Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Summary: Everyone frets about the nutritional implications of excessive dining at America’s fast-food emporia, but few grasp the significance of how fast-food restaurants have fundamentally changed the way Americans eat. Schlosser documents the effects of fast food on America’s economy, its youth culture, and allied industries, such as meatpacking, that serve this vast food production empire. Starting with a young woman who makes minimum wage working at a Colorado fast-food restaurant, Schlosser relates the oft-told story of Ray Kroc’s founding of McDonald’s. The author also tells about the development of the franchise method of business ownership and the health and nutrition implications of fast-food consumption. In a striking chapter, Schlosser gives a glimpse into the little-known world of chemically engineered flavorings, both natural and artificial. The coming together of so many diverse social, scientific, and economic trends in a single industry makes this book a relevant, compelling read and a cautionary tale of the many risks generated by this ubiquitous industry.
My thoughts –
I decided to read this because I was completely enthralled with Morgan Spurlock’s movie Supersize Me. I expected Schlosser’s take on the fast food industry to be a lot like Spurlock’s movie; mostly about how fast food makes you unhealthy, fat, creates heart attacks and high cholesteral and all that. What I didn’t expect was what I got: an honest to goodness examination of the history of the fast food industry and its impact on almost everything you can imagine in the world today, from socialization of our children to the business side of it to the way animals are treated and taken care of at the meatpacking plants. I learned so much from this book and I was not bored one bit. Reading this book has made me take a second glance at what types of food I’m eating, where it is coming from, and who (or what) has suffered to create what I am about to eat. I haven’t become a vegetarian (yet) but I definitely think more carefully about what I put in my mouth having read the book. I really, really loved it and would highly recommend reading it.