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Fancy Fast Food
July 14, 2009 1:30 PM   Subscribe

Fancy Fast Food. Fast food reconstructed into (something that looks like) fine cuisine. Recipes included, for those who dare.
posted by Silune (67 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was under the impression it's not safe to cook aspartame...?
posted by grobstein at 1:32 PM on July 14, 2009


That's funny.
posted by nola at 1:37 PM on July 14, 2009


I thought the point of fast food was convenience. You put up with crappy food because it's fast and easy. This ... this is just revolting.
posted by Kimberly at 1:38 PM on July 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Skinner! These look like Krusty Burgers.

Steamed hams you say?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:39 PM on July 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


Oh, this is so fun!
posted by mr_roboto at 1:39 PM on July 14, 2009


I would never expend so much effort on something like this, but I'm glad they did -- because I find this to be not only funny as hell, but very creative.
posted by lodurr at 1:40 PM on July 14, 2009


I'd be interested in an "edibility" rating. I'm not seeing one.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:43 PM on July 14, 2009


I think maybe that misses the point; OTOH, I'd be willing to bet* that most of it is better than what you had at the last wedding you were invited to ;-).

--
*not very much, though.
posted by lodurr at 1:45 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Haven't we seen this before? I think maybe it got deleted, but it's definitely been here. Definitely.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 1:47 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


yeah, this has just been on the front page. too lazy to search though.
posted by krautland at 1:48 PM on July 14, 2009


Found it. It's better this time around, though.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 1:54 PM on July 14, 2009


From Cortex's note when deleting the original posting because the site was too low on content to merit discussion: "If it's fun in days to come, someone can decide to post about it then."

I don't think this counts as a "double."
posted by yoink at 2:14 PM on July 14, 2009


Merging Fancy Fast Food with This Is Why You're Fat would make my head asplode.
posted by Imhotep is Invisible at 2:24 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh my goodness. This is quite possibly the best thing I've seen all day.

I'm really tempted to try just one of those recipes to see what happens. Maybe even to try passing it off as hors d'oeuvre at a party.
posted by spitefulcrow at 2:31 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is incredible. Like, in a good way. I love the White Castle presentation.
posted by Nattie at 2:32 PM on July 14, 2009


Aren't you just ending up with something that's essentially the same as the pizza/burgers/fried chicken you brought home? I mean, you spent an hour fussing over and rearranging it and re-heating it for what? Giggles? Do you then take turns being the fancy restaurant patron and the snooty waiter with zee Frawnch ack-zent? Do you pretend to pay with an American Express card you made with cardboard from a Lucky Charms box?
posted by longsleeves at 2:45 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


"pay with an American Express card you made with cardboard from a Lucky Charms box?"
Does that work?
posted by Cranberry at 2:53 PM on July 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think this is great. It doesn't make me hungry, but I admire the creativity that went into it. I especially like the tapas. The "Dah Mi Nos" wet-rinsed pizza crust noodles was a pretty gross idea, though.
posted by meringue at 3:18 PM on July 14, 2009


The first page had me giggling at the audacity of the project.
Then something happened. I started looking at the food presented and trying to figure out how I could do that, maybe improve it a little bit, add some fresh veggies and some free-range meats...

Now I'm going to go home and make burrito tortellini, may God have mercy on my soul.
posted by lekvar at 3:22 PM on July 14, 2009


Sorry, just threw up in my mouth a little.

...say!
posted by Smedleyman at 3:33 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually, it could be a good introduction to the idea (and the fun) of cooking for someone who is too scared to go to the grocery store and pick up raw ingredients.
posted by blenderfish at 4:01 PM on July 14, 2009


This reminds me of when SPY magazine tried to get chefs in New York City to recreate Twinkies, with mixed results. Most problematic for the chefs was trying to acquire exotic ingredients like suet.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 4:21 PM on July 14, 2009


I don't know, it just reminds me of the McGangbang. By which I mean, it just reeks of the most degrading type of classism, in which one is driven to humor to respond to the idea that another person might actually eat such fare.

"Look at what I've done, everybody, I've made this dreck look as though it were actually food! aren't I so clever? The people who dine on this couldn't imagine proper things like tapas and sushi, oh goodness no."
posted by paisley henosis at 4:22 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is great. All those calories you expend on the unwrapping and cutting and repackaging and dishwashing help offset some of the calories still in the junk food.
posted by binturong at 4:33 PM on July 14, 2009


A modern version of mutton dressed as lamb?
posted by binturong at 4:34 PM on July 14, 2009


"Look at what I've done, everybody, I've made this dreck look as though it were actually food! aren't I so clever? The people who dine on this couldn't imagine proper things like tapas and sushi, oh goodness no."

You are way over-construing this.
posted by blenderfish at 4:47 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of when SPY magazine tried to get chefs in New York City to recreate Twinkies, with mixed results. Most problematic for the chefs was trying to acquire exotic ingredients like suet.

Ron Thanagar
..and your comment reminds me of the Brit version in the now defunct (once great) Punch mag - though it was, I think, a staff writer/chef who tried to produce a plausible McDonalds burger & fries that could pass for the real thing. It was a great idle read!

(Brilliant post).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:52 PM on July 14, 2009


I agree with paisley henosis, and to me this is also a waste of creativity and effort on such unhealthy, processed ingredients. Who wants to eat some entitled person's irony?--I think I'd have been more impressed if the art were actually inedible.
posted by applemeat at 4:52 PM on July 14, 2009


What makes you so sure it's ironic?

Anyway, there are an awful lot of things in the world that I would regard as a waste of my creativity. But as long as they aren't hurting anyone -- and I don't see how these folks are -- people can do whatever they want with their own, and it does me no harm.

IOW, they look like they're having fun. And if you stretch your imagination, you might start to think (with some of the rest of us) that what they're making might actually taste good.
posted by lodurr at 5:04 PM on July 14, 2009


Who wants to eat some entitled person's irony?

Who wants to drink water out of a urinal?
posted by blenderfish at 5:10 PM on July 14, 2009


If they're having fun more power to 'em. But I'll plop my In-n-Out burger down on a plate if I'm feeling fancy, or just eat it with a napkin if I'm not, and I'll enjoy ten times the flavor of that stuff while investing one one-hundredth of the time.
posted by Justinian at 5:12 PM on July 14, 2009


I agree with paisley henosis, and to me this is also a waste of creativity and effort on such unhealthy, processed ingredients. Who wants to eat some entitled person's irony?

I happen to eat semi-frequently at Taco Bell, KFC, and Burger King. The both of you are telling me that, contrary to my initial great amusement at the site, I should actually have been offended, because these people are classist ass-holes. You're telling me that, because I eat this food, I belong to an underclass, and moreover the food I eat is so unhealthy and "processed" that it is unfit, even to turn into art (and, in fact, completely inedible ingredients are a preferable artistic medium.)

Did I get that basically correct?
Because I wanted to make sure before I busted out the old "I call classism on your classism" trope.
posted by blenderfish at 5:32 PM on July 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


To be fair, taco bell is pretty much butt food.
posted by boo_radley at 5:48 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


In related news: tomorrow's Top Chef Masters: "... the four chefs are tasked with making a gourmet version of a traditional junk food dish."
posted by ericb at 6:00 PM on July 14, 2009


boo: I think pretty much everyone knows that, but, hey, it's still food.

Anyway, my rebuttal above was probably needlessly harsh, but it will suffice to say that I think some people are projecting a bit of unfair extra baggage onto this website.
posted by blenderfish at 6:03 PM on July 14, 2009


in that it does not actively poison you, perhaps.
posted by boo_radley at 6:25 PM on July 14, 2009


I've often thought that I would really like to eat a great expensive bone-in ribeye steak with a side of McDonald's French fries. Because hot out of the fryer McDonald's French fries are fucking delicious, and I don't give a goddamn what that says about me.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:45 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just great. I was gonna post this but thought it was a double. Grr.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:46 PM on July 14, 2009


lodurr: What makes you so sure it's ironic?

Nothing at all. I'm sure that a great many people wish that their fast food simply took longer to prepare before being ready to eat, and it is from this desire and to service these like minded people that this entirely useful and serious site arose.

blenderfish: I happen to eat semi-frequently at Taco Bell, KFC, and Burger King. The both of you are telling me that, contrary to my initial great amusement at the site, I should actually have been offended, because these people are classist ass-holes. You're telling me that, because I eat this food, I belong to an underclass, and moreover the food I eat is so unhealthy and "processed" that it is unfit, even to turn into art (and, in fact, completely inedible ingredients are a preferable artistic medium.)

Eat where you want to eat. Feel about this however you want to feel. But don't deny the fact that the stereotype of the American Fast Food Junkie isn't under- to lower-middle class.

What's next, you want to tell me that the kids who grow up with two parents each earning six figures, going out and wearing ratty jeans and factory worker shirts, and drinking PBR and Keystone, that isn't classist either? C'mon, be honest.
posted by paisley henosis at 6:55 PM on July 14, 2009


What makes you so sure it's ironic?

Because it’s a textbook exercise in style over substance? Because this would not constitute a FPP were it merely a pictorial of beautiful food? Because no restaurant devoting this much time and attention to food preparation would use such poor ingredients? Because most people who depend on take-out value meals because they live from paycheck to paycheck don’t have the time or the inclination to reduce Pepsi to Housin sauce?
posted by applemeat at 7:20 PM on July 14, 2009


But don't deny the fact that the stereotype of the American Fast Food Junkie isn't under- to lower-middle class.

And, again, I fail to see how this site mocks, or indeed relates at all to the consumers of fast food. Everyone knows fast food is low quality. Everyone knows it isn't haute cuisine. If nothing else, I think the site is taking the piss out of expensive cuisine, by showing that even poor-quality ingredients can be rearranged to look like sophisticated eats. They don't go out of their way to picture the fast food in a nasty or unflattering way, or talk about how unhealthy it is. They don't show pictures of fat people eating triple Whoppers, or have youtube videos of poor people trying to pronounce 'foie gras.' It's just fun, light-hearted, and creative.

What's next, you want to tell me that the kids who grow up with two parents each earning six figures, going out and wearing ratty jeans and factory worker shirts, and drinking PBR and Keystone, that isn't classist either? C'mon, be honest.

So, what, exactly, is the appropriate attire for kids who have parents making good money?
posted by blenderfish at 7:28 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do they have a reconstruction of a plate of beans?

/obligatory
posted by LittleMissCranky at 7:31 PM on July 14, 2009


Awesome link. Now I want KFC.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:38 PM on July 14, 2009


Sorry, should have realized I was feeding the troll.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:20 PM on July 14, 2009


The site is cute but its minor league. 99% of all representations of food that you see on a daily basis, in print and on tv, are highly engineered by a team of food stylists + photographers/dps to a much greater extent than 'Fancy Fast Food.'

I work with food stylists. Its very difficult to take a gorgeous ingredient and make it look beautiful on film. Imagine trying to do this with something vile. Like potted meat from a can. Or anything involving a soggy meat patty. Fancy plating can make fast food look, well, fancy. But its exponentially more difficult to make it actually look like fast food that you might consider eating.

One stylist I know just worked on a cheese campaign. The task was to make the cheese look 'creamy + moist.' The problem was that the substance was not really cheese, but a highly processed form of hardened powder meant to survive a long shelf life. You couldn't mix it with water, or oil, or milk, or any form of liquid. Everyone crossed their fingers and hoped it could be fixed it up in post (it was).

Most cakes are styrofoam. Most ice cubes are acrylic. Most coffee bubbles are soap. A nice trick for simulating steam is to use a long exposure and wave scotch tape above the mug. Hamburger buns are found by sorting through hundreds of buns - then the sesame seeds are added with tweezers. Pomegranates are shot in Canada since its impossible to get them in the US out of season (trade embargo with Iran). Pumpkin dishes are made with squash. Some foods are 3d renderings created on a computer. Any magazine recipe that has an image from a stock agency is not actually a picture of the real recipe.

When you take an actual McDonald's meal (total cost of ingredients <>supposed to look like, and that almost makes the feedlot gristle taste ok. Bon appetit.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 8:22 PM on July 14, 2009 [14 favorites]


applemeat and paisley: I think you're projecting, frankly. I know an awful lot of people who are willing to expend an awful lot of effort doing things that they know damn well other people will call them fools for doing. Sometimes it entails spending far more effort on something than it really merits, in an "objective" evaluation.

When someone gets paid a lot of money to do that, we typically call it "art."

And sometimes -- very often, with this sort of person -- what starts out as an exercise in ironism becomes serious. They punch right through that sarcastic wall into a place where suddenly they just want to do a good job. That's usually where the art starts to actually get interesting to me. (Analogy: Bowling for ironism can be fun for a while; bowling because you suddenly realize you like to bowl can be fun for a lot longer. And guess what: You can wear the same clothes and mouth the same catch-phrases either way.)

What, after all, aside from the "quality" of the ingredients, is the real qualitative difference between what these folks are doing and what foodies do? And it's arguably more of a creative challenge. You can choose to call that evidence for ironism; I'm thinking, that's not gonna sustain somebody through this level of effort. These folks are way past the irony barrier by now. They got past it sometime around the time they started doing sexy tabletop shots of the presentation....
posted by lodurr at 8:26 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry, should have realized I was feeding the troll.

Put the shovel down, man.
posted by yoink at 8:29 PM on July 14, 2009


Paisley hoenosis: Why are you so determined to make this into a political thing? Can't they just be participating in mainstream American pop culture and deciding to have fun with it? Does everything have to be some kind of slap in the face to the faceless working class masses?
posted by lodurr at 8:32 PM on July 14, 2009


You know what? Just order the McDonalds 1/3 lb Angus Deluxe, and serve it on a plate without french fries. Don't tell the person you give it to that you got it from McDonalds, and seriously, I doubt they will know. It is, no kidding, the best fast food burger I have ever eaten, and stands up quite well to many pub burgers I have both eaten and paid a lot more for.

No, I do not work for McDonalds. Yet.
posted by yhbc at 8:40 PM on July 14, 2009


Sorry, should have realized I was feeding the troll.

I don't think that word means what you think it means.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:44 PM on July 14, 2009


Are people really getting up in arms over this? Jesus Christ, it's just fast food.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:49 PM on July 14, 2009


yhbc: the McDonalds 1/3 lb Angus Deluxe

I ate one of these a couple of days ago and I must disagree with your assesment of its tastiness. It was better than a Big Mac, sure. But that's as far as I'd go. I did like the real slices red onion, though. Then again, I do live in a cheeseburger-rich environment and have made something of a study of them....
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:07 PM on July 14, 2009


Jesus Christ, it's just fast food.

Yep ... a wafer and some grape juice.
posted by ericb at 10:07 PM on July 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


"Who wants to drink water out of a urinal?"

Well, the mints are ok. You can't smoke the cigarettes though.

"Pomegranates are shot in Canada since its impossible to get them in the US out of season"

Always seems like people are eating the ideal, the brand, etc. anyway. So it's kind of redundant in that way.
Or they're succumbing to the convenience. Which is sort of the thing with McDonalds, et.al. swarm tactics. There's nowhere else that you can really get cheap food. When's the last time you saw a diner vs. the last three McD's you saw?
But y'know the big picture stuff aside, funny and revolting, good post I think.

I used a Remington 700BDL 22-250 with a BSA scope on one of those Canadian pomegranates, didn't even slow him down. Shoulda used a 12 gauge (he was attacking my cousin)
posted by Smedleyman at 10:27 PM on July 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Just for the record: I don't care what anyone else eats or doesn't eat, nor do I judge anyone based on their dietary preferences. My wife and I are lucky enough to have enough time between us to make our modest food budget into nice meals, which is something I do not take for granted.

To me, in spite of all of the obvious creative effort involved, this looks like a disrespectful mockery of the "Joe Lunch Pail" "Fast Food Junkie" stereotypes, which bothers me. Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, and it is really great stuff, maybe the people who did it are dicks. Either way, this thread clearly isn't for me.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:34 PM on July 14, 2009


My wife and I are lucky enough to have enough time between us to make our modest food budget into nice meals, which is something I do not take for granted.

You can have nice meals without spending a shit load of time in the kitchen, I hate that argument. "I don't have time to be healthy." Bullshit.

Growing up poor, I'm pretty sensitive to derogatory statements about class and this website rings no bells for me so I don't know why you're getting so fighty over it.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:55 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know what? Just order the McDonalds 1/3 lb Angus Deluxe, and serve it on a plate without french fries. Don't tell the person you give it to that you got it from McDonalds, and seriously, I doubt they will know. It is, no kidding, the best fast food burger I have ever eaten

You poor benighted soul. Let us know when you're going to be in California and no doubt someone will take pity on you and introduce you to a real fast food burger.
posted by Justinian at 11:44 PM on July 14, 2009


The irony is that what they end up with looks far less appetizing, to me anyway, than the products they start off with. I mean, "chowder" made by soaking a KFC biscuit in water? Ugh. Not because there's anything wrong with a KFC biscuit — they're no Bojangles, certainly, but still tasty — but because it's so predigested. Which is, interestingly, exactly the same thing that people often say about fast food.

So I think the critique here, if there is one (and I'm not sure that there is; I think the whole thing could just have been for fun), is definitely of the "haute" cuisine. That is, if you take KFC and mash it up disgustingly enough, toss it on a square plate with some chopsticks, you can probably sell it to some stuffed-shirt douchebag at Asiate as part of an 85 buck prix fixe.

But overall I think that may be overthinking a plate of minced fast food; as social critique or commentary it doesn't work very well, precisely because it's so ambiguous. But as a funny exercise in culinary techniques, I got a kick out of it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:01 AM on July 15, 2009


Let us know when you're going to be in California and no doubt someone will take pity on you and introduce you to a real fast food burger.

Mmm... In 'n Out, or, failing that, Hamburger Habit.

Paisley, I was not trolling, I was and am genuinely confused by your clothing/beer comment. The less charitable interpretation (since it is trivially classist) is there is some income amount above which it is wrong to drink Pabst or wear a mechanic shirt. The more charitable interpretation is that you mean it is wrong to wear one in an ironic ad hominem way, in which case, I would concurr with lodurr's point regarding how ephemeral irony really is. I can assure you my friends growing up (who were neither mechanics nor had six-figure family incomes) were not trying to make any deep cultural critique by buying the mechanic shirts they liked and bought at the mall, nor were they mocking poor people when they drank Pabst. And our jeans were torn because we were too lazy to buy new ones! Anyway, I think you've been a good sport about all this, and in the end it all just pretty much just comes down to a difference in how pervasive we assume irony, especially of the ad hominem variety, is.
posted by blenderfish at 12:54 AM on July 15, 2009


I enjoyed this--largely because I've known for years that stuff like this is possible. Back in the 80s or early 90s I ran into a recipe in the newspaper called "Pate Palais Blanc"--essentially, a mock liver pate made from ground-up White Castle burgers (bun, pickle, onion and all) and a splash of good white wine. My mother and I were highly amused, cooked it up and served it to guests with crackers. We didn't tell them what it was until they were done and it took a while to get them to believe us.
posted by dlugoczaj at 6:25 AM on July 15, 2009


I have a friend who's a chef. He does stuff like this all the time just for laughs, and some of the food he makes for his wealthy clients has much humbler beginnings than most would expect.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:09 AM on July 15, 2009


Just to clarify...he really is a good chef, but as he's told me "if you have an hour to make the chicken you do it right. If you have 10 minutes to make the chicken, sometimes you gotta cheat."

Also to anyone who finds this site interesting, I would recommend Kenny Shopsin's book Eat me. Or the documentary about him I Like Killing Flies. He has his own take on what food is "supposed to be" that is pretty interesting. For example to explain how he can have 300 soups on his menu, he explains that he just has a different idea as to what "soup" is.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:18 AM on July 15, 2009


It's kinda funny...
A lot of people here seem to see this as classist snark against the eating habits of Joe McDonalds-Eater or Jane TacoBell-Consumer.

Personally, I see it as snark directed at Worthington Q. HauteCuisine. The food on the site is fast food lovingly repackaged in the style of hoity-toity French presentation pieces, like it's saying "See there's no difference between your food and mine beyond the packaging."
posted by lekvar at 11:39 AM on July 15, 2009


I work in the richest part of Austin, Westlake, right next to a Chick-Fil-A. And I'll be damned if that isn't the longest and most constant drive-thru line I've ever seen.

Rich people eat shitty food all the time.
posted by Darth Fedor at 11:43 AM on July 15, 2009


Rich people eat shitty food all the time.

True. But sometimes, they decide to eat Chick-Fil-A instead.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:16 PM on July 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you take KFC fried chicken, and turn it into soup, you ruined the whole point of fried chicken.
posted by smackfu at 12:45 PM on July 15, 2009


If you take KFC fried chicken, and turn it into soup, you ruined the whole point of fried chicken

Yeah, actually the KFC soup looked kinda nasty. Though, perhaps if the photographer had gone for a larger light source, it would've broadened the specular highlights and made it look less snot-like and glisteny.
posted by blenderfish at 4:29 PM on July 15, 2009


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