Seldom am I moved to words by that which I read, but...
My view on it is very selfish; McDonalds are the ONLY food service that provides safe food for those with serious allergies. They know what is in their food and they tell you what is in their food. At McDonalds, there are no surprises, there is no guesswork, and there are no mistakes.
When I travel, the ONLY place I can safely eat is McDonalds. Travel without the ubiquitous McDonalds would be almost impossible. No matter what the culture or the language; I know what I am eating. All other restaurants are establishments of terror for me, as I could die instantly by ingestion. My family could sue those other restaurants, but that would be cold comfort for me in the grave.
A good example was a conference I attended years ago in Miami. It was the first conference I had attended in the downtown of a large American city via air travel and so was unprepared for what I would encounter.
The hotel complex had a food court with many fine restaurants, but no McDonalds. My colleagues ate and enjoyed themselves. I made inquiries all day long, with no success in finding safe food. Hungry and far away from home, I found myself forced to leave the hotel complex in search of something to eat, anything to eat.
This search let me into the streets. These were not friendly streets. Several close friends accompanied me on my quest, which otherwise would have been terrifying. I was very hungry so we kept going. I eventually found a McDonalds and ate my fill. I then found a small convenience store and purchased whatever safe foods I could find, chocolate bars, chips, Pop Tarts, and cheese, to take back to my hotel room. Those supplies lasted me the rest of the trip. The presence of a McDonalds at the hotel would have been a blessing in my eyes.
I now stock my suitcases with fruit, cheese and crackers whenever I travel, good for the short term but lengthy trips can be a nightmare. Perhaps I should learn how to make pemmican.
The world of food is becoming more unsafe by the year, as the use of chemicals spreads. In my recent trip to the hospital, I was offered prepackaged food that usually contains the chemicals that will destroy me. My records clearly state my sensitivities and I wear a medic alert necklace. Since I was rather ill, I did not choose to pursue the matter with the nutritionist. Luckily I was conscious and aware enough to monitor what passed my lips and so came to no harm. I am not optimistic about my chances of survival were I unable to watch out for myself.
My allergies are "acquired", with an adult onset. It could happen to anyone and may happen to people more and more as the food industry increases its use of chemicals to enhance their products. How many of us wander through life with Epi Pen in hand, hoping to survive our environment?
My experience leads me to look deeper into the world of food. I ask who grows it, who harvests it, who processes it, who sells it, and what is done to it along the way. It seems to me that the "McDonalds phenomena" is a symptom of much deeper issues. Over the last century humans moved from primarily rural populations providing their own sustenance, to urban populations dependent on world economic forces for their sustenance. As consumers, we are far removed from the machinations that shape the food industry. I am merely grateful that McDonalds exhibits the degree of accountability that it does.
The politics of food can make strange bedfellows. Whatever else McDonalds is, they are a safe haven in my life and one of the only two places I can eat out and enjoy a meal with friends. They are the only international source of safe food on my list.
That Attila cooks is one of the greatest boons of my life. That Attila is a good cook is good fortune beyond my wildest dreams. We are what we eat.
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