expert opinion

frietjes.jpg

  5 min

burger.jpg

how fast food boosted the search for authenticity

How fast food boosted the search for authenticity

Domino’s triggered the pizzaiolos from Naples

Ubel Zuiderveld Xiao Er Kong

One could claim that fast food finds it’s authentic roots in Modern American. Starting with the hamburger at the end of the nineteenth century, US entrepreneurs turned dozens of European, Asian and Mexican core products into quickly serveable bites. Conquering the world with their quick restaurant concepts since 1965, fast food provoked the rediscovery of the original taste all around the world.

In a story about American food authenticity, I wouldn’t dare to overlook the food of the native inhabitants of the America’s. Not being an expert in their diet and cooking techniques, the first thing that pops to mind is corn (maize). Native Americans had roasted corn on their menu, dating back to almost six thousand years ago. As popcorn it conquered the cinemas all around the globe in our modern times. Yes, corn feeds our livestock and sweetens everything that needs, or doesn’t need, to be sweetened. 

Is good old corn authentic enough for you? 

Anyway, I chose to write about fast food, labeling it as recent American authentic food, and the impact it had on renewed ownership claims all around the world. 

Let me serve you some appealing cases.

pizza.jpg

What would have happened with the pizza if it weren’t for American fast food?

friet.jpg
carlo-petrini.jpg

Carlo Pitrini: inspired by McDonald’s.

geel-vlak.svg

One of the core products of quickserving American cuisine are French fries. Can you imagine Ray Kroc, the man who led McDonald’s to greatness, studied them intensively? He even built a lab to find out how he could deep fry fresh potatoes into to perfect rods. It might come as a surprise but first McRestaurants served craft fries. That is, until John Richard Simplot came up with the idea of producing frozen potato rods in large amounts. In the sixties of the past century, French fries became prefab food that even expert Ray Kroc officially approved of. Starting thirty years after that, the revolution of artisanal and thus authentic French frying craftsmanship started. Lots of young entrepreneurs explore the world of handmade fries as meticulously as Kroc did in his days. Although frites almost certainly stem from France, it’s the Belgians that claim they turned the product into a worldwide treat. A member of the Belgian deep frying organization Navefri even sent a letter to the White House, then occupied by George Bush senior, with a demand to change the official name into Belgian fries. Talking about authenticity claims. 

case 1

groen-vlak.svg

In the 1950s American-Italian innovators turned the pizza into a delivery product. They did so by making thicker pizzas to guarantee the best temperature for a long time. Specialized restaurant chains like Pizza Hut, Cassano’s Pizza, Little Ceasars and Shakey’s Pizza were all founded in the glorious days of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. While some researchers report that burnt pizzas from the Roman era were found in Pompeï, the pizza became regular folk food in Naples about two hundred years ago. But at that time it wasn’t the widespread phenomenon it is today. When the thick American pizza hit the market, the city Milan only had six specialized pizza restaurants. Today, although Italians might not admit that themselves, inspired by the global success of the thick crust American pizzas, Milan has several hundreds venues serving pizza. In 1984 the Italians felt the need to officially protect the original recipe and their craftsmanship. Therefore the True Neapolitan Pizza Association (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) was launched. “Its mission is to promote and protect in Italy and worldwide the true Neapolitan pizza,” the associazone states on its website.

case 2

geel-vlak2.svg

The most speaking examples of cherishing their own cuisine after being challenged by authentic American fast food, are without a doubt the Slow Food Movement and Cittaslow. Five years after the Napolitan pizza was protected, political activist and journalist Carlo Petrini established his Slow Food organization. He did so after campaigning against the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant near the historical Spanish Steps in Rome. The main goal of the now global movement: “Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization, founded to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions. It promotes people’s interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us.” As a direct result of the Slow Food Movement, Cittaslow (“slow city”) arose. Cittaslow cities are towns with max 50,000 inhabitants, communities that try their utmost best to preserve the local identity, culture and food. 

case 3

But the return to pureness of the original taste, isn’t the only thing that was triggered because of the growing fast food industry. As a direct result of fastfoodizing a lot of food items were lifted to a higher level. Let’s look at what happened in recent decades. All classics from quick and Modern American cuisine are turned into high-end equivalents by some of the best chefs around the globe. Whether it’s the good old burger, pizza, hot dog, taco’s, sandwiches or French fries; popular fast food items are turned into gastronomic delights on a very large scale. 

You may even argue that all this fine tuning took us further away from the authentic product. But one could also say, those high-end works of tasty art can be considered as a statue for the original thing. And let’s not forget, while experimenting, most chefs do their smelly best to delve themselves into the story behind food and the making of the original dish. 

So the conlusion is

"The modern authentic American kitchen provoked the rediscovery and even protection of the original products it cloned."

If that's not enough for you, ask yourself the following rhetorical question: "would the Italians have put so much effort in protecting their authentic Neapolitan pizza if American entrepreneurs hadn’t turned it into a quickly serveable bite?"

junkfood.jpg
Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.
fries3.png fries3.png (copy) fries4.png fries4.png (copy) fries5.png fries1.png fries1.png (copy) fries2.png
fries4.png
fries2.png
fries4.png
fries1.png
fries3.png
fries4.png
fries2.png
fries1.png
fries4.png
facebook twitter linkedin insta insta (copy)
Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.

  5 min

How fast food boosted the search for authenticity

Domino’s triggered the pizzaiolos from Naples

frietjes.jpg
burger.jpg

Ubel Zuiderveld Xiao Er Kong

One could claim that fast food finds it’s authentic roots in Modern American. Starting with the hamburger at the end of the nineteenth century, US entrepreneurs turned dozens of European, Asian and Mexican core products into quickly serveable bites. Conquering the world with their quick restaurant concepts since 1965, fast food provoked the rediscovery of the original taste all around the world.

In a story about American food authenticity, I wouldn’t dare to overlook the food of the native inhabitants of the America’s. Not being an expert in their diet and cooking techniques, the first thing that pops to mind is corn (maize). Native Americans had roasted corn on their menu, dating back to almost six thousand years ago. As popcorn it conquered the cinemas all around the globe in our modern times. Yes, corn feeds our livestock and sweetens everything that needs, or doesn’t need, to be sweetened. 

Is good old corn authentic enough for you? 

Anyway, I chose to write about fast food, labeling it as recent American authentic food, and the impact it had on renewed ownership claims all around the world. 

Let me serve you some appealing cases.

friet.jpg
pizza.jpg

What would have happened with the pizza if it weren’t for American fast food?

carlo-petrini.jpg

Carlo Pitrini: inspired by McDonald’s.

geel-vlak.svg

One of the core products of quickserving American cuisine are French fries. Can you imagine Ray Kroc, the man who led McDonald’s to greatness, studied them intensively? He even built a lab to find out how he could deep fry fresh potatoes into to perfect rods. It might come as a surprise but first McRestaurants served craft fries. That is, until John Richard Simplot came up with the idea of producing frozen potato rods in large amounts. In the sixties of the past century, French fries became prefab food that even expert Ray Kroc officially approved of. Starting thirty years after that, the revolution of artisanal and thus authentic French frying craftsmanship started. Lots of young entrepreneurs explore the world of handmade fries as meticulously as Kroc did in his days. Although frites almost certainly stem from France, it’s the Belgians that claim they turned the product into a worldwide treat. A member of the Belgian deep frying organization Navefri even sent a letter to the White House, then occupied by George Bush senior, with a demand to change the official name into Belgian fries. Talking about authenticity claims. 

case 1

groen-vlak.svg

In the 1950s American-Italian innovators turned the pizza into a delivery product. They did so by making thicker pizzas to guarantee the best temperature for a long time. Specialized restaurant chains like Pizza Hut, Cassano’s Pizza, Little Ceasars and Shakey’s Pizza were all founded in the glorious days of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. While some researchers report that burnt pizzas from the Roman era were found in Pompeï, the pizza became regular folk food in Naples about two hundred years ago. But at that time it wasn’t the widespread phenomenon it is today. When the thick American pizza hit the market, the city Milan only had six specialized pizza restaurants. Today, although Italians might not admit that themselves, inspired by the global success of the thick crust American pizzas, Milan has several hundreds venues serving pizza. In 1984 the Italians felt the need to officially protect the original recipe and their craftsmanship. Therefore the True Neapolitan Pizza Association (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) was launched. “Its mission is to promote and protect in Italy and worldwide the true Neapolitan pizza,” the associazone states on its website.

case 2

geel-vlak.svg (copy)

The most speaking examples of cherishing their own cuisine after being challenged by authentic American fast food, are without a doubt the Slow Food Movement and Cittaslow. Five years after the Napolitan pizza was protected, political activist and journalist Carlo Petrini established his Slow Food organization. He did so after campaigning against the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant near the historical Spanish Steps in Rome. The main goal of the now global movement: “Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization, founded to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions. It promotes people’s interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us.” As a direct result of the Slow Food Movement, Cittaslow (“slow city”) arose. Cittaslow cities are towns with max 50,000 inhabitants, communities that try their utmost best to preserve the local identity, culture and food. 

case 3

But the return to pureness of the original taste, isn’t the only thing that was triggered because of the growing fast food industry. As a direct result of fastfoodizing a lot of food items were lifted to a higher level. Let’s look at what happened in recent decades. All classics from quick and Modern American cuisine are turned into high-end equivalents by some of the best chefs around the globe. Whether it’s the good old burger, pizza, hot dog, taco’s, sandwiches or French fries; popular fast food items are turned into gastronomic delights on a very large scale. 

You may even argue that all this fine tuning took us further away from the authentic product. But one could also say, those high-end works of tasty art can be considered as a statue for the original thing. And let’s not forget, while experimenting, most chefs do their smelly best to delve themselves into the story behind food and the making of the original dish. 

So the conlusion is

"The modern authentic American kitchen provoked the rediscovery and even protection of the original products it cloned."

If that's not enough for you, ask yourself the following rhetorical question: "would the Italians have put so much effort in protecting their authentic Neapolitan pizza if American entrepreneurs hadn’t turned it into a quickly serveable bite?"

junkfood.jpg
fries4.png
fries2.png
fries4.png
fries1.png
fries3.png
fries4.png
fries1.png
fries3.png

Overview magazines

Food Inspiration Magazine is the online magazine for foodservice professionals in search of inspiration and innovation. With the magazine we collect, enrich and spread inspiration. The free subscription magazine is published eight times per year and is an abundant source of inspiration for food and hospitality professionals. Our readers can be found in the U.S., Northern Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Fullscreen