Fast food, no matter what form it takes, should always be considered a guilty pleasure - something cheap and quick for when we're on the go and don't have time to sit down and take more care. It might be satisfying and sugary, might be dipped in cheese and served with extra fries, but fast food is never a substitute for a decent and nutritious meal, and a home-cooked one made with fresh ingredients is even better.
A lot of us, when we reach one of our common periods of dietary self-loathing, might actually be masochistic enough to wonder what goes on on the other side of the counter. What really goes into our quarter-pounder topped with bacon, and just how sanitary is a Taco Bell burrito? Well, a few brave whistleblowers from inside the biggest fast food chains have spilled the beans (literally in some cases) on some of the gross practices the public don't know about, and what foods you should stay away from when perusing the menu. Take a look for yourself below.
1. Taco Bell steak and beans
“I worked at Taco Bell a little bit ago and I warn everyone to stay away from both the beans, and the steak. The beans start out looking like cat food, and the directions are, 'Add water and stir until you can't see white anymore.' The steak was just the worst on dish duty. If it would sit too long it would become like hair gel. It was the worst."
2. Movie theatre popcorn
"I worked at a theatre, don't get popcorn for the first showing- that's all just last night's popcorn put into giant garbage bags and then reheated in the warmers in the morning."
3. McDonald's Chicken Nuggets
"I used to work at McDonalds. If you order, especially chicken nuggets, just ask for them fresh. Otherwise they've been just sitting in their container in the heat. They have a timer, but 9/10 times when that timer goes off, people just reset the timer instead of making new ones. This could go on until all the nuggets are sold."
4. Baseball stadium hot-dogs
"I used to work in a baseball park concession stand. Do Not. Buy. The Hot Dogs. They made it out of the package okay, and might even have been edible after we finished grilling them – and then they went into the water. We kept three pans of water at the back of the grill that held the hot dogs. Any hot dogs left at the end of the day went back into the fridge, and came out again the next day."
5. Any Dunkin' doughnuts
"Currently employed at Dunkin' doughnuts and it's sad but true - all the doughnuts and baked goods there come to us frozen."
I'm going to be honest, I think that if you're dumb enough to buy a hot dog from a stadium then you deserve all you get: smallpox, e-coli, tapeworm, whatever. You brought it on yourself. Check out page two for even more fast food leaks from the inside.
6. KFC barbecue sandwich
“Worked at KFC for ~4 years. The BBQ sandwich is actually made from chicken too old and stale to give to the homeless shelters, so they soak it in BBQ sauce until it can be pulled and then they keep it on the heater for a month. I still order it through."
"I used to work at Wendy's. The meat used in the chilli, yeah that comes from the meat on the grill top that expires and dries up that's put in to a warming drawer until you have enough for a batch of chilli, which we first freeze and then thaw the next day. Also if the chilli sitting in the warmer doesn't sell fast enough we just added hot water to it to mix it up."
8. Gas station Slurpees
“Gas station slurpees. The amount of mold(sic) in those machines would crush your childhood to a pulp."
9. Sonic philly cheese steak
"The Philly steak meat was never ordered fast enough, so it would often go bad and not get thrown away until easily a month after expiration. Usually when it started to noticeably smell bad."
10. Chicken from Subway
"At our Subway, The 'oven roasted' chicken was actually boiled in a microwave. It's already cooked and we still have problems with it."
So there you have it - stay away from those items and you'll be totally fine. Treat yourself every once in a while, but don't make a habit out of depending on these outlets for sustenance. The best thing to do is learn how to make it all yourself from scratch using materials you can trust. I know which I'd prefer. For instance, here's a video showing how to make delicious beer can burgers.
Wasn't that simple? As long as you can make your own then there's no need to rely on fast food for tasty meals. Furthermore, by cooking at home you can keep a lid on your cholesterol while you're at it.