How Was Fast Food Invented and When?

There’s plenty of food that’s quick, in fact, instant: bananas, for example. But most people think of fast food as pre-prepared meals that are heated up as soon as you order them and whisked to you in seconds.

Fast food has been around for a long time, but it took the last 100 years or so to make it really unhealthy. The first fast food was sold from street stalls in the earliest cities in the world.

The ancient Romans had stalls selling hot and cold snacks such as stews, pies and sausages. The delicious Indian fast food that’s still sold in the street has followed the same recipes for centuries.

Modern fast food began when, in 1902, ready-made meals were sold in coin-operated machines in a cafe called Horn & Hardart’s Automat in Philadelphia, and then ten years later in New York. It doesn’t sound very appetizing, but the food became popular in the 1920s and 30s during the Great Depression. People started to buy cheap ready-made take-away food instead of always cooking themselves or eating out.

The biggest fast-food restaurant chain ever is McDonald’s. It started in 1948 as a restaurant run by two brothers, selling a limited menu very cheaply and quickly. They sold so many burgers, fries and milkshakes that Ray Kroc, a milkshake-mixer salesman, decided to buy the business.

Kroc’s clever marketing made McDonald’s the huge chain of restaurants we know today. The healthy alternative, in many parts of the world you can buy insect snacks, including grasshoppers, locusts, crickets and beetles.

In parts of Africa, termites are roasted and eaten by the handful. They’re much more nutritious than a bag of chips.

Do you want healthy fries with that? Fast food doesn’t have to be an unhealthy affair, in fact more often than not the healthy version tastes far nicer than the unhealthy one. Have a look at the fast-food recipes and make your own healthy smoothie, burger and fries.

BURGER

MAIN INQREDIENTS

an onion, a courgette, an egg, 450 g minced lamb, 1 tbsp tomato purée, fresh mint, fresh coriander, 50 g fresh breadcrumbs

ACCOMPANIMENTS

pitta bread, low-fat yoghurt, lemon juice, fresh mint, salad

WHAT TO DO

Chop the onion, courgette and fresh herbs finely and beat the egg. Then mix and bind all the main ingredients together with clean hands. Make sure you have a big enough bowl so that you don’t lose the mixture over the side!

Divide your mixture into four separate but same-size balls. Take each ball in turn and pat it into the shape of a burger between the palms
of your hands.

Barbeque or grill them at a high heat for approximately ten minutes. Then turn them over and grill the other side. Keep a close watch on them to make sure they don’t burn.

In a separate dish mix the low-fat yoghurt, some chopped mint and lemon juice. When the burgers are ready, serve in a pitta with salad
and your minty sauce.

CHIPS

WHAT YOU NEED

Sweet potatoes, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper

WHAT TO DO

Peel the potatoes and cut out any nasty bits you find. Slice the potatoes into chunky chip shapes (the bigger the chips are the less fat they hold).

Place your chunky chips on a baking tray and brush them with the oil and, if you like, Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper and place in a preheated oven (200°C/400).

Bake the chips until they look a bit crispy. Test them with a fork to see if they are cooked through. You could do a taste test too, but be careful – the chips will be very hot.

Serve your chips with your healthy burger or on their own with the usual accompaniments, such as vinegar and ketchup. Or you could try dipping the chips in hummus instead of tomato sauce to make them even healthier.

SMOOTHIE

From the list of ingredients below, pick at least three different items to make an experimental smoothie.

Bananas, apple, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, mango, melon, peach, pineapple, low at yoghurt, vanilla extract, maple syrup, honey, mint, semi-skimmed milk, tofu, orange juice, coconut, ginger,
nutmeg, cinnamon.

WHAT TO DO

Place all your chosen ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds on high speed. Add ice to the mix and keep blending until the mixture is smooth.

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