My mom told me once that when she was pregnant with me the one thing she would crave and eat all of the time was Arby's roast beef sandwiches. She also assured me that those sandwiches were much different than those made up of the sheeny grey brown sliced meat that were the stuff of my teen years. I grew up on fast food, lots of it. I was a rather sickly kid and was always at the doc. To make it up to me my mom would take me to McDonald's after each visit. In high school I ate breakfast at Burger King or McDonald's everyday with friends before school. For lunch I would eat the Taco Bell they served in the school lunch room (nachos and soft beef tacos!). Every Friday night was pizza night, (Domino's), The Burger King on East Grace was a frequent spot for a quick bit before a show. I could go on.
Finally, after years of living off of pizza and soft pretzels from food trucks in Philly I was so sick I could only think to come home and focus on taking care of myself.
All that information, too much perhaps, leads me to say that I have eaten fast food exactly once in the last 6 years, if you don't count the occasional break down for some take out pizza that happens about twice a year. Oh yeah and those nachos I had at Northside Grill... anyway... I am totally out of the fast food loop. So earlier this week I was surprised when my husband handed me a brown paper napkin from Arby's that read GRASS-FED BEEF in bright green letters. I now realize I am way behind the times as RVA News , and Richmond Times Dispatch have both already reported that as of March 1, 2010 all 19 of the Richmond area Arby's will use all grass-fed beef on all of their sandwiches. Yeah! Go Arby's. So now my husband can enjoy the occasional fast food lunch, and maybe enjoy it a little more. At the same time, grass-fed fast food is still mass produced, fast food. Truly healthy, humanly raised meat doesn't seem possible if it has to be on a scale great enough for Americans to continue to eat it three meals day.
It may seem to some that the switch to grass-fed is an obvious, no brainer of a decision. However, The Restaurant Company, that owns the Richmond area Arby's made a big leap here. They didn't just provide a grass fed option, but changed to grass-fed for all of their sandwiches. Chipotle, has opened the door for fast food venues to opt out of the industrial food model to some degree. However, there is already at least one person who has started a facebook page just to bring back the old conventionally raised beef. The smattering of comments on that page range from the likes of "The beef taste like Grass" to "Perhaps there was a Government takeover of Arby's. The Government seems good at screwing stuff up." Meanwhile, I've been doing Internet searches to try and determine where exactly this grass-fed beef comes from. No luck yet.
Ah well, I say good luck to Arby's, it seems like they've always been a step above and a step ahead, and I for one hope they don't step back.