Short Fast Food History

18 Nov

Most of us would consider the official beginning of fast food with the birth of McDonald’s and the franchise model; the reality is that Thomas Jefferson brought the French recipe for “pommes frites” to the U.S. for the first time as early as 1802! However, French fries did not become well known in the U.S. until the 1920s.

Another fast food favorite example would be the hamburger; it’s a traditional Russian food that was brought to Hamburg by German sailors visiting Baltic ports, in the 1600s. These sailors came to the U.S. in the 18th century, settled in Cincinnati, and continued the consumption of this delicacy.

Fast food, as we know it today, is the result of an evolutionary process in our eating habits: with the end of World War II, and the massive entrance of women into the workforce that followed, there was a need for more efficiency in food preparation. As a result, restaurants evolved into diners, cafeterias, and early drive through or drive-in restaurants. The “modern” fast food restaurant became the next step toward more efficient food consumption.

Fast food was partially born because of a need to “eat on the run”, fulfilling a vital need (eating) while at the same time tending to the needs of society (working).


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