In defense of fast food

Tamara Hill Murphy

Joe Davis
July 9, 2012

If I'm understanding correctly, you are saying that fast food, or any food for that matter, should not be criticized as long as the people eating it recognize its sacramental value?

If that is the case, doesn't this ignore the sacramental value of the food's production? Or does food only take on sacramental value when it is consumed? I criticize fast food because it is built upon a production of food that denies its sacramental value. I can only think of one exception and it's not McDonald's; it's Chipotle.

I can appreciate that a McDonald's truck is handing out hamburgers to extremely impoverished and hungry people in Guatemala. Bravo McDonalds. But again, hasn't the cheap food industry that McDonalds epitomizes contributed to their poverty in the first place? Maybe, maybe not, but it's a question that should be asked.

I agree that misuse of food, and not food itself, is the enemy. However, I guess I'm just missing the connection between that and a defense of fast food. To me, fast food epitomizes misuse.

July 9, 2012

I agree with Joe that fast food is a key abuser in the misuse of food category. They produce food in such large quantities only to leave burgers and fries out for hours to be thrown away because they are no longer worthy of our stomachs. We should be so lucky.

Food, geneally speaking is not the enemy. We are the enemy becasue we misuse the food, and choose to eat wrong food or consume far too much of it.

Your article seems to advocate that fast food and other types of food are ok, which is also not true. In certain quantities some food such as butter and salt are ok but if you over do it and then say oh its gift, then you're not being very wise about your consumption.

I applaud McDonald's for its generosity and giving spirit, however it begs the question, is feeding a needy family big macs all the time the best thing for them, I believe there are other options that McDonald's could exercise but given I also believe that God is providing in that way. So I wouldn't say McDonald's is wrong or should stop but that is not making the wisest decision in helping those people.

You're article also seems to talk about how eating together in community is what we should strive for over grabbing a burger at the drive thru which I agree on but I'm missing that connection with the rest of article.

In your original article you left a comment saying that you believe we should spend more time on moderation of all things instead of demonizing companies. In my mind is a justice issue and when any company creates an injustice, such as McDonald's serving food it openly knows is not the healthiest option, although it makes data available, and makes little attempt for its consumers to truly understand what they are eating, then we have a right and obligation to rectify that injustice. McDonald's is not the only culprit.
Should we moderate what we consume, absolutely, its not all the fault of the companies that create the food but until the consumer is educated enough to effect change through its buying power we have a responsibility to bring justice to the situation.

But ultimately, if all I had to eat was McDonald's I would happily thank God for providing for me and would enjoy that food with my friends and family.

Tracy Pousseur
July 10, 2012

Honestly, I think we as costumers carry the responsibility. If you don't like the food McDonald's serves, don't eat it. They won't make it, if no one buys it. I enjoy going there every once in a while with my daughter, specially where they have playlands. I don't really want my child eating her meals there because I think there is a lack of nutritional value in them. But we go for special treats, like ice cream, the yogurt parfait, or apples with caramel dip. On special occasions I buy her the toy to enjoy instead of buying the whole happy meal. Although, there is times (not at McDonald's) but I allow my child to eat a less then healthy meal, just for fun! I feel like teaching my daughter balance in her diet is enough. I would much rather spend time teaching her and placing a higher importance on sharing Christ's love, then how to have a perfect diet. When I look at the word of God I don't see this as a huge issue, therefore I try to not make it one for me and my family. Thanks for sharing with us Tamara!

John Christensen
July 10, 2012

Before I forget to say it, thanks for using the word pleather. After millions of words, it made me smile to see this one for perhaps the first time in "print". For a design professional, the qualitative irony here in the context of the subject is just plain fun. On that note, I applaud your poetic style, having enjoyed all the imagery, humor and heart on display through the remainder of your piece. For me, your quality writing makes your voice for Good louder and more effective.
I agree that fast food is not the enemy. I'm interested in your argument against the misuse of food, especially those moments eating alone in the garden under a shadow of guilt. You seem to identify the problem as, in other words, "partaking in an unworthy manner without regard to all others at the table". I hear you saying that the best way to solve the problem, if there is one with food, is to love others as yourself, even when you're alone at night in front of the fridge. Whether it's taking the nephews to McDonalds or growing organic vegetables on a roof, love is indeed a wonderful thing. -- May we ALL get fat together on Love! ALL at one big table.
But let me digress, the tyrannical judge in me suspects darkly that McDonalds Corp might even make a profit from that little truck. Ouch, I must be a terrible grouch! Anyway, I suppose that on the other hand the Guatemalan truck idea came from somebody with a benevolent heart inside this loveless profit-worshipping system, who searches out creative ways to do good. And that person is probably someone a lot like you and me, more than a little frustrated with a world of injustice and oppression, doing the best they can for everyone around them.
I believe the Gift-Giver is designing His own system that is not oppressive, in preparation for a major takeover of loveless systems. -- And some of His teenage children are probably working at McDonalds in the meantime getting some training for the 5-star customer service that new system will someday provide. Thanks for raising my focus to higher goals than fighting against McDonalds and fast food with this insightful article.

July 12, 2012

When my kids were little fast food was a convenient, affordable place to get together after soccer practice or before Wednesday night church activities. Instead of cooking parents actually had conversations while the kids burned off most of what they ate on the playground. For us it wasn't the food, it was the together. We would just as happily have gathered at Whole Foods if we'd had the money and they'd had the playground.

Tamara Hill Murphy
July 17, 2012

Thank you all for joining this conversation around my raggedy words, perhaps the most raggedy found in the title of the article. I used the word "defense" in the title quite loosely as I in no way see myself a defender of fast food as an industry or a food source. I merely wanted to provoke some thought about the extremes we tend toward when it comes to our opinions about food and to encourage us to thoughtfully avoid either extreme (self-serving gluttons or self-righteous legalists). Both extremes keep us from receiving the true giftness of food which I believe is discovered in shared moderation. When we get stuck living in the extremes -- becoming too easily scandalized by other people's food choices -- on either end of the spectrum we separate ourselves from enjoying meals together (whether, for example, it be in a Guatemalan dump over a cheeseburger or with a tasty bowl of lentils at a vegan cafe)>

Grace and peace of Christ to us all,

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