between Virginia and North Carolina where my parents lived – and Burger King was almost at the halfway point. Even I would look forward to seeing the Burger King billboard announcing our exit! After the advent of DVD players in the van, stops along the way became fewer and shorter! And included a lot fewer burgers and fries.
McDonald’s was located across the street from our pediatrician’s office. Anytime the kids made a sick visit to the doctor’s office, we would get a chocolate milkshake afterward. This one fast-food treat remained a comfort food for many years. Interestingly, neither of my children eat any fast food now as adults. I’m sure that is for a variety of reasons but it still is funny to me. As a teenager, my oldest son went through a huge Taco Bell phase. He had tacos (can they really be called tacos….I’m sorry the food there is just plain bad!) every night before karate. So many tacos. And why didn’t I stop him?! I will chalk that one up to a parenting fail! Thankfully, he “outgrew” that. I don’t think he could be paid to eat at Taco Bell today. (I’m totally on board with that.)
Although I do not remember my parents eating too many burgers when I was young, my dad did develop a bit of a McDonald’s habit much later in life. He and the dog – his faithful companion and best kind of friend – would visit the drive-through whenever they were out running errands. Dad would get a burger for each of them and they would share a milkshake. I am not joking. Nor do I recommend this. Both of them suffered the consequences of that habit but, boy oh boy, the both of them sure did love those late morning errands:)
So, when was the last time I visited a Mcdonald’s or a Burger King? Or had any other fast food? When I was in Thailand. The last missions trip I took was in 2018. I went to Thailand with four other people. And we often traveled in larger groups with the missionaries, etc. Traveling between airports and different cities often meant looking for a quick place to eat and, apparently, you just cannot get away from McDonald’s. Maybe it was the familiarity – or the fact we could read the sign – but the majority always seemed excited about McDonald’s. But if they were expected fires with their chicken, they were in for a shock. The meals were served with rice! Well, of course they were:) Instead of a fried apple pie….dessert was a fried corn pie. Which was actually quite tasty!
Not sure why fast food thoughts and memories have been on my mind – but any trip down memory lane is fun. And rather insightful. I had almost forgotten about the comfort of a chocolate milkshake for my kiddos. Fast food or not, that memory makes me smile! I am curious, though, what do you think about fast food? No judgment. Just wondering. And I have to confess, if I were fortunate enough to live in the UK and have a local fish and chips shop…I could easily become a convert. Hmmm – do you consider this fast food??