Mar 14 2010

Fast Food Nation

Published by at 7:39 pm under Reflection Blog,Uncategorized

The fast food industry is a booming business and has become a necessary part of American culture. With the rise of the automobile the demand for food on the go was inspired the creations of fast food restaurants. In Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser reports on every detail of the Fast Food industry from its historical beginnings to the sickening details he uncovers about really goes on behind the scenes in a nation of fast food industry.
Schlosser starts off by giving us a tour back in time to when fast food restaurants were in their infancy and shows how simple principles; the same applied to the automobile, open up opportunities for fast food to emerge in to American culture. The McDonald Brothers created this new method preparing food, “They divided the food preparation into separate task to perform by different workers. For the first time, the guiding principles of a factory assembly were applied to the commercial kitchen”(20). This and many other changes allowed working class families to now be able to afford fast food. Schlosser later on his book shows the consequences of too much fast food on American youth and how McDonald’s (and others) are able to continue luring in families.
With families now able to afford eat at fast food joints, corporations needed to find a way to persuade them to do so. Kids became the driving force if fast food restaurants, which marketed meals that included a “free” toy inside. So parents began feeding their children these meals and as these children grew up despite what else changed there was always a McDonald’s somewhere nearby. “These ‘comfort foods’ became a source of pleasure and reassurance, a fact that fast food chains work hard to promote. Childhood memories of Happy Meals can translate in frequent adult visits”(123). This has created a massive consumer market of fast food lovers and as Sadie pointed out in class it’s not only reminiscing that makes fast food appealing, it is also the conveniences of being everywhere and always opened. So basically sometimes we are almost forced to choose to either consume fast food or starve until we make it home.
Schlosser in his book also brings like to the working conditions, health concerns, and treatment of employees at these fast food chains. Schlosser’s book resembles a modern day remaking of The Jungle, and some of the issues remain same, as they were when Upton Sinclair penned his book in 1906. Yet, as discussed in class we still consume fast food no matter what gruesome details are unveiled about it. This industry is difficult to change as with Nickel & Dimed, the workers are often lower class and their jobs are on the line if they even remotely draw attention to the problems going on inside the fast food world. The capitalist society that has fostered the big industry fast food chains, as in class discussion, care little about their workers or the animals and can treat both inhumanely because in their eyes they are assets that are easily replaceable. In class we brought up the fact that fast food chains are adding “healthy” alternatives in order to not lose their customers to who are becoming aware of the unhealthiness in what their eat, yet, many in class and I as well think this is all a distraction. Fast food chains are not dealing with the issues that have been addressed; they are merely adding things to distract from the problems still occurring.
I thought this was a very interesting book and I didn’t realized just how sociological our connection with our food is. This book also corresponds with a lot we have read about corporations/capitalism versus consumers and the lower class. I think severe government reform on this industry will be the only way we see fast food chains change their practices.

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