Flashback: Fast Food

Prompt #9: “Did your family eat fast food often? What was you ‘go-to’ fast food restaurant? What was (is) your order at your favorite joint?”

My family didn’t eat fast food. Not much, anyway.

We ate fast food maybe once a month.

At first, it was “Sams”, a burger joint down the way that sold minimalistic hamburgers for some ridiculously low price. I don’t know, a quarter or fifty cents? All I know is Mom would spend ten bucks and feed the whole passel of us–and we were pretty big eaters (I’m talking multiple burgers per person for 6+ of us).

We always drove through at Sams, so I have no idea what the inside looked like.

We always went in to Taco Inn, on the other hand. Each of us kids got a 79 cent kids meal–a bean burrito, a small drink, and a cup of ice cream with sprinkles. And we had the chips and salsa that were available for free in the lobby. We got our money worth there, eating through tub after tub of chips. The burritos were delicious–but you had to kinda ignore the general unkemptness of the employees. Certainly, the cleanliness of their hair was less than awe-inspiring.

McDonald’s was anathema, and if we had to go to a chain burger joint, it was Burger King, where we could get Whopper Juniors. And that’s what we’d get. Whopper Juniors. Period. We didn’t get a lot of fancy side stuff. We got a sandwich, which we took home and ate with stuff of our own on the side.

The abuse we heaped on McDonald’s was over the top: They had cardboard sandwiches, they sprayed good smelling stuff on their food to make you think it was good. Okay, maybe that was the extent of the abuse.

We changed our tune (slightly) when two of my brothers started working at McDonalds. Then, it became a convenient place to spend nights with the kids after youth group. We’d take over a section of the dining room, piling it full of kids with their sodas or McFlurry’s. My brother came out and visited with the kids during his break–and after he handed the keys over to the next manager on duty. It wasn’t a bad way to spend a Wednesday night (I spent it there, even though I wasn’t in youth group, because I was a youth sponsor and because I love hanging out with my siblings, about half of whom were in youth group at that point.)

Which brings me, in roughly chronologic order, to today. Today when I had my first McChicken in a month.

When I started commuting back and forth between Columbus and Grand Island, I was working 12 hours days in GI. I didn’t have much option but to pick up fast food.

What I didn’t realize then was that going down to two eight hour days instead of one twelve wasn’t going to make it any easier to cook for myself once I got home.

I *always* eat lunch in my facilities as part of ensuring quality for our residents (the exception is when I foolishly space lunch because I’ve got my nose stuck in a chart). I get the last tray of the noon meal, generally around 12:30. Which means that if I leave GI around 4:30 (if I’m lucky-it’s usually closer to 5:30 or later), I’ll get back around six and be able to have supper at 6:30 at the earliest. Since the norm is leaving much later than the ideal, a long time passes between lunch and supper on days that I drive in to GI.

Which is all a justification for what has become a biweekly habit of mine-driving through McDonalds, where I get a McChicken and a Wild Berry Smoothie or a McChicken and a large Sprite, depending on how dehydrated I am.

Oh, and I occasionally throw in a small fry (although I always regret it since trans-fat-free frying oils have made all fried foods taste distinctly of rancidity) or an order of Cinnamon Bites.

Frankly? After a month off, I was glad to eat some “real” food on the way home–but McDonalds tasted pretty bleh. I think I should learn a lesson from my Fast Food Free February and stash oranges in my car to snack on during those drives home (at least, the ones that get started at a semi-decent hour!)

2 thoughts on “Flashback: Fast Food”

  1. Sam’s was 25 or 35 cents per hamburger on the days we went, and the order was usually for 20+ burgers. I remember eating whoppers, not jr whoppers. “And for dessert, one mild bean burrito. That’s bean, not meat, bean. B E A N.” And, McDonald’s was my secret after I got my license. There are 2 stores between kate’s piano lesson and home. A 2 cheeseburger meal with Dr. Pepper used to cost 3.20. Hmmm… my order hasn’t changed much. I should go fast food free and see if it cures me.

  2. We didn’t go to fast food places, or any kind of restaurants, much at all when I was a kid. Sometimes we went to a drive-inn restaurant (where you sit in the car and eat) I think called Pick’s in southern TX. I always got steak fingers (and I haven’t found anything comparable to them as an adult), and they had the BEST milk shakes.

    I’m way, way too fond of fast food places now. Our regular go-to burger place is Wendy’s, and Chick-Fil-A is a favorite as well. When my son comes down from RI we always have to make one stop at Chick-Fil-A when he is here.


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