Review: Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All American Meal

Eric Schlosser (2001)

This book recommendation comes with a warning: you will lose your appetite. You just may never eat another fast food sandwich again. Yes, there are the horror stories you’d expect about the quality of meat in a fast food burger, but the book goes way beyond that to explore the social, political and, of course, environmental impact of this global industry.

The genesis of the fast food industry is fascinating, from mom-and-pop snack shops on the roadside to billion-dollar conglomerates using marketing and laboratory science to entice customers. It’s interesting to learn how they put the “fast” in fast food and all that’s gone into ensuring just the right flavor for that golden french fry. The author also puts a human face on many of the stages in the food chain (sorry, couldn’t resist), from ranchers and chicken farmers to meat cutters, potato processors and restaurant employees. This is a compelling and disturbing book, and not always for the reasons you’d imagine.

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