Monday, July 19, 2010

Eating with 'The Man'

Our weekend consisted of some driving... to Moncton NB and back for a bachelorette party. Yep, one of my best friends is getting married so some jello shooters were had, rock band was played and some dancin' shoes were donned. Although the club was a bit traumatizing for someone who's been MIA for about four years, and none of us really fit in with the dress code (ahem, my purple skirt in the banner was as short as I was going) it was a blast. Andrew got to visit with friends and I got to break-in my dancing legs.

On our drive home Andrew and I stopped in Truro for a mop sponge replacement (don't want to buy a brand new mop when a new sponge will do just fine) and some food. The worse part of traveling is the unavoidable stops at fast food places.

We rarely eat fast food, which was a huge change for Andrew who was an avid Wendy's fan. After a few years with month-long Wendy's droughts he started to feel nauseous and disgusting during our infrequent 'treats' and announced that his 'most favourite food has been ruined FOREVER'. (cue accusatory look...).

I just can't wrap my head around eating random crappy fake meat, supporting the industry that sells crap food to children (and myself) and is all that is terribly wrong with our perspective on food.

While we sat there, hypocritically eating our 'chicken' strips and two 'burgers' plus salt-rockets and liquid corn we glanced across the street.

On this busy street just off the highway, on our right was a few gas stations, to our left were strip malls, Pizza Delights and Canadian Tires and across the street, nestled between strip malls was an old, white wooden shuttered two storey house. 

Unlike the front 'yard' à la Wendy's which was obviously plopped down from weed to weird non-native willow-type tree via corporate design, this house actually had two huge local trees powerful and green, local flowers and some grass. All of a sudden, the cheap cookie cutter attempt at 'green space' wilted and looked like some sad imitation theme park garden. I could practically hear the designers outline each bush, flower and tree order to exactly the same specifications to assure that all Wendy's across the country looked exactly the same.

All the while this white, slightly weathered and beaten old house stood majestically surrounded by something much more real.

On the front porch sat an old man, white hair, cynical expression, on his old porch rocking chair. Quietly staring at the traffic whizzing by, at the people going in and out of Wendy's. I wondered what he was thinking. Had he been the last one holding out? What did his neighbourhood used to look like, before the strip malls, gas stations and fast food joints? Was this his final 'Eff you Man'.

I felt embarrassed to be caught eating with 'The Man'. 

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. A long time ago, I loved Burger King. Every time I went, I'd get the same thing: two cheeseburgers, fries, and a chocolate shake. Then, in college, I got a job working for Greenpeace (canvassing--a gig at which I suuuuuuucked), and my co-workers told me all about how Burger King used rainforest beef (that's free-range that was created by cutting down rainforests), and, with great pain in my heart, I decided I was going to have to forsake my favorite fast-food joint.

    Maybe a year later, Burger King announced it wouldn't use rainforest beef anymore. Later, I think, that turned out to be bogus, but, at the time, it was enough for me to march back to Burger King, eagerly looking forward to my two cheeseburgers, etc.

    The thing was, when I sat down and took my first bite of the first burger, I found it to be nearly tasteless. The spell had been broken. I no longer needed eco-ethics to keep me from ever eating a fast food burger again...

  2. Wait, don't you live in Canada??? I thought that things were waaaay better up there than down here in the U.S. - you are shattering some of my fondest illusions! (e.g., emigrating to Canada when things get too bad here - a frequently visited fantasy during the Bush II era).

    Seriously though, I find driving through non-affluent small town American sooo depressing these days - the fast food, the Walmarts, the shuttered old down towns, the obesity, the soulless generic landscape - I don't want to go on because I try to avoid being too negative - but it's also true that the U.S. has become so divided by region and, even more so, by class, that most of us really have no clue how the other half lives. So we tend to denounce each other with ugly stereotypes, rather than connect with compassion - but I'm rambling.

    As you can see, your post touched several nerves. Thanks!

  3. sigh. very illuminating post, as always. sometimes it's hard to make the right choices. i consider fast food like Wendy's a "treat", as well, but I enjoy it more than I care to admit. part of it is emotional - it makes me feel like a kid again to dip my fries into my Frosty. I guess I should deal with that huh? : )

  4. Why didn't you go for the pizza? I don't go to fast food burger joints - I am vehemently against factory meat. And I love burgers - but pretty much stick to those we make at home, from local grass-fed beef. But if I am "stuck" on the road (which I must admit is extremely rare), I'll go to a diner and order from the breakfast menu. or go to a pizza place. Dough, cheese and tomato sauce are usually pretty innocuous.

  5. @Dr. Jay: rainforest beef?? seriously? I had no idea there was such a thing.

    @Carol Horton: lol, Canada has a lot of similarities to the USA when it comes to culture-food etc... but we're different. Sitting in that Wendy's and seeing that house brought me back to visiting Florida about ten years ago. really felt "American"... which was weird.

    @Jamie: it's about balance.. but I'll tell ya that the more I read the less I see it as a "treat"... :S

    @Anon: well... Pizza Delight can take over an hour. They are notorious for being SLOW. We needed to eat and leave. Our concession- not goign through the drive through.

  6. Great Post. Love the visual! My new favorite fast food is the closest grocery store and a seat full of fruit and veggies:) I used to love that Burger King Veggie burger, and love that they even make one, but it's never my first choice.

    Come by my site and leave a comment to win some Ultima Replenisher, it's yummy.

  7. Rainforest beef--yeah. I think a lot of people, in talking about "free range," tend to take for granted that "range" is an unlimited resource. If that were true, factory farms wouldn't exist and deserts wouldn't be growing at a frightening pace all over the world...

  8. One bonus of not eating meat is way less temptation to hit burger joints (unless they offer a veg version). I switched to the "filet o' fish" for a while, I used to work literally steps away from McDs and when i forgot my lunch and was starved, I had little choice when I didn't even get breaks (which is actually again employee rights, thats another rant altogether).

    I'm so glad those days are over! I always craved those crappy foods, and I'm glad I "can't" eat them anymore (by personal choice that is!) They just don't taste as good when you take a step back.

    We can only do the best we can do, though!

  9. I Love this post....and the fact that you noticed the man and the house and everything fabulous about it. And at the very least you're questioning the fast food joints while most the rest of North America thinks its that's a good thing. I didn't eat fast food for almost two years, but I will admit....the hub and I hit up Taco Bell sometimes these days for something quick. But I will offer a bit of travel ease.....anytime I'm going on a long trip I pack a tote bag of snacks (crackers, dried fruits & nuts, apples, etc) and sometimes a cooler with sandwich fixings, carrots, chopped veggies, etc. It makes it so you only have to stop at the rest stops to use the bathroom or maybe at a restaurant once a day. I enjoyed your sharing though....and I think we can all understand his cynical stare at what once was into what is now..... Although on another note, maybe he just had gas. ;)

  10. Since I have celiac disease I can't eat at fast food joints. Heck, I can barely eat at any restaurant since people just don't get all the hidden sources of gluten - it's amazing what they will bring me even though I think I have explained it all carefully.

    I would love a pizza from "Pizza Pizza", though. They have a gf one but it's just not the same. On a rare occasion I will get fries from McDonald's or Burger King as, here in Canada, they ARE gf. When you have no options you look at things from a different perspective.

  11. Wow, yes, what must he be thinking? I rarely eat fast food either. After reading Diet for a New America, I can't bring myself to support it!


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