Sometimes when I’m eating something I think about the food I’m eating and what goes into it. And then my mind expands and I ponder all of the people who are eating the same thing that day and just how much must be done to provide the quantity of food needed to meet the demand.
For instance, I eat a hamburger and I ponder how many people eat hamburgers every day and what it would take to provide all of those hamburgers.
Did you know that McDonald’s sells almost 6.5 million hamburgers. A day. Think about that. Roll it around a bit. That’s over 2 billion hamburgers a year. And that’s just McDonald’s. Where the hell does all of that beef come from?
OK. I know. It’s questionable whether a McDonald’s hamburger is actually a beef product, but let’s just accept for the moment that it is. Over 2 billion hamburgers a year for just one, admittedly large, fast food chain. Add to that number all of the hamburgers made by the other fast food chains and restaurants of all types and it becomes pretty much unfathomable how there can be that much beef out there. (Not to mention, steaks, ribs, and everything else that comes from a steer.)
Of course, it’s not just hamburgers.
What about pizza? The estimate I saw was that Americans consume over 3 billion pizzas each year. 3 billion!!!!! I love me my pizza and I’m probably responsible for a few thousand of those each year. No, seriously, I probably am. It’s kind of funny, according to one website, the average American eats 46 slices, or 23 pounds, of pizza a year. Hell, that’s two weeks for me. But still. Where the hell does all of the flour and cheese and tomatoes and pepperoni come from for all of those pizzas.
One last example.
Americans consumed on average 22 pounds of ice cream in 2014, for total ice cream production of almost 900 gallons that year. All that milk, all that dairy, and sugar and chocolate and nuts and everything else that goes into a gallon of ice cream.
This amazes and astounds and baffles me. The next time you go to a restaurant, or make yourself a dinner, imagine for a moment the millions of other people who are eating the very same thing that day and try to figure out how that can be possible. Order, or make a salad, and imagine where all of the lettuce is grown that goes into all of the salads that are consumed every day in all of the restaurants and homes across the country. Go into a grocery store and see all of those products lined up on shelves and recognize that there are thousands of grocery stores scattered around the country (and the blog) that are stocked just the same. How does this happen? Where does it all come from? The number of chickens that must be raised and slaughtered to feed the masses. The number of pigs raised for sausage and bacon and ribs and chops and who knows what else. How can it possibly be sustainable?