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Summary And Review Of The Book Fast Food Nation By Eric Schlosser

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The book that I selected for my Summer Reading assignment was Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. It was published by HarperCollins in 2002, with 362 pages. I found this book very interesting.

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The book has two parts going into detail about the fast food business and the effects that it has had on present day society. The first part, went into detail about the rough, difficult, journey on how the fast food business all started. It went from serving food in fancy silverware, to serving food in paper, plastic and cardboard. Then further explained the struggle that the founders of all those fast food companies. People like the McDonald brothers or Carl Karcher, who went through a great deal of suffering, just to provide something that would beneficiary for the American people.

Fast Food Nation provided insight on the ups and downs on how the fathers of fast food grew the most fast growing business here in America. They began by looking for the things that would bring more business for their company, then figured out that way to bring more customer is through a child, because when children see ads on Television, they somehow drag their parents into the restaurant, giving the business two or more customers. The second part went into detail about the chemical components that make the food that they serve taste so “good”. Scientist would spend days in their labs trying to come up with substitute flavors for original foods like chicken. They had to substitute with chemical ingredients because the actual ingredients could not be preserved for a long time without spoiling. But one of the main conditions faced were those of ones that Ranchers faced considering the new economy, and the dangers of being a rancher. The working conditions for Ranchers worsened, and fast food has started to spread across America. The author’s purposes for writing Fast Food Nation were very clear. Schlosser wrote the book for two reasons. The first reason being to provide insight to readers on what they are consuming in their bodies. The main goal being to show them what is inside the food that people eat on a daily basis. What society is eating is what is causing obesity percentages to increase without them even knowing. Secondly was to inform people how the fast food business began in the first place. It began with the journey that the founding fathers of fast food embarked on.

Continuing on with their lives as if they were normal human beings after their business became successful. Fast Food Nation showed that even though they made it there were still some difficulties. Showed how things have changed since they started their businesses. The author intended to write this book to exploit all the secrets behind the fast food business. He wanted to give caution to the American people in a way that they would understand and show them, that what they eat, can cause damage to their bodies in a way that exceeds their imagination. To tell the story of thousands of people who died, or got injured working in those terrible conditions which brought those companies where they are today. I think the author’s intent to write the book was based on his urge from him to want to dig deeper. He wanted to learn more about the secrets of the fast food business. He wanted to learn what made people so addicted to those foods, what made people crave these foods. He wanted to help other people see the things that he sees.

Fast Food Nation was a good read, but at the same time was a bad one. The reason I liked Fast Food Nation was because it gave me insight on things I never knew about the things that I eat. It told me about what they use to make the food and how they make it. It changed how I thought about the things that I ate from restaurants like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Carl’s Jr. It made me more aware about the things I put in my body, because I wanted to know that it wouldn’t harm me in anyway. However, I didn’t like reading it because in the second part, it didn’t catch my attention. It just made the rest of the book seem boring. When reading the second part it made me fall asleep after reading about 5 pages. In the first part it had me captivated. It made me think about what it would have felt like to be part of the evolution of fast food. The second part of the book was as equally interesting, but I felt he didn’t plan to write for different kinds of audiences.

This book can be analyzed through the five themes of Geography is used in four ways in Fast Food Nation. There is Region, Place, Human-environment interaction, and Movement. It deals with Region because there are potato farms, and plantations being added almost every week because they wish to be able to produce more produce quicker. It also deals with region because every time restaurants open, they knock down trees and chase away wildlife just to expand their businesses. Then it deals with Human-environment interaction in many ways. It deals with it in three ways. Adaptation, modification, and dependency. It deals with adaptation because the community adapts to having a foreign place in their area. Next, it deals with modification because the people expanding fast food business are modifying other people’s environment. Lastly, it deals with dependency because now that other people have modified the environment, they have to depend on the new environment that they modified. Next is Movement. It deals with movement because the fast food business is always expanding. The business is always looking for ways to make their business larger than competitors. Another reason why it deals with movement is because fast food is beginning to spread worldwide which is causing people and places to begin to adapt to different people, and different places.

In Fast Food Nation, there were three universal lessons. The first being that fast food is unhealthy for your body. In the book there are many examples to support this claim like in the book where it says”As if things weren’t good enough, consumers also dropped all pretense of wanting healthy food.” This quote is important because it addresses how unhealthy food of today is It is common knowledge that fast food is unhealthy, but there is always a little voice in one’s’ head claiming that they will be “healthier” before just giving in.” Another important eye opening quote is “Open your refrigerator, your freezer, your kitchen cupboards, and look at the labels on your food. You’ll find “natural flavor” or “artificial flavor” in just about every list of ingredients.

The similarities between these two broad categories of flavor are far more significant than their differences. Both are man-made additives that give most processed food most of its taste.” Further proving that the food people are taste isn’t even what they think it is. Another universal lesson that it reveals the subject of animal cruelty. In the book it says “The Chicken McNugget turned a bird that once had to be carved at a table into something that could easily be eaten behind the wheel of a car.” It also mentions” A chemical analysis of McNuggets by a researcher at Harvard Medical School found that their “fatty acid profile” more closely resembled beef than poultry. They were cooked in beef tallow, like McDonald’s fries. The chain soon switched to vegetable oil, adding “beef extract” to McNuggets during the manufacturing process in order to retain their familiar taste.” Proving that the animal must have been poked and prodded to bring out the final product. The last universal lesson is that while the fast food business grows you begin to see that you can tell the difference between the rich and the poor. You can also begin to see where the conditions for the poor begin to worsen. In Fast Food Nation it says “No other industry in the United States has a workforce so dominated by adolescents. About two-thirds of the nation’s fast food workers are under the age of twenty.

Teenagers open the fast food outlets in the morning, close them at night, and keep them going at all hours in between. Even the managers and assistant managers are sometimes in their late teens. Unlike Olympic gymnastics — an activity in which teenagers consistently perform at a higher level than adults — there’s nothing about the work in a fast food kitchen that requires young employees. Instead of relying upon a small, stable, well-paid, and well-trained workforce, the fast food industry seeks out part-time, unskilled workers who are willing to accept low pay.

Teenagers have been the perfect candidates for these jobs, not only because they are less expensive to hire than adults, but also because their youthful inexperience makes them easier to control. “Why else would teenagers have to work so hard. It’s because that’s the only job available for them since they’re still young In conclusion, Fast Food Nation was a very eye opening book. The author did a very good job of analyzing and researching all the important aspects of our everyday life (diet wise). It opened readers eyes (including my own) to be cautionary of the items we put in our body.

11 February 2020

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