My daily schedule has remained largely unchanged over the course of my life. Mostly, my day simply consists of fighting with my alarm clock in a struggle to sleep for an additional five minutes, dragging myself to school in a race against time to avoid another tardy that would certainly give me detention, returning home six hours later exhausted and in need of a nap, waking up in time for dinner, and then spending the rest of the night finishing homework that I neglected until 6:00. Rinse and repeat, day after day.
I barely ever spent time outside discovering my surroundings or watching the news to learn about events occurring in the world. I was, as my English teacher often likes to say, living under a rock. Thus, when the year was coming to a close and my English teacher asked the class to make a reading resolution, I was determined to change my ignorant lifestyle. With the new year, I decided that I was going to read an informative book that would teach me about the world around me.
Unlike many other Americans, I stuck with my resolution and picked up Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation”. What better way to learn about my surroundings, I thought, than to read a book that describes in great detail one of the most prevalent icons in American culture: fast food restaurants.
Everything You Need to Know About Fast Food Restaurants, and More!
Throughout the book, Eric Schlosser covers every aspect of the fast food industry, from its humble beginnings to its recent practices. He starts off by describing Carl N. Karcher and the McDonalds brothers, the two pioneers who defined the industry as it is today by developing highly-efficient restaurants that allowed customers to quickly purchase foods for cheap prices. Ray Kroc, another significant figure highlighted in Schlosser’s book, would later further the industry with advertising techniques targeted towards children. After reviewing the initiation and spearheads of fast food restaurants, Schlosser adapts more of a critical tone when analyzing the behind-the scenes actions of the industry. From the use of chemical substances that give the food an artificial taste to poor working conditions that require employees to operate dangerous machines for little compensation, many aspects of the fast food business are notably flawed and harmful to both the employee and the customer. Schlosser’s disclosure makes it clear that fast food restaurants have much to improve before becoming an acceptable workplace or place to eat.
Through detailed research and examination of fast food restaurants, Schlosser presents a complete picture of everything that occurs behind the counter of a typical Taco Bell or McDonald’s. Although instances of bias toward liberalism are evident at points, the amount of investigation Schlosser puts forth is nothing short of commendable as he travels across the country to examine the inner workings of the industry. Anyone looking for an analytical, informative read will not be disappointed.
Even though it is no secret that fast food is unhealthy, readers will also gain a better sense of exactly how harmful the food actually is. The issues the book addresses go beneath the surface of the food system, underscoring its impact on obesity and health issues across society. Readers, who have never considered the production of the food they put in their mouths, will certainly never look at a Big Mac the same way again.
Daniel Yu is a high school student at Novi High School. His favorite classes are English and Psychology, enjoying to read and write in his free time. He hopes to pursue a degree dealing with Linguistics or management.