Fast Food is The Apex of Gastronomy
The first part of this equation is taste. Let us begin with the premise that there are some foods that taste better gourmet. Cacio e pepe pasta, creamy spinach stuffed salmon. Two dishes that I probably wouldn’t trust from a fast food joint. On the other hand, there are some dishes that generally taste better from more hole-in-the-wall or fast food type spots. Pizza in NYC, street tacos in Los Angeles and so forth.
The food that most fast food restaurants make (burgers, fries, pizza, fried chicken etc.) are more conducive to fast food or hole in the wall restaurants. It doesn’t matter how fresh your ingredients are and how good your wild truffle sauce is, your gourmet burger is just never going to taste as good as the burger from In N Out or McDonald’s. When someone wins the Superbowl and is asked what they are going to do next, do you know why they always say “grab a burger from McDonald’s?”. Probably because they are paid millions of dollars by McDonalds. But I bet that is actually what they are about to do anyway.
Let’s briefly discuss health so I can quickly put that counterargument to bed. “But McDonald’s uses all sorts of chemicals in their food”. Yes, exactly, they do. That's why it tastes so good. Because some group of scientists- scientists who probably get paid more than the scientists who are doing NASA or healthcare research- have chemically concocted the best mathematical formula for chicken nuggets. We are talking billions of dollars in R&D. Fresh ingredients just don't compete.
Then there’s the innovation. When we speak of ‘culinary innovation’ in high dining, it looks like a two Michelin star chef making the unheard of, bold decision to add a dash of cayenne to the Ratatouille- minuscule decisions that have no practical impact outside of the overpriced, snobby restaurant that particular chef works in. This, compared to the momentous, cultural strides that come from the innovation of fast food restaurants. Things like putting cheese IN the crust. Bacon ON the burger. Things that have ripple effects into thousands of other restaurants, both fast food and otherwise. And when you look at the most iconic, truly innovative dishes that have stood the test of time- yes, I am referring to the Doritos Locos Taco- it's always fast food that's responsible.
Fast food tastes better than gourmet food. It’s a sad, sad reality, but a reality nonetheless.
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*For each moot, we generate a cover image using DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'Fast Food is The Apex of Gastronomy' in the style of Salvador Dalí, Bobby's artist of choice.*