*Originally published here under the title “Writing about fast food never gets old.”*
“I ate twenty chicken nuggets and now I don’t feel so good,” I texted my boyfriend.
“Oh my God,” he replied in a well-that’s-what-you-get-for-eating-twenty-chicken-nuggets kind of tone.
A few weeks earlier, we had gone to McDonald’s—conveniently located in front of work—during our lunch break. Before listing what he had, it’s important to note that he is a runner and is the type of person who cannot end his day without a five-mile run. Sometimes, I think his waist is actually smaller than mine, but that’s off topic. So, he had ordered a Big Mac, a cheeseburger, large fries, a side of chicken nuggets, and a large soda. I ordered a cheeseburger, medium fries, and medium soda. I laughed at him and thought, there’s no way he’s going to eat all of that. He did. When we walked back to work, he complained that he didn’t feel well. I laughed at him again. Then he started coughing and said he needed to throw up. As he made the walk of shame to the restroom, I gave him the well-everyone-knows-that’s-what-happens-when-you-eat-all-that-shitty-food look.
I think most of us are fully aware by now that fast food is the devil, but we just don’t care. But, why do we do this to ourselves? Even after all his research, Michael Pollan, the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, still enjoyed his meal at McDonald’s with his family. He says that “part of the appeal of hamburgers and nuggets is that their boneless abstractions allow us to forget we’re eating animals” (114). I certainly wasn’t thinking about those poor chickens in my chicken nuggets—although as Pollan also points out, chicken is only one of the thirty eight ingredients it takes to make a McNugget.
I haven’t eaten McDonald’s in over seven months, partly because I know better, but mostly because I got a new job.