Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal written by Eric Schlosser in Boston, Massachusetts during January of 2001 with 356 pages is a very eye opening book that I will not soon forget. It begins by telling the story of the founding fathers of fast food and how the concept came to be. Fast Food Nation is divided into two sections: “The American Way”, which shares the origins of the fast food chains and “Meat and Potatoes” which gives specific information about how food used to be made in small chains, and how they are mass produced today. The book begins with the origins of fast food in California thanks to Carl N. Karcher and the McDonalds brothers, and soon leads to the hand off to Walt Disney and Ray Kroc. Most of this section contains the history of fast food and the ideas behind the once independent restaurants that have so suddenly turned into billion dollar companies. The second section begins with a discussion about the chemical components that make the food taste the way it does, and continues with the life of many teenage fast food workers and the terribly dangerous industry of meat packing and slaughtering, some of which we consume every day without really knowing how it made it from the grazing fields to our plates. Schlosser concludes the book with stories of how the rest of the world is catching up to America’s obesity rates and how our large dependency on fast food has influenced not only our habits, but that of other countries worldwide.
After reading this book I better understand how greatly fast food has not only affected the United States, but the entire world. I think that by writing this book Schlosser was not trying to turn the world against fast food, but to share the huge impact that is has had on our American society hoping that some people take the information seriously. This is a growing problem everywhere, and even though we all know it is easier and cheaper to eat from a paper bag every day, this is degrading America; from what we were once known as the people who get the job done to now, a bunch of lazy obese people. I think that Schlosser describes our situation perfectly when he says:
Over the last three decades, fast food has infiltrated every nook and cranny of American society. An industry that began with a handful of modest hot dog and hamburger stands in southern California has spread to every corner of the nation…Americans now spend more money on fast food than that on higher education, personal computers, computer software or new cars. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos and recorded music combined. (Pg3)
This statistic should prove to America that fast food is slowly taking reign of our world without us even knowing it, and every year it only gets worse. There are so many greater opportunities that people could fulfill, but so many are held back to settle for the minimum wage fast food cashier or fry cook. Not only is fast food fattening and unhealthy, Schlosser also describes that the world is lying straight to our faces about the meatpacking industry and its stability. Besides French fries, hamburgers are the most commonly ordered items at fast food restaurants, and with all of the people that drive in and out every year of the many chains it is hard to imagine how much ground beef America actually consumes every year, but where does it come from? The ground beef that