Quarter Life Crisis

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Fast Food Nation

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>Fast Food Nation Book Cover I am not a big fan of big corporations or fast food. Unlike those of other big corporations, the outlets of fast food chains can even make you feel sick physically by doing nothing but pass them – one of the virtues of frying fat. I had to walk past a McDonalds every morning on my way to the bus stop during the last months of my stay in England. Having to stomach that smell first thing in the morning does put you off the food they are trying to sell you.

Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation sums up all of the things you always suspected: marketing aimed at little children, larger children being exploited as the workforce, the nutritional value, the influence on farming and food processing. Mostly it's not too surprising, although I found the bits describing the working conditions in any stage of manufacturing a fast food meal very depressing: While you may recover quickly from the nausea fast food meals frequently cause, the people who produce them may not recover from the damage their jobs may inflict on them.

The book gives a lot of details and history, not to forget the occasional personal touch. It also features about 70 pages of notes and bibliography to back the facts stated in the book.

Eric Schlosser goes at great lengths to not condemn all the obviously bad things right away. In many places he doesn't have to, as you feel compelled to do it yourself. At the end he also stresses that consumers can influence corporate behemoths. Both with our purse and by scaring them to have bad press. If fast food punters find a way to mouth their concerns over working conditions in the industry, say, and they make clear they mean (non-)business, the corporations will most likely follow the Dollar (Euro or whatever) bills like a donkey will follow its carrot.

I'm not quite as optimistic as Mr. Schlosser, but that surely is an interesting perspective.

I found the book a bit lenghty, so I'll offer a short summary: If you go for fast food be nice to everyone serving you. They're just poor buggers and they're the ones who touch your food before you get it. Order a burger, as it is among the most healthy and least-profit items on the menu – if you don't mind having 'traces' of manure and the odd worker's finger with the meat, that is. Bon Appetit.

Bookmark: 13-12-2001 Massa Centro to Pisa Centrale by train.

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

June 6, 2003, 23:09

Tagged as book, business, eric schlosser, fast food, fast food nation, food, junk food.

Comments

Comment by brian: User icon

such a great book. part of the reason i don’t eat meat anymore. try “Diet for a New America” if you want to find out even more horrid things about the meat production industry in America.

June 8, 2003, 0:49

Comment by ssp: User icon

(Not) Eating meat is an interesting topic. There are so many pros and cons and reasons why people do or don’t.

I quite like eating meat. But I’m having significantly less of it since I started living on my own. Decent meat is rather expensive.

I assume (hope) that the food production industry isn’t quite as bad in Germany as it is in the U.S., although I am sure they try. The joy of more regulations.

I’ll keep the book in mind, thanks.

June 8, 2003, 17:40

Comment by Tarantula: User icon

After reading Fast Food Nation, I’ve decided to eat as much beef/meat as possible. Kill those animals! I love it.

December 14, 2004, 21:43

Comment by Tarantula: User icon

I was just kidding about that ‘Kill those animals! I love it.’ That was very rude of me. I’m sorry.

January 4, 2005, 4:17

Comment by hvkvhkv h: User icon

yes that was quite disturbing Tarantula, sharpies ?

August 24, 2007, 7:19

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