Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a packaged form for take-out/take-away. The term "fast food" was recognized in a dictionary by Merriam–Webster in 1951.
Outlets may be stands or kiosks, which may provide no shelter or seating, or fast food restaurants.
NOT A MODERN CONCEPT
Street food is ready-to-eat food or drink sold in a street or other public place, such as a market or fair, by a hawker or vendor, often from a portable stall. While some street foods are regional, many are not, having spread beyond their region of origin. Most street foods are also classed as both finger food and fast food, and are cheaper on average than restaurant meals. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 2.5 billion people eat street food every day
In ancient China, where street foods generally catered to the poor, weathly residents would send servants to buy street foods and bring meals back for their masters to eat in their homes.
Professor Stephen Dyson of the University of Buffalo says "We found numerous fast food restaurants in Pompeii and other parts of ancient Rome, " calling these places a cross between "... Burger King and a British pub or a Spanish tapas bar. Most Romans lived in apartments or rather confined spaces, and there is not much evidence for stoves and other cooking equipment in them."
In the mornings, bread soaked in wine was eaten as a quick snack and cooked vegetables and stews later in the day at a popina.
A traveling Florentine reported in the late 1300's that in Cairo, people carried picnic cloths made of raw hide to spread on the streets and eat their meals of lamb kebabs, rice and fritters that they had purchased form street vendors.
Aztec marketplaces had vendors that sold beverages such as atolli, "a gruel made from maize dough", almost 50 types of tamales (with ingredients that ranged from the meat of turkey, rabbit, gopher, frog, and fish to fruits, eggs, and maize flowers), as well as insects and stews.
French fries probably orignated as a street food consisting of fried strips of potato in Paris in the 1840's.
Street foods in Victorian London included tripe, pea soup, pea pods in butter, roasted chestnuts, whelk, prawns and jellied eels.
Nearly from its inception, fast food has been designed to be eaten "on the go", often does not require traditional cutlery, and is eaten as a finger food. Common menu items at fast food outlets include fish and chips, sandwiches, pitas, hamburgers, fried chicken, french fries, chicken nuggets, tacos, pizza, hot dogs, and ice cream, although many fast food restaurants offer "slower" foods like chili, mashed potatoes, and salads.
In this series I will be mostly dealing with modern day 'Fast Food' items, Burgers, Pizza, Fish & Chips, Chicken, Hot Dogs, kebabs and Tacos.