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Fast Food and the Family as a Site for Popular Culture
Unformatted Document Text:  10 liberal daughter are brought together with “family values” by eating Honey Nut Chex. “What next ? Conversation ?”, asks the commercial touting “Generation Chex”. The popular success of fast food is due in part to its promise of “a short-cut to everlasting familial commitment”. Commercial cooking becomes an expert, technical, speedy, rational performance and “less an emotional expression of familial care and concern” with caring, loving “home cooking”(Warde, 1997, p.137-38). Food advertisements re-create an image of this past with affectionate mothers preparing food for their children being trained for civility and good health around the family dinner table. Ads create emotional pleasures not necessarily related to food texture or nutrition, and indulgent hedonism which do not encourage asceticism (Lupton). Nostalgic family images are strongly upfront in TV commercials: Plain and folksy “Cliff” is everybody’s uncle in IHOP; So is Dave Thomas in Wendy’s (named for his daughter), and the finicky grandmother who asked “Where’s the beef ?” The late Colonel Sanders remains a universal grandfather for Kentucky Fried Chicken, which reverted to his sales pitch “We do chicken right” after an unappealing and short-lived campaign for its chicken sandwiches showed chickens driving a bus (Kramer, 1998, Sept. 28). Popeye’s and Church’s built their popularity with dinner sales. Whataburger uses an old black and white 1950s photo to boast that its food tastes like it was “cooked at

Authors: Burd, Gene A..
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background image
10
liberal daughter are brought together with “family values”
by eating Honey Nut Chex. “What next ? Conversation ?”, asks
the commercial touting “Generation Chex”.
The popular success of fast food is due in part to its
promise of “a short-cut to everlasting familial commitment”.
Commercial cooking becomes an expert, technical, speedy,
rational performance and “less an emotional expression of
familial care and concern” with caring, loving “home
cooking”(Warde, 1997, p.137-38).
Food advertisements re-create an image of this past
with affectionate mothers preparing food for their children
being trained for civility and good health around the family
dinner table. Ads create emotional pleasures not necessarily
related to food texture or nutrition, and indulgent hedonism
which do not encourage asceticism (Lupton). Nostalgic
family images are strongly upfront in TV commercials: Plain
and folksy “Cliff” is everybody’s uncle in IHOP; So is Dave
Thomas in Wendy’s (named for his daughter), and the finicky
grandmother who asked “Where’s the beef ?” The late Colonel
Sanders remains a universal grandfather for Kentucky Fried
Chicken, which reverted to his sales pitch “We do chicken
right” after an unappealing and short-lived campaign for
its chicken sandwiches showed chickens driving a bus
(Kramer, 1998, Sept. 28).
Popeye’s and Church’s built their popularity with
dinner sales. Whataburger uses an old black and white 1950s
photo to boast that its food tastes like it was “cooked at


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