Culinary culture disintegrates


Customers browse QT’s various foodstuffs on a Thursday morning.

If you go through Midtown today, on the corner of Peachtree and 6th Street, you’ll see a QuikTrip. But this is no ordinary QuikTrip. This particular establishment exclusively sells the food products you might glance over at on your way to the restroom at one of their normal locations.

“That’s crazy,” said Chef Kyle Hires, a Culinary Arts teacher at Decatur High School.

QT boasts “fresh to order food, premium specialty drinks, and tasty frozen treats” at all of their locations, all without needing to do anything but stop by and pick it up.

“We recognize that the world we live in is changing,” Mike Thornburg, QuikTrip’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs told What Now Atlanta in an interview. “There aren’t a lot of options for people inside the city as far as convenience stores go.”

This mindset is not only that of QuikTrip. Nearly all fast food restaurants have implemented some strategy as far as modernizing their take on their products in order to keep the customers guilt-free and coming back.

“The main issue is time,” Hires said. “There’s not enough time in the day to do what needs to be done, and part of that is cooking a quality meal.”

A group of restaurants on the Decatur Square.
Organic restaurants like the ones here are always a common sight in Decatur.

Ever since instant foods and fast food restaurants were introduced to the public in the early 1900s, people have flocked to them because they’re quick and easy, regardless of the health issues.

“90 seconds in the microwave, just popping it in the oven,” Hires said. “It’s what people can do.”

Decatur is a unique city in that there are organic restaurants almost everywhere you go and people enjoy eating at them, but even we aren’t immune to the lure of convenience. The closer to the main parts of Decatur you go, you’ll still see fast-food chain restaurants everywhere.

“At times, the restaurants that do take the time to use fresh, organic ingredients,” Hires said, “they may suffer.”

Because Decatur is so unique in the fact that its citizens care so much about organic foods, City Schools of Decatur is doing its part to encourage students to eat locally grown organic foods through programs like Farm to School or its own Culinary Arts program. It’s an effort to teach students about healthy eating before they graduate and head out into the world.

Let’s hope it sticks.