Fast Food Nation
Now the subject of a film by Richard Linklater, Eric Schlosser's explosive bestseller Fast Food Nation: What the All-American Meal is Doing to the World tells the story of our love affair with fast food.
Britain eats more fast food than any other country in Europe. It looks good, tastes…
Why read it?
4 authors picked Fast Food Nation as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
In Fast Food Nation, journalist Eric Schlosser traces the growth of fast food across the US and shows how franchises have standardized both agricultural and social life in the process.
As the demand for McDonalds’ fries and hamburgers soared, for example, farmers adapted potato and meat production to strict new specifications. Similarly, fast food franchises reshaped labor practices in the process.
Schlosser’s book was the first to reveal the extent to which fast food changed environmental, social, and health landscapes in the US. And, more important, we see how much fast food—which promises choice—has instead reduced agricultural biodiversity and food…
In this food industry investigative classic, Eric Schlosser explores fast food, but also the meat industry’s intertwining ties to it. That’s where I went back to explore and later cite in my book, after reading Fast Food Nation so many years before. I found reading the details of the union standoff at mafia-affiliated Iowa Beef Packers as well as how the unhealthy processing of meat into cheap and quick-to-cook food to be crucial to my work. Schlosser explores how meat became a fast-food-driven pop culture phenomenon, and that’s where I took the baton.
I think of this 2001 expose as the granddaddy of this genre. The book reveals how “fast food has infiltrated every nook and cranny of American society” and the savage consequences of that long reach. Sure, we know fast food helped turn us into people who eat empty calories on the run. But the impact of fast food is much broader and deeper, affecting meatpacking, potato farming, minimum wage labor laws, urban sprawl, and even the tastes our tongues crave. It’s a tribute to the book’s revelations that many of the reviews ended on the same note of “you’ll never…
Food is so much more than fuel for the body. It's bound up with love and pleasure, nature and identity, memory and meaning. So we pay a high price when what we eat is cultivated, cooked, and consumed in a hurry. This book opened my eyes to the full horrors of the fast-food juggernaut. It also inspired me to devote the first chapter of In Praise of Slow to food.
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