Cooking

What is the history of fast food?

Parisian bistro, according to legend, began in 1814-1815, when Russian officers demanded to prepare their food as quickly as possible. From their demands to the waiters “fast, fast!” and the word “bistro” appeared in the French language, that is – a cafe where you can eat quickly. But this is far from the oldest fast food dish.

Memorial plaque at the À la Mère Catherine restaurant, Paris
Memorial plaque at the À la Mère Catherine restaurant, Paris
Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

In 1987, Germany celebrated the 500th anniversary of the invention bratwurst – sausages, which were baked right on the street in boiling oil and sold to passers-by. If so, then German fast food is even older than America, because Columbus made his discovery only in 1492.

Currywurst, fast food in German
Currywurst, fast food in German
Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

And here carrivurstthat has become so famous in Germany in modern times was invented in the British sector of the occupation of Berlin. Greta Hoyver invented this dish. Its peculiarity was the use of curry, Worcester sauce and ketchup, which at that time was gaining popularity in Germany thanks to the American soldiers of the occupation forces. Wurst, with such an exotic seasoning, was a tremendous success among the West Germans. In 2009, the Currywurst Museum was opened in Berlin to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the invention of this delicious dish.

Pizza Margarita, named after the Queen of Naples
Pizza Margarita, named after the Queen of Naples
Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

Pizza – this is the oldest fast food dish. After all, even the ancient Romans ate cakes with cheese.

The very word “pizza” appeared in the 16th century, and the first pizzeria “Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba” was opened in Naples in 1830. Italian expatriates spread the pizza culture across Europe and across the ocean, transforming what was once a meal for the poor into a great and mouth-watering form of instant food. In Sicily, pizza is still eaten, which is not at all similar to the Neapolitan one.

Dozens of different types of pizza are made and eaten in the United States, there are both Greek and New York pizzas. California pizza is not very similar to Chicago pizza or New Haven pizza. Hawaiian pizza is popular in Europe, Canada – but not in Hawaii, Canadian pizza … And this pizza turned out when the Mexicans started making it.

Hamburger Big Mac
Hamburger Big Mac
Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

But the most famous fast food appeared in the United States in the 20th century. The backbone of traditional American fast food is hamburgers.

White Castle opened the first hamburger restaurant in Kansas in 1921. Gradually, the chain of the company’s restaurants expanded, the Americans got used to hamburgers, this food was hearty, tasty, and prepared very quickly. Unfortunately for White Castle, brothers Dick and Mac McDonald took up the idea in 1940, opening their first restaurant in San Bernardino, California.

McDonald's Restaurant
McDonald’s Restaurant
Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

The new catering technique was a huge success. Since the 1950s, the McDonald’s triumphant march began, first in the United States, and then around the world. Today there are almost 40,000 McDonald’s restaurants operating on the planet.

Southeast Asia has its own local fast food, although McDonald’s and KFC are also very common there.

In thailand are eating under Thai, rice noodles with tofu, egg, shrimp. In Malaysia are eating our lemak, rice with egg and spicy sambal sauce (it’s so spicy that it just burns). In vietnam are eating sup Fo (reminiscent of chicken soup with noodles, meat and herbs). In the north of Africa in Marrakech, eating on the street lentil, lamb and couscous soup. In Mexico eating in the streets tacos and burritos (spring rolls).

Vladimir Kirillov,
Vladimir Kirillov, “At the Bazaar”, 2010
Photo: vkirillov.com

In general, demand creates supply. The need for tens of millions of city dwellers to grab a quick, inexpensive, and tasty snack during their lunch break created a huge, global fast food restaurant system in the 20th century. They are very different, but they all serve one thing – to feed people quickly and not too expensive.

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