I read Eric Schlosser's book "Fast Food Nation" in 2001, the year it was published, and the year it began its 2 year residence on the NYT bestseller list. Joan handed it to me and said: "you must read this." I was a vegetarian at the time, and fairly health conscious, so I hadn't been in a fast food joint in several years. After reading the book, I felt strongly that:
a) I would never, ever set food in a fast food joint ever again.
b) I was against the industrialization and commercializtion of the food supply.
c) There are a few, a very small few examples of compassionate capitalism; it is possible, if only greed weren't so seductive, so slippery and delicious (like a Big Mac, or a large fries, washed down with a supersized Coke).
That book was the beginning of my journey into the world of food and food politics.
The other night I attended a preview screening of the film of "Fast Food Nation," which is not a documentary but rather a narrative feature film written by Schlosser (and the director Richard Linklater of "Dazed and Confused" fame), inspired by the book. It is an ambitious and important and strange and ultimately (I think) unsuccessful movie. I am eager for it to come out so you all can see it and we can discuss it, because my head's in a bit of a muddle about it. In the meantime, for those of you who have not yet read the book, it is never too late. It only becomes more and more relevant; and if you are looking for a way to break yourself of your occcasional fast food habit, I guarantee this book will do the trick.
(in related news, I have not had a Diet Coke in 6 days, and have not used a pack of Equal in even more. Adios, fake sugar, we're through!)