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I once took it as a personal affront for anyone to suggest that I chow down at a fast food eatery. I do not necessarily dine at five-star restaurants every night but never would I lower my cultural standing by being seen at a place that serves fat-soaked burgers and French fries deep-fried in pig lard or whatever.
But I think I may be changing my mind.
My U-turn is based on an article by Bruce Watson in a newspaper called the Daily Finance. He reports that America's fast food chains are turning green, a phrase that suggests not that their food is rotting but that they are joining the environmental fight to save the world.
Chipotle, for instance, has turned to solar panels to conserve energy, and companies like Starbucks and McDonald's have altered their packaging to improve their carbon footprints by reducing waste and increasing their recycling rate.
The newspaper article points out that the effort to turn green means the end of petroleum-based Styrofoam containers, plastic lids and cardboard sleeves, adding a little more muscle, and less fat, in the fight to save planet Earth.
One company called Bob's, a Brazilian food corporation, is even wrapping its burgers in edible rice paper, which may be the future of all recyclable packaging: You don't throw it away, you eat it. If they make if flavorful enough, you might just end up eating the paper and tossing the burger.
I can see a dinner of the future where salads consist of edible dirt and dead tree leaves, of which there are plenty, and a one-dish entrée topped by sauces featuring reclaimed bath water.
Being at least semi-green - I never drink martinis out of plastic cups, for example - I am more than pleased at the efforts of the fast food companies to save us. If every large organization followed their lead, we might last through the millennium and not have to migrate like wildebeests to another planet to survive.
My congratulatory stance does not mean, however, that I am about to dine on Big Macs and fries any time soon. But I will smile and give them a double thumbs up as I pass by on my way to a dinner of coq de bruyere at a French bistro called Le Petite, where they may not be green but what they serve is gourmet. That counts too.
Photo credit: slworking2 Flickr photostream
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