Thursday, 20 May 2010

The acceptable face of fast food?

I have a bit of a post weigh in ritual.

Well, let’s call it more a bribe. I need to bribe myself to leave the office, head ten minutes up the road and face the Scales of Doom. Whether or not I have had a reasonable week points wise, at about an hour before kick off my mouth goes dry, my heart starts pounding a little bit and I start to doubt every single food related decision that I have made in the past seven days. Then, I start to think of reasons why I can’t go. I must finish this piece of work I think, or, it’s raining and if my hair is wet then it will add literally ounces to the result. During the cold snap earlier this year (if a snap can be said to last six weeks) I fretted about picking my way across the icy pavements. Weigh in or keep all my teeth?

So, I bribe myself. Go to weigh in and afterwards you can indulge in some fast food. Specifically, a six inch turkey and ham sub on wheat with salad (hold the chillies and olives) and light mayo which comes in at a very reasonable 5 points.

Subway, to me, is the compromise between wanting to indulge my naughty child’s desire for something “dirty” and my responsible adult wanting to remain on plan. But it got me wondering why it is fast food is such a treat.

I mean, I’ve read some people say that after x number of weeks on y plan they lose their taste for junk food. Not me. After a shitty day at work, a slice of greasy, doughy, nothing-like-Italian pizza from Dominos tastes like manna from heaven. Had a couple of cocktails? What better to chase them down than a cheeseburger the size of a baby’s head complete with a substantial dollop of lurid sauces?

I love beautiful food as much as anyone. I fully recognise that one of those sad little brown patties from McDs cannot compare with the majestic, organic beef burgers made at my local farm shop. And don’t get me started on the cheese slices that are obviously more closely related to plastic than cheese. And yet the taste…is it just the salt and fat and chemicals pumped into these foods that create some sort of cycle of addiction within the consumer? Or are these foods also tied up so closely with memories, with belonging to a particular culture at a particular time, that they are an intrinsic part of who we are?

As a young child there was no greater treat than a cheeseburger and chips at the Wimpy Bar, unless it be the giddy heights of lunch at Pizza Hut. My parents were not big advocates of feeding kids on a diet of junk, but every few months we would venture into these institutions and I remember being so excited at being “out” to eat. Pizza Hut was where you went on birthdays or special family occasions. I wonder if that is why it is that I still regard a slice of pizza as my go-to food when I am unhappy or stressed. I wonder if that slice of pizza represents a safe place, a happy time, a memory of being with the people I love.

Or am I just reading too much into this? Do I just like pizza because it is full of chemically stuff that is designed to make it appealing?

Either way, it seems to keep my naughty side happy by letting her pay a visit to Subway on a weekly basis. Hey, it’s a very minor rebellion and worth it to keep her quiet.

No comments:

Post a Comment