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Industrialization of Hunger: Homemade vs. Fast Food

by Hülya AFAT

Hunger is one of the fundamental needs of any living being. Before the specialization wave of the Industrialized World, home-cooked meals were the norm. As of now, the existence of the fast foods sector shows how far we have gone from the simple act of sustaining our bodies. It is clear that capitalism successfully profits from the most basic need of our bodies as it does from anything else. On the other hand, there are many sides to the Homemade vs. Fast Food argument. In this article, I will lightly examine three main points: Heightening Dangers of Obesity, Unpaid Domestic Work and Gender Roles of Today, Fast Food Sector, and Urbanization. Due to the limited page number, each of these issues will be explained shortly; so, if you want to explore further, the resources will be available at the end.


As the graph above shows, the US has the most obese population among OECD countries, despite being the 12th globally, following 11 Oceania Islands and Kuwait. To interpret the graph, we may concur that the obese population percentage is not correlated with GDP per capita or how developed the country is. Hence, this makes obesity indeed a global issue. The fact that the prevalence of obesity increased more than two times since 1975 is terrifying, especially the obesity in children has the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes later in life. Fast foods not only destroying our current health, but they affect us in the long run on a much larger scale. (1) (2)


Unpaid Domestic Work and Gender Roles of Today

To explore more about homemade meals, we have to look more into the unpaid work statistics and history of the gender roles that force women to cook in the house. You might think that saying “homemade food means stealing your mother’s wage” would be extreme. However, implementing societal gender roles on women and expecting caring activities such as laundry, cooking, washing dishes is equal to preventing them from working outside of the house and earning an actual wage. There are many studies done on this issue, one of them suggests “Women carry out at least two and a half times more unpaid household and care work than men.” Hence, their potential time to engage in paid labor or work longer hours is decreased. Substituting homemade food with fast food is not the correct solution, though. Since we live in a much more progressed society than the pre-Industrial Revolution world, all family members should be expected to engage in the housework, not only the women. (3)


Fast Food Sector and Urbanization


Currently, two-thirds of the world’s population lives in cities. This is 30% more than data from 1980. Due to the modern working and living conditions in urban areas, the size of the families shrunk noticeably. It would not be wrong to say people get married in a decreasing trend and living alone or with roommates is more affordable and appealing than with a big family. Again, current working conditions force people to eat fast food instead of cooking at home because, first, they do not have that kind of time or energy after working 8 or 10 hours a day; second, cooking for one is more costly than ordering both time-wise and money-wise. Of course, the main reasons why ordering is more affordable and less costly are the time pressure that delivery personnel face and the poor quality ingredients of the food. Cooking is more costly but has health benefits such as controlling your salt, sugar, sodium intake, and ingredients’ quality. (4) (5)


Everyone has a unique daily schedule. Adjusting your eating habits according to your life and preferences is acceptable. However, we would like you to keep in mind these issues when making decisions.

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Heightening Dangers of Obesity

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