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Fast Food: A Love Story


Fast food: A Love Story

London has a love-hate relationship with fast food. Public health campaigns and celebrity chefs vilify it and warn it could kill us; yet, as this film shows, we’ve never had it so good. This programme reveals, with an emphasis on our lunches, how food and eating have evolved since the 1950s. Special emphasis is placed on the importance of supermarkets, as Rob Lyons, author of Panic on a Plate, tells us, supermarkets have enabled more people to be fed more inexpensively, conveniently and well.

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Leave a comment now said:

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John said:

Thinking that fatty, sugary foods are ‘bad’ because lots of working class people eat them is obviously pretty stupid. But it’s equally stupid to argue that they’re ‘good’ because of that.

The problem with such foods is that, if eaten often and in large quantities, they cause cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other major health problems. And to point this out is not some kind of patronising way of dissing the working classes. My own mother (who was working class ) was well aware of how to feed her familily healthily – plenty of fresh fruit and veg – and speaking personally I’m very glad that she didn’t feel it necessary to bring us up on a diet of fry-ups and ‘Happy Meals’ out of some misplaced sense of class loyalty.

Good food does not need to be organic, expensive or in any other way the preserve of the elite, but it looks to me like Rob Lyons is actually bolstering the view that healtlthy food is for nobs while the poor should be more than happy with the artery-clogging crap peddled by fast-food outlets and supermarket chains. Maybe this is some weird form of inverted snobbery? Whatever his motives, I’d say this is patronising in the extreme.

helene said:

In this report, a point caught my attention: according to Rob Lyons, we can better know people by looking at the food they eat. In other words, the class distinctions are made through food, but the interesting in the fasts foods I think, is that all the social classes meet there.
I also like the analysis of the supermarket as a way to do your shopping faster because, in a way, it highlights the fact that nowadays, We are accustomed to be in the rush and to hurry in everything. We could also say that thanks to the supermarkets, we have more spare time.

Conny said:

How much the supermarket paid him for this film?
I just think about drinking catchup instead apple juice.

Mahmood said:

FraisDubois seems to want the new food police to educate us ‘confused’ ordinary people to eat better. Watch out for the pizza-munching hordes! In the developing world, having got some weight on you is a sign of success (compared to the many who are poor/hungry and thin). Does FraisDubois want to tell third world ‘fatties’ what to eat as well?

Hilda said:

This is very interesting, taking the myth off fast food. This means fast food can be delicious and healthy. We have varieties of foods from different parts of the world which can beneficial to our bodies. Supermarkets have in a way made life a little easier when it comes to shopping under one roof.This information that fast food can be delicious and healthy is good to know.

Mary said:

Re: FraisDubois’ comment: This film is a celebration of fast food, which for the film’s purposes includes mass produced and pre-packaged foods available at supermarkets. It points out the oft overlooked fact that fast food eateries & supermarkets offer a large variety of food conveniently and affordably, allowing us not to have to worry about obtaining or spending hours to prepare our meals as in the past. Furthermore, Rob Lyons argues that “food” by definition must be nutritious or contain some nutrients/vitamins to fuel our bodies in order to even be considered food. His ketchup versus apples argument shows that characterizing “good/wholesome” food from “bad/junk” food is not as simple or black and white as many would like us to believe. As Rob says himself in the film, all foodstuffs, including Pot Noodle, are fine for one’s diet in moderation. What’s unhealthy is not having a wide variety of foods and meals to choose from, easily and at all price ranges. And again, this variety and convenience are made possible by fast food eateries and supermarkets.

Kelvin said:

Perhaps we should bring back WW2 rationing and we the people could acquire own and run food production, sale and distribution. The only trouble iis the Conservatives would want to deal in the Black Market, wouldn’t they?

Ian said:

Since WORLDbytes Fast Food: A Love Story report launched this week we have heard from so called experts calling for the government to use yet more legislation and direct intervention in our private lives because apparently ‘we’ just can’t help gorging on junk food. Of-course ‘we’ isn’t the Nigella Lawson buttery creamy variety, it’s the ‘chavs with their cheeseburgers’ that need to be stopped. As Rob Lyons argues in the film, moral distinctions, class distinction are now made through food as “the right kind of people…eat organic, local, ethical food whereas trash people eat trash food”. This film goes provides an antidote to the flabby fights against our freedoms but tell us what you think.

Viv said:

Today has been interesting for the team at WORLDbytes that produced this short film. We have been bombarded with phone calls, comments and emails telling us we must be being funded by Tescos or Heinz. It would be great if WORLDbytes was sponsored by them – we could do with the money, but alas we are not. Of-course instead this film was made because in all sorts of very important ways supermarkets, mass production, packaged food have bought us freedoms such as helping hugely women (mostly) being able to cut their apron strings and get out of the house. We also wanted to and we obviously have to continue to challenge the idea that we should intervene into people family and private lives because they don’t eat enough apples!

Missy said:

Totally disagree with the comment below, are you really sticking up for the idea that government and so called ‘experts’ should interfere with families and private lives because they don’t eat as much apples as you do. You say ‘this is what is really going on’ as if Rob Lyons is lying yet tomato ketchup contains three times the vitamin C, pound for pound, as apples, and less sugar for each unit of vitamin C than apples – yes, it is not all of the picture but it nicely sums up the panic and hysteria around food.

FraisDubois said:

What a strange little film. London does offer a great choice of takeaway food. But what’s that got to do with Pot Noodle? Is Rob Lyon sponsored by them??

More importantly Rob Lyon’s comments on nutrition, saying that apples are more of a junk food than ketchup are misleading and really quite ridiculous. No wonder so many ordinary people are confused about what they eat when there are so many people like Rob Lyon around to make clever little statements like this to get themselves some media attention. Not funny and not clever.

Carry on eating pot noodles with lots of ketchup – good luck to you!

This is really what’s going on:

Carol said:

So, after a lifetime of being told not to eat this and not to eat that, it’s a myth! I suppose most food is ‘bad’ for you if you eat too much of it, but its ok in moderation.
In another great report by WORLDbytes, Change4Life or life for a change?, Dr Mick Fitzpatrick, a local GP says that Chicken & chips is a ‘perfectly reasonable meal, with carbs, protein and a little bit of fat’.

Leonardo said:

When it comes to junk food and big business you are not likely to expect a view other than the stereotyped one that identifies them with evil. It’s about time for a fairer view.
A fresh view on the widely demonized world of junk food and supermarkets.
Did you know that before supermarkets existed food prices didn’t allow poor people to buy food of a similar quality than the kind they can afford nowadays?

Just at the end of the feature something very interesting is pointed out. The moral divide that is trigged by your food of choice. My worries about fast food never were further than the nutritional aspect of it. Now it seems that it’s also about morals!

The best of all is that I can still be in love with some of my favorite junk food and BOGOFs with no regrets.

Abbas said:

Having listened to what Rob Lyons said I am confused about why we get so much wrong information about food. I am at school and we are constantly told that we shouldn’t eat junk food. Check out Rob Lyon’s blog too for more information (in recommended readings) , it’s really revealing.

Lewis said:

I really liked all the vox pops mixed with the old footage, it really shows how things have changed for the best

Randolph Ferry said:

Thank God we have supermarkets and lots of choice of food compared to the past. Fast food should be a cause for some celebration too. We get told that burgers are junk food but they are really quite nutritious and tasty. I often wonder what some TV chefs are on and oh yes there was the ‘slow food’ movement, how odd. It’s like a question of go back in time or go forward.

R Keymis said:

This report is very good and should be shown to school boards and others who insist on inspecting kid’s lunch boxes. More ketchup please.

Jane Howard said:

Great, this is an eyeopener and very true, we should stop feeeling guilty about take aways and enjoy what is on offer. Amazing to learn that ketchup is more nutritious than an apple.

S Kelly said:

Totally disagree with Irene, the fact that we can eat strawberries any time of year, bananas that will never grow locally and New Zealand lamb and Brazilian rib eye steaks (superb) is a huge step forward and not just in a lunch box. The OTT concern to shop local and save the planet is not only failing to do deal with developing less pollutting ships and planes but bigging up backward local toil as we all supposedly start growing our own food and staying in the kitchen again and it is also robbing other countries of growth. Supersize me was one of the worst most indulgent and backward looking films I have seen an example of exactly the racial thinking pointed out in this report.

Irene said:

While I think this makes some good points surely some fast food is junk food as in Supersize me and is bad for us? What about where the food comes from, surely local produce is much better for the planet.

John Zachs said:

Wow what a well made refreshing little report – Rob Lyons rocks-makes me hungry for a take away and want to try a giraffe thingy. Excellent point on women’s freedom from domestic toil and contemporary racial thinking expressed through food. More of this please.