Fast Food Nation – a book review

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

On a warm Saturday when I was about 5 years old, I sat outside a McDonald’s restaurant along with my brothers, my mother and my aunt. We kids ate Filet -O- Fish sandwiches and the adults ate Big Macs. For years, I would often enjoy fast food meals like these in the company of family and friends. Little did I know then how many fast food companies (and others) want sweet moments like these to be associated with their brands. I also didn’t know how bad many fast food companies operate.

I recently finished reading the book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. Quickly I discovered that behind the attractive façade of many fast food companies exists an industry that functions in very damaging ways. The author not only explores the process of creating a fast food but he also explains how the industry has influenced the world. Schlosser reveals how this inexpensive, convenient and deliciously fattening food comes at a serious price to consumer health, restaurant employees, slaughterhouse workers, ranchers, growers, society and the environment. The practices and influence of this industry contribute to problems such as poverty, workplace violence, unsafe food, and the childhood obesity.

The book Fast Food Nation has inspired me in two ways. I am inspired by Schlosser’s ability to blend hard-hitting facts, vivid observations and dry humor. Schlosser puts a human face to the issues raised in his book by telling the stories of people at different levels in the industry. Throughout his book, Schlosser’s voice remains informative while expressing his genuine concern for human health, safety and well-being. Creatively, I am inspired by his talent and skills.

Fast Food Nation also inspires me to improve my health. This book is now part of a collection of literature and films that have greatly influenced my diet. Not long ago, I had a huge craving for a Filet -O- Fish sandwich. I think part of this craving was a subconscious nostalgia for my childhood. As I drove to the nearby McDonald’s, I remembered what I had read in Fast Food Nation and I drove to the grocery store instead. After buying a few ingredients, I created my own fish sandwich that was healthier and more satisfying than one I’ve had from the fast food chain. I was proud of myself for not taking the easy route and making a better decision for myself.

For related topics check out these films

Super Size Me

Food, Inc.

Fast Food Nation

Consuming Kids – The Commercialization of Childhood

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