Fast food takes many different forms around the world. It is all too easy for us in present times to think simply of the big burger and pizza chains which of course, although starting off in the USA, have now spread around the globe like wildfire. The reality is that many different countries have had there own versions of fast food for far longer than these global conglomerates have been around.
If we first consider the obvious, however, we are looking at such as burgers, hot dogs and fried pieces of chicken. These types of fast foods have proven incredibly popular first in the United States and then almost everywhere they have spread. The incredibly skilful marketing techniques and offers made to potential customers often totally masks the negative effects which these types of fast food – and particularly the manner in which they are frequently cooked – can have upon our health.
Moving across the Atlantic, we come to the UK. Fast food in the UK until fairly recently almost always meant the traditional fish and chips. The almost overwhelming popularity of this offering dates back principally to Churchill’s promise during World War II that the British people would always have their fish and chips. The white fish – such as cod, whiting or haddock – is dipped in a batter mixture and fried traditionally in hot animal fat, though vegetable oil is increasingly used today. The chips are cooked in a similar fashion. This form of fast food, although equally popular, is therefore little healthier.
Germany’s traditional fast food is of course the incredible variety of sausages, or “wurst,” which the country is famous for. We are now moving on to the slightly healthier options in the fast food chain as these sausages are most often cooked in a much healthier fashion, frequently by simply being poached in water.
The Middle East and North Africa is of course most famous for its various types of kebab and as Middle Easterns have spread westwards, they have brought the popularity of their cooking methods with them. The grilling of kebabs in a traditional sense is of course a very healthy way of cooking but as these dishes are sold throughout Europe and North America as more western ideas of fast food, the quality of the ingredients used is not often up to the same standard as in the land where the dishes originate.
Asian cooking, particularly Chinese cooking, is probably the original form of fast food. This is simply because almost all Chinese dishes may be considered fast food. The ingredients are chopped in to bite-sized portions and cooked very quickly in woks at incredibly high temperatures to ensure that they retain as many of their natural vitamins and nutrients as possible. Asian cooking is another form of cooking which has spread around the world but what many Americans and Britons in particular do not realise is that many of the, “Chinese,” or, “Indian,” dishes they recognise will never have been heard of in China or India. They are in fact concoctions of Chinese and Indian immigrants and do not necessarily contain the same healthful properties as the traditional foods of those countries.
Japanese fast food is most commonly thought of as being raw fish, or “sushi.” Although there is of course no cooking involved with, “sushi,” the reality is that the preparation of the fish can take quite some considerable time and chefs preparing fish in this way have to be extremely highly qualified.
It is not possible of course in a work of this size to cover all forms of fast food from around the world but hopefully it can be seen that fast food is a truly global concept and has been for many years. While fast food will always be around, it is only to be hoped that mankind does find some way to make some forms of it healthier while still retaining its appeal.