Fast Food Nation, Ten Years Later

Some weeks ago, the Daily Beast ran an excerpt from Eric Schlosser’s Afterword to the 2012 edition of his book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All American Meal.

Even though, in some ways, little has changed since the book was first published a decade ago, Schlosser is hopeful that there is real change afoot–that ten years from now the book might actually be outdated:

“Everything that I’ve learned since Fast Food Nation was published has made me more, not less, optimistic about the possibilities for change. I believe, more than ever before, that nothing about our current food system was inevitable. And when things aren’t inevitable, that means things don’t have to be the way they are. I hope that 10 years from now this book really is irrelevant—and that the world it describes, so full of greed and lacking in compassion, is just a bad memory.”

If you’ve never read this book, it’s really worth reading–or, at the very least, seeing the cheezy film based on it (yeah, it’s a propo piece, but the information’s good, and watching the film takes less time than reading the book.)

Or, at the very, very least, read Eric Schlosser’s piece. Do it!

About Rachel Marie Stone
  • Tim

    Thanks for the link, Rachel. This was an interesting point: “by some odd coincidence, the annual cost of the nation’s obesity epidemic—about $168 billion, as calculated by researchers at Emory University—is the same as the amount of money Americans spent on fast food in 2011.”

    In one sense, that suggests that every time our economy spends a dollar on fast food then another dollar should be budgeted for treating the effects of eating that fast food. It’s not a perfect correlation, of course, because not all fast food leads to obesity (nor is all obesity caused by fast food), but I suspect the cost of treating obesity would go down if money were spent on healithier eating.

    You know the other thing about fast food? It diverts us from much better tasting food. I’m not talking about trading a burger for beef bourguignon. I mean foregoing a fast food chain’s burger in favor of a well-made burger at a corner hamburger stand. There’s a place in the next town over called The Burger Barn and it has outstanding burgers and shakes, far better tasting than what you get at a chain. And I’ll tell you, if I want a burger (and I do want a burger much more often than I end up indulging that desire) I’d much rather get it from a place that does it right.

    In fact, one of my tests for a new restaurant is to order the burger and see how they do. Good burgers aren’t easy – while bad ones are a cinch – so I figure if they can do a burger right then they probably do ok with the rest of the menu and I’ll be back. But if they can’t get a burger right, then I probably won’t bother returning.

    Tim

    P.S. You can tell that I like burgers, right?

  • Tim

    Thanks for the link, Rachel. This was an interesting point: “by some odd coincidence, the annual cost of the nation’s obesity epidemic—about $168 billion, as calculated by researchers at Emory University—is the same as the amount of money Americans spent on fast food in 2011.”

    In one sense, that suggests that every time our economy spends a dollar on fast food then another dollar should be budgeted for treating the effects of eating that fast food. It’s not a perfect correlation, of course, because not all fast food leads to obesity (nor is all obesity caused by fast food), but I suspect the cost of treating obesity would go down if money were spent on healithier eating.

    You know the other thing about fast food? It diverts us from much better tasting food. I’m not talking about trading a burger for beef bourguignon. I mean foregoing a fast food chain’s burger in favor of a well-made burger at a corner hamburger stand. There’s a place in the next town over called The Burger Barn and it has outstanding burgers and shakes, far better tasting than what you get at a chain. And I’ll tell you, if I want a burger (and I do want a burger much more often than I end up indulging that desire) I’d much rather get it from a place that does it right.

    In fact, one of my tests for a new restaurant is to order the burger and see how they do. Good burgers aren’t easy – while bad ones are a cinch – so I figure if they can do a burger right then they probably do ok with the rest of the menu and I’ll be back. But if they can’t get a burger right, then I probably won’t bother returning.

    Tim

    P.S. You can tell that I like burgers, right?


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