Another Take Away

We watched a TV programme last night about the obesity crisis, looking for who to blame. Not sure there’s one person/group/department but what was interesting were some of the facts. They focused on the Mile End Road in east London, now called the Chicken Mile for the preponderance of takeaways, mostly one off shops rather than some franchise outlet of a fast food behemoth. Not surprisingly we have more of these sorts of facilities than anywhere else in Europe.

And it is the youngsters where the problems start, even as young as four. One thing that I did notice, wherever the film crews went were the number of young teens buying this battered shite, often in school uniform.

When I was at secondary school there were no gates or security or entry controls. Anyone could wander in or out. These days, understandably, you need to pass some levels of control to get in. But it seems you can leave as a thirteen year old to buy your crapburger and fries. We couldn’t, not until the sixth form (16 to 18 for those unfamiliar with the English system) back when I was able to grow hair where I wanted. Why are they allowed out? Seems wrong to this old curmudgeon? Or do I have the wrong end of the wand, or is it just that, as it was back in the day, there is always some cheeky yoof who can subvert the rules?

It also got me thinking about the concept of the takeaway, circa 1973 when I was 16. I lived at that time in an outpost of the civilised world, close to that bit on old maps that said ‘Here be dragons’. The New Forest. No one’s centre of civilisation. My school was in the quaint Forest town of Brockenhurst, famed for… nothing really. It had a railway station and my secondary school, a small police station, a high street of shops selling strange things you need to debollock a horse, the odd greengrocer, a bakery that smelt like a brewery and four banks. There were four pubs and a laughingly named convenience store that did everything it could not to have what you needed. What it didn’t have was a takeaway, not even a chippy. There was a tea room that flogged Earl grey and doilies and was the preserve of the local desiccated dowagers. No self respecting teen would venture inside and risk humiliation by some cheek-pinching granny.

Indeed the only time I remember there being any reference to the takeaway, it was when the annual gathering of Hell’s Angels descended on Brockenhurst and stopped at the Railway Tavern. Some oik asked Frank, the miserable publican if he did takeaways and when he told said oik to sling his hook, the pie counter was heaved out of the windows shortly followed by the oik. Brockenhurst made headlines that day and not for the warmth of its welcome.

Makes you wonder whatever happened to those Hell’s Angels. I suppose they grew a prostate like the rest of us. I haven’t been back to Brockenhurst for a few years but I imagine that even here the takeaway has extended its insidious tentacles. Shame.

I’ll eat in if you’d prefer…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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46 Responses to Another Take Away

  1. Ritu says:

    I know my kids secondary don’t allow them to go offsite at lunch, unless they are 6th form, but you’re right. It’s quite horrifying to see how many youngsters see outside these takeaways regularly…
    It’s so easily available, and cheaper than healthy alternatives, which encourages these youngsters.
    Mind you, these Just Eat and Deliveroo apps haven’t helped, either!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. trifflepudling says:

    Fast food is supposed to save time and that was the original attraction for families in the 60s and 70s. However, now it’s what you do with that spare time that’s part of the problem – sitting about watching tv, Netflix; internet surfing; gaming; more snacking on the sofa. Even reading an improving book or blogging means you aren’t active. I’m not sure what’s happened but we only had a couple of fat people in the whole school and now it’s a much higher proportion. So MM is right to blame addictive, ubiquitous and cheap fast food. Not sure one can blame the government, though. It’s a worldwide problem.
    We weren’t allowed out until year 11 and the only fast nosh shop was a Parslows bakers with beige goods for sale. Keep the children in at lunchtime, definitely. Would cost the parents much less per year.
    Luckily for me I hate all the highly spiced stuff you can get from deliveroo, just eat, etc. What’s wrong with some ‘erbs?!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Cathy Cade says:

    I do recall my fellow sixth-formers pocketing their dinner money and going to the local chippy for a bag of chips instead. I could never be bothered (inactivity being the other reason for obesity).
    I’ve managed to lose some weight lately. My best method is throwing leftovers to the dogs instead of eating them myself. Except, these days we only have small dogs.
    Now the dog’s on a diet.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. willowdot21 says:

    We did have a chippy at the top of our road growing up but that was for high days and holidays! Also I did live in an urban setting in West London.
    As for school we were the same as you not allowed out until 6th form! I never made 6th form!
    I sneak out once, we were having yearly exams and I honestly thought it was lunchtime and no one would notice me sneaking out to the bakery on the corner…..they did ….the Nuns did not want to hear either my explanation or apologies and I was suspended for a week ….oh! The shame!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. willowdot21 says:

    I didn’t really address your point, I personally think that what is put into the food in supermarkets these days really dosen’t help at all so many ready meals made tasty by sugar, salt and addertives really don’t help. Then the proliferation of fast food it’s no wander obesity is on the rise!
    I blame the Tudors the loved using sugar in their foods!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. noelleg44 says:

    Kids can’t go offsite to eat until they are juniors in high school. And most of our schools are not near fast food places so the kids have to have a car! However, we do have the same problem – I think it’s not only fast food but also lack of exercise. The kids would rather sit in front of a TV, play on their phones or play video games.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What I take away from this Geoff (see what I did there?) is that we have always followed USA in blind belief that they know what the good life is all about. I know of many people nowadays who have very well equipped, sparkly, kitchens that are almost in pristine condition because they are hardly used. Breakfast is collected from one of the many nearby outlets, as is the coffee. Often eaten on the move, sometimes stinking out the bus, tube, tram etc. No packed lunch anymore. That too is collected from Greggs or elsewhere. Dinner is delivered to the door. Snacks later, along with a bottle of wine – never just a glass. Just excuse me for a minute, I’ve dropped curry sauce on my keyboard!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. joylennick says:

    I’m not suggesting we have another war – heaven forbid – or introduce rationing… but, being a child evacuee in WW2. I don’t recall seeing many fat people at all. There were a few, more elderly people who suffered from specific problems, but most looked trim. Men not in the war, grew vegies on allotments or in their back gardens, and mothers- foster and otherwise – cooked what plain food was available. Pastry was added for substance and many kept chickens for extra eggs. We had Virol and Cod Liver oil to keep us healthy, fresh orange juice when available and any fruit around. Potatoes and soup filled corners and I was never hungry. Later, I cooked for five and often worked full time and thought nothing of it for 47 years, It is what we did then . Now we are retired, my husband cooks, which is great. As human beings, we have grown lazy and are encouraged by advertising to be so…Too much instant gratification can lead to problems.

    Liked by 3 people

    • TanGental says:

      We’ve certainly become victims of our own excess. We seem to have swapped rickets in some for diabetes in many. Personally the preponderance of the pre cooked meal is one of our big problems. Like you we home cook save for the occasional take away which at least guarantees we know what goes into our food. I also think a lot or recipes I use put in far too much sugar but that’s because, while I like cakes and puddings I don’t have that sweet a tooth.


  9. JT Twissel says:

    We had a Dairy Queen across the street from my high school. But that was way before schools worried about our diets!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Super funny, Geoff. About the obese kids? I have no answers. Crap food is so easy to get.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Suzanne says:

    Weirdly we are in the minority of people who don’t eat takeaways, apart from the yearly fush and chups just to remind us why we can no longer digest fatty foods. The cars and people lining up for crapburgers [good word!] or even worse chicken fried after the loosening of lockdowns was depressing. Like the UK, New Zealand also has a problem with obesity in their young. It was very rare to see an obese child in our school photos. Good old 3 vege and protein meals with lots of exercise in between and no screen time. Thought provoking post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      I only wish someone with the power to change imposed it like the powers that be imposed a ban on capital punishment against the then public’s wishes. No one had the moral backbone… oh heck I’m sounding like Dad…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Suzanne says:

        Perhaps your Dad had a point. This food subject has had me thinking for days. One thought that kept reoccurring was as children we didn’t have free access to “treats” e.g. homemade biscuits etc. Which was most probably a financial move than controlling our calorie intake. Fruit on the neighbours trees was a different matter. Tax the baddies and take GST off fruit and vegetables is what NZ should be doing. I had better go for a walk and not be tempted to have something sweet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Yep, I’m pretty sure all was home cooked and the only chocolate we saw was when my gran came to stay.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Chel Owens says:

    I hadn’t realized how common takeout was for everyone till the current pandemic hit and ‘authorities’ were quick to reassure everyone that restaurants’ food was quite safe (to me, quite silly, considering one might catch ill from a sneezed-upon burger, yes?).

    We’ve turned to these places more out of necessity because of the move and the new baby, but everyone else seems to do so as an everyday activity.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pam Lazos says:

    It’s the quality of all food that’s gone downhill because our soil has degraded. It’s not as nutritious so we’re basically starving even when we’ve eaten. You can thank Monsanto, now Bayer, sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Fast food is full of sugar, salt, and fat, Geoff, not to mention the empty calories. Obesity is certainly a problem in the US and any attempt to regulate (even school lunches) is shot down by the “freedom” people. Obesity-related health issues are not fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Geoff, my boys have never really eaten takeaway. I don’t like it because its unhealthy and makes you fat. It contains chemicals that might give you cancer down the line. It was to protect my family’s health that I started doing my own baking and cooking from scratch when they were little. My boys have never had a McDonald’s burger. It is quite funny actually, as they are unique. I’ve never eaten McDonald’s either.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Elizabeth says:

    I walked to and from school in a neighborhood that prided itself on not being sullied by any commercial enterprises. I had no chance to buy anything. I remember the first MacDonald’s opening and being amazed that they called those things hamburgers.

    Liked by 1 person

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