This story is over 5 years old.


Welcome to MUNCHIES Fast Food Week

You're gonna need extra napkins.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

It doesn't matter if you consider yourself a value meal evangelist or avoid the drive-thru window altogether: Anyone with a stomach knows that fast food dominates our global palate in every crevice of the Earth.

Sure, the notion of food prepared quickly to be eaten quickly isn't a new one in the course of human history, but what we now refer to as "fast food"—pizza, burgers, fries, and other gut-busting fare—has only existed for about a century. In that time, the fast food industry has swelled into a colossal, far-reaching force; in the US alone, it's a $199 billion industry, and in recent decades, the largest chains have invaded every corner of the world. Fast food has impacted our local cultures, our memories; it has become a public health nightmare while also being a source of regional pride.

With that in mind, MUNCHIES is dedicating one week to fast food in all of its forms:
There will be personal essays that examine the nostalgic role that it plays in our minds, such as chef Kelly Field's theory on why Popeyes tastes better in New Orleans. There's some hate mail for ketchup and a love letter to remoulade. We'll unearth some urban legends and explore bizarre moments in history that have happened at your favorite chains. We've got how-to videos and recipes from experts like Shake Shack's Culinary Director, Mark Rosati, on how to create homemade French fries. We'll also explore the negative impact that fast food has had on society, such as in Egypt, where the country's access to fast food has made Egyptians heavier than ever.

So pull up a chair and grab some extra napkins for good measure. There will be fries with that.