2014's fast food atrocities
Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.
Modern Farmer, written for “anyone who wants to know more about how food reaches their plate,” debuted a new series of confessionals from agricultural workers. The first installment features Odilia Chavez, a 40-year-old undocumented farm worker in Madera, Calif. (Chavez OK’d the use of her full name, explaining: “Agriculture is dependent on undocumented workers. We need the money from the farmers, and the farmers need our hands.”)
Chavez, who’s been working in the fields since 1999, has encountered sexual harassment and attempts from contractors to take advantage of her undocumented status. But her account of the day-to-day toil that goes into farm work is striking in and of itself:
I’d never worked in a field. It was really hard at first — working outdoors with the heat, the daily routine. But I’ve certainly learned. In a typical year, I prune grapevines starting in April, and pick cherries around Madera in May. I travel to Oregon in June to pick strawberries, blueberries and blackberries on a farm owned by Russians. I take my 14-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son with me while they’re on their summer break. They play with the other kids, and bring me water and food in the field. We’ll live in a boarding house with 25 rooms for some 100 people, and everyone lines up to use the bathrooms. My kids and I share a room for $270 a month.
…The work is hard — but many jobs are hard. The thing that bothers me more is the low pay. With cherries, you earn $7 for each box, and I’ll fill 30 boxes in a day — about $210 a day. For blueberries, I’ll do 25 containers for up to $5 each one — $125 a day. With grapes, you make 30 cents for each carton, and I can do 400 cartons a day – $120 a day. Tomatoes are the worst paid: I’ll pick 100 for 62 cents a bucket, or about $62 a day. I don’t do tomatoes much anymore. It’s heavy work, you have to bend over, run to turn in your baskets, and your back hurts. I say I like tomatoes — in a salad. Ha. With a lot of the crops, the bosses keep track of your haul by giving you a card, and punching it every time you turn in a basket.
“I do have a lot of pride in my work, though,” Chavez adds. “It can be fun. We joke around.” Her entire story is worth reading over at Modern Farmer.
Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email email@example.com.More Lindsay Abrams.
Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.
KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.
Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.
Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.
Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.