McDonald’s is cutting down on the french fries and adding a few apple slices to its Happy Meals for children. There’s something wrong when a “happy meal” refers to the food you’re eating and not the people you’re eating it with. I’ve had many happy meals in my life, but I don’t think any of them occurred while I was strapped into a seat belt.
But what is fascinating about this development is that it claws at the soft underbelly of the fast-food myth. Think about it: What could be a faster food than a whole apple? You don’t have to cook it, peel it or (and this may come as a surprise to McDonald’s) even slice it. You can just pick it up and eat it. And if you want, you can buy more than one apple at a time, which means you don’t have to drive to a fast-food restaurant every time you’re hungry for an apple. It turns out there are lots of foods like that – cherries, peaches, grapes, nectarines – that come ready to eat. What could be faster? Some fruits you have to peel, like bananas and oranges, but I’m told it is an amazingly simple and fast thing to do. Most of us can peel a banana in the same time it would take to unwrap a burger and we don’t need to pay anyone to do it.