"A Dharma Dog...Hold the Mustard"

Utne Reader

Grazing, the latest term for the fast-food phenomenon of constant munching instead of eating three squares a day, is another sign of fragmented American society.

In the Boston Review (Dec. 1985), Sidney W. Mintz, an anthropology professor at Johns Hopkins University, reflects on how food technologists have made food ever more available and convenient, in many cases by increasing the amount of sugar and salt it contains. Also, as eating has become something society does constantly, it is more and more something done alone.

Mintz writes: "Meals that must be eaten by everyone at the same time require advancement, postponement or cancellation of competing events by the participants...social eating is precisely that: social, involving communication, give and take, a search for consensus, some common sense about individual needs, compromising through attending the needs of others."

But if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Vegetarian Times (March 1985) reports that nutritious, vegetarian food is now available in fast food form at McDharma's, a new chain founded by Santa Cruz, California, entrepreneur Clark Heinrich. McDharma's customers can get vegetarian imitations of their favorite foods, such as the Brahma Burger, the Big Monk or the Dharma Dog. "...And, although we have a full line of sugar-free desserts," Heinrich told the interviewer, "we also have some quite popular desserts just loaded with sugar. It makes people feel like, 'Hey, this is a regular restaurant.' "