Fast Food History
Think about your favorite foods. Maybe you love hamburgers, pizza or tacos. Sure, you can get these foods at home and at restaurants right around the corner, but who originally made them? Where did they come from? Many of the foods we eat were originally created thousands of miles away in other countries.
The first pastas came from Asia, Italy and the Middle East. Pizza originated in Italy over 2,500 years ago. The soldiers of Darius baked flat breads on their shields to carry on their long journeys. In the 16th century A.D., Spanish explorers brought tomatoes from the New World back to Europe. Italian peasants made sauces from these tomatoes and baked them with cheese on flat bread. The first modern pizzas were born.
The history of hamburgers is unclear. Three different entrepreneurs in America claimed to have invented the hamburger in the 19th century out of necessity. They ran out of other types of meat or they had customers who needed fast meals. We may never know who really invented the first hamburger, but we’re grateful all the same.
Tacos probably originated in the late 19th century in Mexico. Silver miners used gunpowder wrapped in paper to blast through rock. They called these little packets “tacos.” Silver miners probably also gave the name “taco” to meat and vegetables wrapped in a tortilla.
Fun Facts About Fast Food for Kids
- Fast food usually refers to restaurant food prepared specifically to take-out and eat elsewhere. This food generally has preheated or precooked chemicals added to it.
- The typical fast food meal in the United States is made up of a hamburger, French fries and a soda.
- The Ancient Roman version of fast food was bread, sausages and wine sold at street side stand.
- The first shop for the typical British fast food of fish and chips opened in 1860.
- The first fast food hamburgers in the United States were sold for 5 cents each.
- One investigation found that the fried chicken of North Korea was the best.
- Fast and cheap are requirements for this type of food. This usually means they highly processed, prepared in huge amounts, easily transported to the restaurant where they are heated up and sold.
- Kebabs are the Middle Eastern version of fast food. They are meat shaved off a rotisserie and served on warmed flat bread.
Fast Food Vocabulary
- Originate: place or time something began
- Flat bread: a bread that doesn’t contain yeast; remains flat, dense and chewy.
- Entrepreneur: creative business person
- Necessity: having a need
Learn More All about Fast Food
Check out this cool video all about fast food for kids:
A video of the top 10 facts about fast food.
Fast Food Q&A
Question: Which fast food restaurants are the most successful?
Answer: Americans spend $240 billion every year on fast food. Subway sandwiches is the top fast food restaurant, followed by McDonalds – one of the oldest fast food joints. McDonalds first opened in the 1940s and has over 31,000 stores worldwide. Pizza Hut, Burger King, KFC and Wendy’s also rank high.
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