Takeaway, The Sci-Fi Way

Chips

Image by Ande_Hazel from Pixabay

Ok, so we haven’t quite got to being able to ask a hole in a wall for a cup of Earl Grey, Hot, yet, but it feels kind of like we’re getting there.

There have been fast food apps for a while now of course but it’s only recently I’ve tried online ordering and it’s a revelation.  My local Chinese takeaway uses a web-based menu platform widely used by such businesses, independent of the big-name apps and it’s so easy to just select what you want, click “order” and wait for delivery, the system having already saved the credit card details in your account.  Too easy, perhaps.

It’s part of a bigger trend in shopping overall, an efficient way of buying from places that don’t require you to browse shelves, like our Argos catalogue stores in the UK or extra items from Supermarkets that they don’t stock in store.  In fact the term for this has become such a part of everyday parlance during the lockdown, as the only way some stores could operate, it’s now even used by people buying over the phone from us despite us not having an online ordering facility: “can I click and collect?”  Apparently you can even click and collect a car.

Back to the food though, it appears that now you can ask your smart speaker or whatever device you talk to to get you a takeaway, from a participating restaurant, and it will.  Of course there is the risk that using this technology for deliveries too much could lead to a sedentary lifestyle but for the occasional treat it’s great.

So the internet brings another past image of future convenience to life, along with my sweet and sour pork.

Fresh Thinking?

Fish and chips, a popular take-away food of th...

Fish and chips, a popular take-away food of the United Kingdom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like to cook but rarely have time to make a meal from scratch, it’s usually a case of assembling something from frozen or chilled components.  I do also sometimes indulge in fast food – usually chips, fish and chips, battered sausage and chips or a hot dog from a van in the market square on a Saturday morning.  It’s too far to go to McDonalds and I’ve never even ventured into Subway – in fact whenever I think “I must try Subway some time” I then remember that ours closed down sometime last year.

The fast food industry has been trying to reinvent itself recently, as the public called for more healthy, nutritious, “authentic” food, highlighting the quality of ingredients, how they’re reducing fat and sugar, introducing “healthy options” like salads, and most of all the “freshness” of everything.  In this country the claims by McDonalds and the like that the ingredients are sourced from local farmers and butchers are believable because of the size of our island, you could conceivably turn an Aberdeen Angus in the borders into a burger in Bristol in a couple of days but as an interesting article on Slate Magazine shows much of the use of the word fresh, particularly in America, is really just marketing – harnessing associations with openness, truth, wholesomeness and morality, while its true meaning quite often differs from the dictionary definition.

[slate.com]