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The American way of eating

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Fast food is one of those things that the USA has "given" to the world. But while hamburgers and fries are seen worldwide as being typically American, in actual fact Americans did not invent fast food - they just made it into a lifestyle.

Fast food for folks in a hurry Fast food can even be eaten in the car.
    Americans did not invent "fast food", any more than they invented cars or television; they were just the first to refine it into an art, and spread the art worldwide.
    Before Ronald McDonald was even born, the British were into hot fast food, in the form of fish 'n' chips. Precursors of today's drive-thru, sit-down or carry-out burger restaurants and other fast-food outlets, British fish 'n' chip shops had for many years been offering customers a real meal to eat in the street. In the olden days, people ate fish 'n' chips wrapped in old newspaper, and used their fingers to eat them with.
    Other forms of fast food were common all over the world too; the "packed lunch", some bread and something to eat with it, was part of the daily routine of millions of industrial and agricultural workers all over Europe and North America for over a century.
    American-style "fast food" took existing models, and refined them, to create a new style of eating adapted to the high-speed mobile life-styles of the modern age.
    As its name implies, a "Hamburger" was originally a German dish that originated in Hamburg (and has nothing to do with ham, in spite of modern derivatives such as chicken-burger and beefburger). Its repackaging as the most popular type of fast food was however an American achievement, as America was the first nation in the world to master modern methods of large scale food production, distribution and conservation (notably deep freezing).
    Even in the 1960's, steak was still an expensive luxury for most people in Europe; but in America it was already an everyday dish. Furthermore, fast food outlets, offering cheap cooked meals, corresponded ideally to the needs of an increasingly mobile and increasingly busy society.
     In the sixties, American lifestyles were far ahead of those of most Europeans; but since then, Europe has caught up. Ronald McDonald's Golden Arches have sprung up in and around virtually every big town and city in Europe, and across much of the rest of the world too; and even such typically "American" styles of fast food, such as Tex-Mex, are following in the international traces of the hamburger franchises, thanks to television and the popularity of American youth culture.
    Americans can no doubt be forgiven for saying such things as "It's as American as pizza". Even if this other classic dish is of Mediterranean origin, it is America that has spread its popularity around the world.

 worldwide: all over tye world - precursor: something that comes before - outlets : shops, points of sale - customer: client - repackage: present something in a different way - dish: meal - a franchise: a shop or restaurant that pays to use a famous name - to forgive: to pardon
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The American way of eating

Using information from the article, write factual sentences starting with the following prompts:

1. Ronald McDonald

2.  Newspaper

3.Every day

4. Large scale food production

5. European lifestyles

6. American youth culture

7. Pizzas

For teachers

Note that there are a few small differences between the audio recording and the written text. These mostly concert synonyms. Make sure that students notice them.


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Advanced level English resource

Level - Advanced
IELTS Level :  76.5 - 8
Flesch-Kincaid  scores
Reading ease level:
48.1 - Fairly hard

Grade level: 13.3

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