Food by VICE

Everything Fast Food Taught Us in 2017

Politics, military technology, and social media are all deeply intertwined with burgers and fries.

by Munchies Staff
Dec 18 2017, 3:00pm

There is a lot to learn from fast food. You could dismiss it for being cheap, mass-produced feed without any real nutritional value, which, of course, it is. But it’s also so much more than that. The sheer ubiquity of industrialized burgers and fries means that fast food affects many facets of our everyday lives, from politics to technology to fine dining, and let’s not forget that it can also taste pretty damn good when properly executed.

Here at MUNCHIES, we happen to feel a type of way about fast food, and we even dedicated an entire week to its many facets earlier this year. Looking back at 2017, we felt it appropriate to shine a light on some of the fast food stories we’ve covered over the last year to remind us how fast food, like it or not, affects us all.

Photo of Donald Trump by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images. Big Mac photo via Wikimedia Commons .

READ: Trump ‘Never Ate the Bread’ During Fast Food Binges, Says Former Campaign Manager

We recently learned that Donald Trump could crush a lot of burgers while he was campaigning in 2016. According to his former campaign manager, the consumer-in-chief could take down on impressive four McDonald’s burgers on his campaign plane. But, wait there’s a twist! Apparently, Trump would eat his burgers without bread, which either absolves it or makes one question his judgement.

READ: How US Army Technology Gave Rise to the McRib

In this exploration of the military-industrial fast food complex, we took a deep dive into the world of “restructured meats” like chicken nuggets and boneless pork rib sandwiches. Turns out that there’s a straight line between the combat meals that US Army troops ate on duty decades ago and some of your favorite fast foods.

READ: Why So Many Fights Break Out in Fast Food Restaurants

Ever wondered why there’s so many videos of fights in fast food restaurants on YouTube? If you’ve watched as many of those videos as our staff writer Nick Rose has, the answer is definitely yes. Nick spoke to security experts about fast food violence and what makes certain franchises more likely than others to experience late-night craziness.

Photo via Flickr user Divya Thakur

READ: In-N-Out Burger Named One of the Best Places to Work in the US

There was also some good news this year in the world of fast food, with In-N-Out Burger being named the fourth-best company to work for in America, because of its numerous benefits and generally good vibes, which make it a role model for other fast food chains.

READ: This Chicken Shop Is London

Can a fast food outlet really symbolize an entire city as multicultural as London? In this in-depth look at London’s over-the-counter chicken shops, we spoke to locals about what makes their local chicken shop a pillar of the community and a place where fast food brings people together, something we haven't seen a whole lot of in 2017.

READ: I Tried a ‘Rick and Morty’ Burger and It Was Actually Pretty Good

As the Rick and Morty McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce craze hit a fever pitch stateside, one UK restaurant group created its own little cartoon craze with a burger dedicated to the show. This story reminds us that it’s not just huge multinational fast food chains that can make a quick buck off of a pop culture-themed burger. Turns out the Blue Kitchen’s Rick and Morty burger made with an in-house szechuan sauce was pretty delicious too.

Photo via Flickr user Mike Mozart.

READ: Wendy's Savagely Defeats Internet Troll, Then Accidentally Posts Alt-Right Meme

Wendy’s does not shy away from a good Twitter beef. After a triumphant tweet calling out a hater who favored McDonald’s and accused Wendy’s of using frozen meat, Wendy’s ended up having to back down and apologize for posting a picture of Pepe the Frog. Even massive fast food chains are not immune from the occasional Twitter gaffe.

READ: How the Big Mac Changed the Way We Think About Food

Finally, we come to the mac daddy of them all: the Big Mac. After five decades of icon status, the Big Mac continues to be an inspiration for chefs around the world, a way for economists to break down complex economic concepts for the layperson, and a cultural artifact that embodies the more indulgent side of the American diet. Before bashing the Big Mac, take a look at what the chefs here have to say about it; they see it as a culinary achievement.