Ha. So, what is "the greatest food in human history"?
Hint: It has 390 calories. It contains 23g, or half a daily serving, of protein, plus 7% of daily fiber, 20% of daily calcium and so on.
Also, you can get it in 14,000 locations in the US and it usually costs $1. Presenting one of the unsung wonders of modern life, the McDonald’s McDouble cheeseburger.
[. . .]
The outraged replies to the notion of McDouble supremacy — if it’s not the cheapest, most nutritious and most bountiful food in human history, it has to be pretty close — comes from the usual coalition of class snobs, locavore foodies and militant anti-corporate types. I say usual because these people are forever proclaiming their support for the poor and for higher minimum wages that would supposedly benefit McDonald’s workers. But they’re completely heartless when it comes to the other side of the equation: cost.
[. . .]
Junk food costs as little as $1.76 per 1,000 calories, whereas fresh veggies and the like cost more than 10 times as much, found a 2007 University of Washington survey for the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. A 2,000-calorie day of meals would, if you stuck strictly to the good-for-you stuff, cost $36.32, said the study’s lead author, Adam Drewnowski.
That may be overstating things a tad, but it's a fun claim with which to goad the stuffy foodies a little. It once was true that if you had a steady diet of fast food it wouldn't be good for you but that anyone who objected to an occasional indulgence was just being an ass. Not sure that is true anymore -- in response to customer demand, more healthy items are showing up on the menus.
It's easy to to forget how valuable fast food places were when they first came along. Cars made them possible, of course, and what the restaurants offered people, even families of modest means, was predictability -- a McDonald's cheeseburger is exactly the same in Nevada or Indiana or New York -- and low prices. That meant customers got real value. But people want more diversity now, so the restaurants are rising to the challenge. A beautiful success story of capitalism in action.