18 Things You Didn't Know About The History Of Fast Food

    For something so fast, it was slow goin'.

    1. 24-hour noodle stands were the first fast food restaurants.

    2. Fast food has a long history of being gross and sleazy.

    3. Oysters were fast food once. Yep, oysters.

    4. Thank Thomas Jefferson every time you upgrade your sandwich to a meal.

    In 1802, Jefferson had "potatoes served in the French manner" at the White House and subsequently introduced French fries to America. Now, it's the second most popular fast food item. Thanks, Founding Father!

    5. The earliest fast food joints were vending machines.

    Insert coins, receive food. Automats, vending machine restaurants, were invented by Max Sielaff in Berlin in 1896. Joseph Horn and James Hardart opened their NYC version, Horn & Hardart, in 1902, thereby bringing "fast food" to America. Wonder if Sielaff ever saw this coming.

    6. White Castle was the first modern fast food chain in America.

    In 1921, Walt A. Anderson and Billy Ingram opened the first modern fast food chain, White Castle, in Wichita, KS. Once credited with overturning the stigma against ground beef, White Castle is now best known for this stoner classic.

    7. Drive-Ins preceded drive-thrus and were a HUGE thing.

    8. Colonel Sanders' original recipe is guarded in a vault.

    9. McDonald's makes burgers like Ford makes cars.

    10. Burger King, inspired by Mickey D's, made things new.

    Founded in 1953 by Keith J. Kramer and Matthew Burns in Miami, FL, Burger King sought a new approach to fast food. Rather than an assembly line burger, they chose to cater to the picky eater. Like the immortal words of Bon Qui Qui state, "Have it your way, but don't get crazy."

    11. Animal Style changed the game in 1961.

    In-N-Out is founded in Baldwin Park, CA in 1948 by Harry and Esther Snyder. But the Animal Style burger is first made at the request of customer in 1961, now a fixture on their "secret" menu, which is more of a "if you don't know, you're don't know nothing" menu.

    12. Taco Bell was started by a white guy.

    In 1962, Taco Bell is started in Downey, CA by Glen Bell. Their mission was to make the price of everything around the extravagant figure of $1. Let's all take a moment and stare at the picture of Glen Bell wearing a sombrero.

    13. Dave Thomas ripped off Wendy's from another chain.

    14. A Guatemalan woman invented the Happy Meal.

    15. The original BK Kids Club was missing an Asian.

    Burger King introduced The Burger King Kids Club Gang, intended to be multi-ethnic and relatable to all. They were missing a few crucial minority groups, namely Asians. They added Jazz, the Asian female trumpet player, in the early 2000s.

    16. Pizza Hut might have stolen stuffed crust from a Brooklyn dude.

    In 1995, Pizza Hut unveiled their stuffed crust pizza and was sued for a billion dollars by Anthony Mongiella, who had patented the idea in 1987. Despite the controversy, the deliciousness of stuffed crust pizza can't be denied.

    17. Fine dining has done fast food — and succeeded.

    18. Of 196 countries in the world, McDonald's is in 119 of them.

    Love it or hate it, fast food has played a hand in shaping history. So the next time you chow down, remember, you have history in your mouth.