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Deliciously Divine Downfall

With a shortage of money and time, fast food is popular with people my age. Now that I can drive and am a senior, I find myself spending less and less time at home. When I'm not home for the family meals, I find it tempting to stop by the local McDonald's. Going to McDonald's was always a treat growing up. I loved getting the kids' meals with the little toy (that always ended up in the trash once I got home) and running around in the playground area. I think McDonald's was every kid's favorite hangout...besides Chuck E. Cheese, of course.

In the past five years, about the only thing I've eaten at McDonald's has been their yogurt parfaits. After seeing Supersize Me and reading articles about the amount of saturated fat piled into fast food, I have avoided these places as much as possible. My friends often laugh at my health consciousness, and I often get, "Why do you care?" The truth is, I don't enjoy eating fast food because I feel better and have more energy when I eat healthier.

I enjoy fast food, just not the traditional burger fried in grease. I like Subway sandwiches, Panera's soup bowls, and other more healthy options. The extra dollar or two is worth the difference of fat between a Big Mac and a Subway sandwich. -- Bryanna Schwartz, Westview H.S.

I try hard to stay away from the bad fast food, not fast food altogether. I try to eat healthily during the week -- lots of water and fruit when it's available -- but, come the weekend or a busy school night spent running errands, I will indulge in some sort of fast food. My preference for fast food is In-N-Out. It's funny how In-N-Out is loved by all types of people. Go into the In-N-Out by the Sports Arena around 7 p.m. and you'll see it full of scenesters, hardcore kids, and all other sorts of hip teenagers grabbing a quick bite before a show at the nearby Soma. Check out the In-N-Out off Balboa near the 163 from noon to 3 p.m., and it's full of students out of school, portly businessmen, cops, EMTs, and firemen. The Pacific Beach In-N-Out always seems to have young kids in it, no matter what time of day. The Mission Valley In-N-Out is usually full with customers from nearby malls and young and hip, slick-suited professionals not quite ready to move on to "grown up" food.

Everyone treats themselves to fast food once in a while, despite all the hullabaloo about trans fats and cholesterol. Just like everything else in life, occasionally a hamburger and fries are fine.

If I'm feeling a little more exotic, but still equally cheap, I'll eat at El Cotixan, a Clairemont favorite. Countless students risk detention and leave campus to make a quick run to El Cotixan. If I feel like gorging myself, I will stop by El Co (the taco shop's nickname) and pick up some carne asada fries: french fries topped with carne asada, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, and pico de gallo...surely, the deliciously divine downfall of mankind. -- Laurel Popplewell, Madison H.S.

It amazes me how much of a part fast food is to some people's diets. I have never been much of a fast-food person; 850 calories and 50 grams of fat in one hamburger doesn't sound appealing to me. I guess that's part of the reason why I don't eat a lot of fast food -- a nagging conscience that won't allow me to clog my arteries. Many Americans don't completely understand what fast food can do to one's health and physique; they haven't been exposed to the full truth or have been brought up in a house where fast food was served two meals a day. That's not to say that I don't eat any fast food because that is far from the truth. I mean, I'm busy and I have a 16-year-old's wallet, so the positive aspects of a quick drive-through run are too much to resist sometimes.

However, when I do succumb to a quick meal, you can bet that it won't be at Burger King, Taco Bell, or good ol' Mickey D's. The greased-up burgers overflowing with mayonnaise make me nauseous just thinking about them.

If I want some Mexican food (which I want pretty often), Taco Bell is dead last on my list. Instead, I'll usually order a chicken salad or something similar at a Wendy's or a Jack in the Box or maybe some real Mexican food (or at least more real than Taco Bell). Or, I'll go for the king of them all and head to In-N-Out for a nice double-double, protein style, with some fries. Nothing compares to their ingeniously simple menu. -- Kevin Morton, El Capitan H.S.

For most of my life, I had an attitude about fast-food workers that was similar to the rest of society's: innocent, slightly stupid, and with fairly boring lives. My attitude changed after I went to work at Jack in the Box last September. At work, I got splattered by hot oil, shake mix, and strawberry syrup, and everything beeped. It was some of the most difficult work I've ever done in my life. It took an enormous amount of stamina to get through an eight-hour day. But that's not the point.

I didn't expect to make friends. For the first couple of weeks, I remained quiet and practiced a bit of Spanish with my coworkers. After I got the hang of things, I started talking a bit more. I am so glad that I did.

Most people don't see Miguel, but he cooks their chicken strips. He's in his mid-70s, but he still dances around to Shakira while he's mopping. Sometimes he'll bring in a bag full of pastries and hide them in the back, where they're eaten during slow periods. When the store is empty, Miguel sings; it's usually the first couple bars of the same song, an Andrea Bocelli--esque Catholic hymn. I also met a neurotic chain-smoker, a pregnant woman who worked six or more hours a day; a rap-loving, chubby 31-year-old who proclaimed his amor for me on a daily basis; an obnoxious shift leader who would bust out into rousing renditions of "Sexy Back."

The people I met were flawed and real. They were different, smart, and trying to make it. Although I no longer work there, I miss my fast-food job at times. I'm sorry that it had to take ten years for me to realize the humanity of fast-food workers, but I now have the lifelong friends and oil stains to prove it. -- Amanda Cormier, Westview H.S.

My favorite fast-food restaurant is In-N-Out, and I have been an In-N-Out snob for some time. My family has always eaten little fast food, but when we did it was pretty much only In-N-Out. These days my love of quality burgers has not lessened, so I still frequent In-N-Out. My favorite meal is a double-double with grilled onions, and it has yet to disappoint. My burger is always fresh and -- most shocking -- what you get looks like the pictures they use in advertisements.

Aside from In-N-Out, my fast-food consumption is minimal. No other burger joint comes close, so the only other fast food I eat is California burritos from Señor Koteehas, a Mexican restaurant near my house. Their burritos are another one of those things I can never seem to get enough of; they are massive, cheap, and satisfying. (For those who do not know the delicacy that is a California burrito, it is a carne asada burrito with french fries inside.)

As far as not-so-satisfying fast food goes, McDonald's has never done anything for me. Come to think of it, McDonald's does do something for me -- it paints a vivid image in my mind of what the food in prison must be like. I don't know about you, but if I'm clogging my arteries, it had better taste amazing. I cannot think of any reason to eat at Mickey D's. -- Grant Barba, La Jolla H.S.

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With a shortage of money and time, fast food is popular with people my age. Now that I can drive and am a senior, I find myself spending less and less time at home. When I'm not home for the family meals, I find it tempting to stop by the local McDonald's. Going to McDonald's was always a treat growing up. I loved getting the kids' meals with the little toy (that always ended up in the trash once I got home) and running around in the playground area. I think McDonald's was every kid's favorite hangout...besides Chuck E. Cheese, of course.

In the past five years, about the only thing I've eaten at McDonald's has been their yogurt parfaits. After seeing Supersize Me and reading articles about the amount of saturated fat piled into fast food, I have avoided these places as much as possible. My friends often laugh at my health consciousness, and I often get, "Why do you care?" The truth is, I don't enjoy eating fast food because I feel better and have more energy when I eat healthier.

I enjoy fast food, just not the traditional burger fried in grease. I like Subway sandwiches, Panera's soup bowls, and other more healthy options. The extra dollar or two is worth the difference of fat between a Big Mac and a Subway sandwich. -- Bryanna Schwartz, Westview H.S.

I try hard to stay away from the bad fast food, not fast food altogether. I try to eat healthily during the week -- lots of water and fruit when it's available -- but, come the weekend or a busy school night spent running errands, I will indulge in some sort of fast food. My preference for fast food is In-N-Out. It's funny how In-N-Out is loved by all types of people. Go into the In-N-Out by the Sports Arena around 7 p.m. and you'll see it full of scenesters, hardcore kids, and all other sorts of hip teenagers grabbing a quick bite before a show at the nearby Soma. Check out the In-N-Out off Balboa near the 163 from noon to 3 p.m., and it's full of students out of school, portly businessmen, cops, EMTs, and firemen. The Pacific Beach In-N-Out always seems to have young kids in it, no matter what time of day. The Mission Valley In-N-Out is usually full with customers from nearby malls and young and hip, slick-suited professionals not quite ready to move on to "grown up" food.

Everyone treats themselves to fast food once in a while, despite all the hullabaloo about trans fats and cholesterol. Just like everything else in life, occasionally a hamburger and fries are fine.

If I'm feeling a little more exotic, but still equally cheap, I'll eat at El Cotixan, a Clairemont favorite. Countless students risk detention and leave campus to make a quick run to El Cotixan. If I feel like gorging myself, I will stop by El Co (the taco shop's nickname) and pick up some carne asada fries: french fries topped with carne asada, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, and pico de gallo...surely, the deliciously divine downfall of mankind. -- Laurel Popplewell, Madison H.S.

It amazes me how much of a part fast food is to some people's diets. I have never been much of a fast-food person; 850 calories and 50 grams of fat in one hamburger doesn't sound appealing to me. I guess that's part of the reason why I don't eat a lot of fast food -- a nagging conscience that won't allow me to clog my arteries. Many Americans don't completely understand what fast food can do to one's health and physique; they haven't been exposed to the full truth or have been brought up in a house where fast food was served two meals a day. That's not to say that I don't eat any fast food because that is far from the truth. I mean, I'm busy and I have a 16-year-old's wallet, so the positive aspects of a quick drive-through run are too much to resist sometimes.

However, when I do succumb to a quick meal, you can bet that it won't be at Burger King, Taco Bell, or good ol' Mickey D's. The greased-up burgers overflowing with mayonnaise make me nauseous just thinking about them.

If I want some Mexican food (which I want pretty often), Taco Bell is dead last on my list. Instead, I'll usually order a chicken salad or something similar at a Wendy's or a Jack in the Box or maybe some real Mexican food (or at least more real than Taco Bell). Or, I'll go for the king of them all and head to In-N-Out for a nice double-double, protein style, with some fries. Nothing compares to their ingeniously simple menu. -- Kevin Morton, El Capitan H.S.

For most of my life, I had an attitude about fast-food workers that was similar to the rest of society's: innocent, slightly stupid, and with fairly boring lives. My attitude changed after I went to work at Jack in the Box last September. At work, I got splattered by hot oil, shake mix, and strawberry syrup, and everything beeped. It was some of the most difficult work I've ever done in my life. It took an enormous amount of stamina to get through an eight-hour day. But that's not the point.

I didn't expect to make friends. For the first couple of weeks, I remained quiet and practiced a bit of Spanish with my coworkers. After I got the hang of things, I started talking a bit more. I am so glad that I did.

Most people don't see Miguel, but he cooks their chicken strips. He's in his mid-70s, but he still dances around to Shakira while he's mopping. Sometimes he'll bring in a bag full of pastries and hide them in the back, where they're eaten during slow periods. When the store is empty, Miguel sings; it's usually the first couple bars of the same song, an Andrea Bocelli--esque Catholic hymn. I also met a neurotic chain-smoker, a pregnant woman who worked six or more hours a day; a rap-loving, chubby 31-year-old who proclaimed his amor for me on a daily basis; an obnoxious shift leader who would bust out into rousing renditions of "Sexy Back."

The people I met were flawed and real. They were different, smart, and trying to make it. Although I no longer work there, I miss my fast-food job at times. I'm sorry that it had to take ten years for me to realize the humanity of fast-food workers, but I now have the lifelong friends and oil stains to prove it. -- Amanda Cormier, Westview H.S.

My favorite fast-food restaurant is In-N-Out, and I have been an In-N-Out snob for some time. My family has always eaten little fast food, but when we did it was pretty much only In-N-Out. These days my love of quality burgers has not lessened, so I still frequent In-N-Out. My favorite meal is a double-double with grilled onions, and it has yet to disappoint. My burger is always fresh and -- most shocking -- what you get looks like the pictures they use in advertisements.

Aside from In-N-Out, my fast-food consumption is minimal. No other burger joint comes close, so the only other fast food I eat is California burritos from Señor Koteehas, a Mexican restaurant near my house. Their burritos are another one of those things I can never seem to get enough of; they are massive, cheap, and satisfying. (For those who do not know the delicacy that is a California burrito, it is a carne asada burrito with french fries inside.)

As far as not-so-satisfying fast food goes, McDonald's has never done anything for me. Come to think of it, McDonald's does do something for me -- it paints a vivid image in my mind of what the food in prison must be like. I don't know about you, but if I'm clogging my arteries, it had better taste amazing. I cannot think of any reason to eat at Mickey D's. -- Grant Barba, La Jolla H.S.

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1

I agree with all the above mentioned posts. In-and-Out rocks Mickey D's sucks although when I was in high school the big-mac and whopper reigned supreme but then of course there weren't very many other healthy alternatives in those days and people definitely weren't as health conscious as they are today. Take it from me (I was diagnosed with GERD in my mid-twenties) less grease = less grief and your health will benefit!

Jan. 3, 2008

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