I got a hankering for a milkshake last night so I had one at the fast food restaurant – my son had refused to eat what was offered earlier for dinner so we all went past the restaurant so he could have something after the concert. I hadn’t had one for a long time and it sounded good to me.
The milkshake looked great, it arrived very fast, as fast food often does and it was topped with a shiny red maraschino cherry. It came in a plastic cup with a plastic straw with some type of topping that resembled whip cream on top.
The Dinning Experience
My son was disappointed that the paper covering on the plastic straw did not discharge properly, apparently it is customary to blow through the straw and shot the paper covering into the back of someone’s head.
I immediately gave away the cherry having been warned way too much in my youth about the effects of artificial coloring – in particular red coloring. As we bounced along in the car I sipped cautiously on the semi-frozen product. It was about 50 times sweeter than I remembered, however, I’m about 50 times older so maybe my tastes have changed.
Even the texture was not as I had remembered, it seemed more like thinned chilled cake frosting, you know the kind made from non-naturally formed and colored materials, unusually thickened oils, and a paragraph of other ingredients.
Analysis – Dietary
All the time I was eating it I was thinking about all the things I’ve read about bovine growth hormone, plastic chemical health issues, endocrine disorders and so on… Even though nothing was said there was a feeling of why on earth would someone with blood sugar issues be putting something like that in their body? Yes, simple carbohydrates lead to diabetes, they didn’t used to call it sugar diabetes for years for nothing. In my minds eye I’m seeing pictures of amputations and remembering friends who died young from complications of the disease and others who currently suffer from it.
But I really wanted a milkshake – like the ones I had as a kid, it is a kind of a comfort food to me and in defense of whatever it was I was served, I haven’t really spent the time and effort to see what all the ingredients were and how they were produced.
They used to take real ice cream, you know the type thats made from cream, milk, real vanilla and sugar and put it in a metal blender cup and whip it up with some milk or soda and then serve it to you in a glass cup. I remember the sound of the shakes being made, the taste and the texture. It is hard to find anything like that now and if you do, you need to pay much more for it and you have to wait a lot longer for it.
Analysis – Added Factors
I’m wondering what the factors could be that would cause the milkshake experience to turn out this way, possible reasons:
- Milk and cream are expensive to produce
- Labor costs
- High quality is not valued over low pricing
- It is difficult to make healthy food choices – many people would rather consume something that looks good and tastes good, over something that is good for your health and because of differences between people a healthy diet is hard to define.
- Plastic disposable cups are less expensive than hiring a dish washing crew.
- Fast and convenient are valued highly.
The After Effects
I’ve heard it said that a Saint can turn poison into food but it is better not spend your effort in this way. Well the combination of thinking all these thoughts while slamming down my milkshake in the late night traffic caused me a real gut ache afterward. Usually I don’t connect the dots real well between cause and effect and I’m still not sure what really triggered things.
In any case the nights events had caused me much pain in the mid section. I could not comfortably sit in the same position for long and while standing felt a bit better, laying down and relaxing was about all that felt alright.
I tossed the entire plastic cup, lid and straw in the trash. Most of the components were not recyclable and the one that was did not seem to be worth the effort and water to clean all the stickiness off of. I’m thinking of pictures of deformed turtles stuck in plastic rings and feeling badly as I do this. 🙁
I’m planning to get some nice organic ice cream with real ingredients and put it in my organic milk and mix it up in glass with a tablespoon. My yards got five types of berries and fruit, maybe I’ll put some of those in the mix if the birds and other critters don’t get them first. However, if I can find good milkshakes I will certainly still try them. 🙂
A lot of little things can add up to make a difference and if we all work on things together we can certainly change things. I’m grateful and thankful for all the food choices we do have and hopeful for the perfect milkshake experience. Just a few ideas:
- Edible cups – make a cup that is baked from simple flour and coated with wax or something for holding liquid. It doesn’t have to taste real good but just not be harmful if eaten. That way if we can’t get to a trash can at least we could eat it or compost it to get rid of it.
- Edible straws – make straws out of hard sugar maybe with a 3D printer and coat it with wax to make it last longer.
- Forget the lid – just don’t fill the cup so high… besides, ice cream melts and spills on a hot day; kids learn. 😉
- Happy Employees – hire enough people and pay them well enough to make a good milkshake in a reasonable amount of time. Plus let them hang out with the customers, eat the food and tell stories, launch straw paper rockets, dance on the tables… 😀
- Happy Cows – use organic milk from cows fed in grassland and natural pasture.
- Low Sugar Alternatives – I would really like low sugar drinks and would purchase them if offered, just don’t skimp on the cream or substitute artificial indigestible fat please.
- Restaurant Ambiance – some nice music perhaps? Friendly staff offering to clean tables and take trash? A place to hang out thats more inviting than driving home in your car?
I’m sure there are many additional things that people can think of. What would make a perfect milkshake experience for you?