FAST FOOD NATION

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2003/06/05 18:50:36 (permalink)

FAST FOOD NATION

I read it, did YOU? Once in a time way back when, I was a general mgr. of a FFR (Wendy's). I was not suprised by anything I read in this book. Are there any others out there who may have comments?
#1

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    Ted Steak
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/05 19:37:08 (permalink)
    I thought that book was a great read...didn't stop me from enjoying a burger from McDonalds, Wendy's, etc.
    #2
    CheeseWit
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/05 20:31:53 (permalink)
    I read it two summers ago. Made me think twice about eating at McDonald's again.
    #3
    BBQ Barney
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/05 21:09:23 (permalink)
    Read it, and it confirmed what I suspected. Haven't eaten a fast food burger in over twenty years. There's too much good roadfood, including burgers, to bother with the likes of McDonald's, etc.
    #4
    muzzlehatch
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/06 01:34:12 (permalink)
    Want to read it, but haven't yet. Don't like to support McDonalds et al., I mainly use them for their restrooms (always open & clean!) and sometimes coffee. Their labor practices, and what they and other megacorporations are doing to America and the world is pretty sickening. Walmart is the worst, McDs, Burger King etc aren't far behind. I know Wendys probably isn't much better as a socially-conscious business but I have eaten there a few times in the past five years, because the food overall I think is a cut above the other national chains. Just a small cut; I'll take a small local burger hut or even regional chain (Culvers, Fatburger, etc) over the big guys any day. Keep the money in your town!
    #5
    stanpnepa
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/06 07:14:07 (permalink)
    Muzzlehatch, you are right! And that's certainly a big reason why I started looking for mom and pop food in college. If the Fast Food Nation food is "not the best" than why give these groups more money to proliferate? It would be like rewarding them for "blanding" American food---and if you or I (true foodies) won't take a stance, who will?
    #6
    RC51Mike
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/06 08:06:19 (permalink)
    Before I read it, I vowed I would not ever go to a McD's again, just due to the bland, mechanized food and service. After reading FFN, I'd rather starve to death than eat in any of the chains. Sadly, the book points out that not much has changed since "The Jungle" and in terms of global domination, mass market appeal to the lowest common denominator, labor relations, marketing, government corruption and on and on, things have gotten worse. Let's face it too, with the possible exception of some of the small regional chains, all of them strive for the same business plan as McD's. It therefore, gets me unnerved when there are discussions here about chain restaurants as though they are somehow worthy of discussion. Hardees, Subway, Cracker Barrel, All you can eat?!, Enough! All I can think of for this type of food serviec is "Soylent Green."
    #7
    Cosmos
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/06 08:27:45 (permalink)
    When Mickey D came out with the chicken nuggets my college classmates bought some. Being architecture students we studied the design, and quickly realized that there isn't a simple recipe, but somewhere in a corporate vault there is a set of drawings and specifications detailing the exact shape, variety of shapes, the chicken content (low as possible), binder content (what is that stuff anyway?), and sodium count (high as possible). It struck us as being a feat of engineering not food. As my brother is fond of saying; "...and other convenient food-like substances"

    Years later my then 10 year old daughter got hooked on the little buggers. One day on the way to Syracuse we were deciding where to eat, and she saw the MacDonald's sign and insisted we go there. When we sat down with her nuggets I had her break one open and look at it. "Does that look like chicken to you"? Thank god that was the last chicken nugget meal she's ever had.

    I have heard interviews with the author of FFN on NPR describing the food flavor enhancement industry in New Jersey. I have yet to read the book, but fully intend to.
    #8
    keefer
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/06 09:10:47 (permalink)
    One of the most compelling books I have ever read about u.s. corporations. While I found it disheartening, I am not surprised. Some of the chapters about the meat packing industry reminded me about 'The Jungle', which I read in high school. Muzzlehatch's comments about Walmart's labor practices appear correct. If you read 'In Sam We Trust' by Ortega, you will observe some striking parallels between the labor practices of the fast food industry and Walmart.
    #9
    renfrew
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/06 11:47:19 (permalink)
    I read it and thoroughly enjoys the book. Having grown up in Jersey, I always wondered why it smelled so bad on the 'Pike in that area. Besides the refineries, it is also all the processed food!
    #10
    Julia I
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/08 10:19:20 (permalink)
    I haven't had the nerve to read FFN yet, but when I was in college (many years ago!), my sister worked for Arby's. The stories that she told me were enough to turn your stomach. I have never set foot in an Arby's again, and most other national chains are off my list as well. (I make an exception for regionals like Culver's.)
    #11
    kland01s
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/09 10:28:57 (permalink)
    Just finished FFN over the weekend. It didn't change my opinion because I had given up mass chains already, I don't agree with how McD has forced itself upon the world though some people don't seem to care. I have a friend who travels the world and just loves the fact that you can get McD, etc. anywhere. When she and her husband went to Luxor Eqypt they were thrilled that a KFC and Pizza Hut were there. I'm of the mind that if you can't experience local, regional foods,why travel?
    #12
    wanderingjew
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/09 12:07:19 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by kland01s

    I'm of the mind that if you can't experience local, regional foods,why travel?


    I completely agree with you. I've actually been described as "fanatical" when it comes to this. I am actually proud of the fact that on each and every road trip I've taken over the last 5 years, I have not gone to one single chain....Seriously...not one...no exceptions. My older brother does not hesitate to take his family to one chain after another. I remember on one visit we went to Wendy's for lunch and then Red Lobster for dinner. On our last visit we went to the Olive Garden. We grew up on Long Island and he takes his kids to Pizza Hut for cripes sake...Yuck!

    #13
    Julia I
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/09 12:10:15 (permalink)
    kland01s, I totally agree. But I have to admit, I'd have to see Mickey D's disappear. I love the fact that their bathrooms are always in the same place. You can slip in a side door, use the facilities, and then continue down the road to find that little fried chicken place that you heard about at roadfood.com.
    #14
    Liketoeat
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/09 14:39:38 (permalink)
    I just posted a note on a different forum saying I don't find anything inherently wrong with chains or franchise operations as such. There are good and bad chains just as there are good and bad independents, and I'm not going to forego a meal at a good restaurant just because it is a member of a chain or a franchise operation. I'd rather eat at a good chain or franchised place than at a bad independent. However, I must say that I certainly agree with kland01s, wanderingjew, and Julia I as to my disgust with people who when traveling insist on going ONLY to such places as Red Lobster, Olive Garden , KFC, Pizza Hut, etc. "because we know what it will be". I agree with you guys, why even go if you aren't going to get out on your own, do some exploring, find something different. Two jokes to me have always been Wendy's in the middle of the French Quarter and the Red Lobsters along the Gulf Coast. I know some people prefer guided tours to traveling/rambling on your own (frequently the same people who insist on only "known" restaurants), but that just "ain't my way to travel" for the same reason. Just more thoughts.
    #15
    Sundancer7
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/09 15:59:26 (permalink)
    I personally travel a lot. I am usually on four planes each week. Most of the time I am with other people and a lot of the are not adventureous. I have to select a place that is a moderation of what I personally desire.

    In addition there are places we stay that the only available restaurants close to the hotels are chains.

    Everytime there is an Outback or Carabba's (?), I try to persuade the group to do that.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #16
    Bushie
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/09 16:51:02 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Julia I

    ... But I have to admit, I'd have to see Mickey D's disappear. I love the fact that their bathrooms are always in the same place. You can slip in a side door, use the facilities, and then continue down the road ...



    Julia, I do that ALL the time. I used to feel guilty and order a small cup of coffee or something, but now I don't even bother...
    #17
    Oneiron339
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/12 08:52:09 (permalink)
    All you guys complain about FFN and the megacorporations and how they "forced" themselves on us is rather trite. Don't you know everyone has a CHOICE where they eat? And if McD's and the others were not getting feedback from the mindless millions who ate there every day, they would change to something more palatable. If you don't like it, DON"T eat there. Complain with your wallets and feet, go elsewhere! Besides this is supposed to be a site for road food, not chain food - there is a big difference. Stop the liberal mindset that everything is corporations' fault. Everything they do is based on choices made by consumers. Believe me, for all the horror stories mentioned about cleaning and sanitizing practices in the chain restaurants, there are an equal number coming from the mom and pop places too, maybe moreso, because they are on stricter budgets with more need to cut corners, etc. The main point here is there are good and bad in all restaurants and it usually comes down to the local or site manager who shows responsibility for his place that matters. Most of the fast food places have to maintain a set of criteria to keep their jobs whereas the local greasy spoon can get away with murder since the only ones they have to answer to are the local booards of health, and they are so understaffed they may visit once ayear if that. You'd be surprised at the practices at a large portion of "ethnic" places, who don't adhere to any regulations, and if they get closed down, reopen as something else with a different name.
    #18
    Liketoeat
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/12 09:42:22 (permalink)
    Oneiron, you are certainly right on with your message above, most especially the point that it comes down to the individual manager/owner of the establishment (whether independently owned or part of a chain) as to what that restaurant will be, and with your point regarding "ethnic" restaurants and their non-compliance with health regulations. I've noticed for years in weekly health inspection reports from two nearby cities the preponderance of restaurants with failing scores are inevitably small oriental and to a lesser extent small Mexican restaurants.
    #19
    RC51Mike
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/12 11:06:32 (permalink)
    Oneiron339, did you actually read the book? Did you read The Jungle? Do you find it appealing that there is feces in your hamburger? Does having it irradiated make any more appetizing to you? I don't think that's a consumer choice here. Meatpackers and McDonald's would rather you didn't know- so you don't have to make that consumer choice. Do you find it ok that security and safety of teenage employees is ignored because they are treated like chattel and it would cost the owner profits? And while it can happen in mom and pops, it's the largest buyers who control the industry- that would be McD's- the largest buyer of beef, potatoes, soda, and second for chicken. Nothing wrong with a consumer driven economy but when the consumers don't have all the information to make educated decisions, to deliberate on the consequences of their decisions something is wrong.
    #20
    EliseT
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/12 14:21:31 (permalink)
    You know, I once read that the average American accidentally eats 2 pounds of bugs a year in his/her food. I'm also horrified that there is an "allowable" level of rat hair in canned food. And I don't know one ex-restaurant worker who doesn't laugh about spitting (or worse) in patron's food. I just have to live in forced denial or I would starve myself to death. Every restaurant worker is perfectly clean, and my lunch came off of a hamburger tree. (Fingers in ears) lalalala, I can't heeeear you, lalalalaa.
    #21
    Oneiron339
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/12 14:38:33 (permalink)
    RC51, you're missing the point - you have a choice! You don't have to eat there, you don't have to work there. I read the book and some similar tomes as well, and it wasn't because of FFN that I haven't eaten at McD's in over 20 years, it's the quality of food that I care for and not the convenience(?). Similarly, I don't buy the processed, packaged stuff that's marketed as "convenience food." It comes down to choices, and how to best make them. I formerly worked at a dairy, one of the largest east of the Mississippi, and you would be surprised to know some things that went on. Face it, all of us are subjected to many unsavory things in the processing of food - least of all at our own tables - so we can't be too judgemental. My dad used to drop hotdogs from the grill, dusted them off, and they went back on the grill. At last count, I can't remember too many people falling over dead from McD's burgers, despite all the hysteria from FFN. What do you want, more government scrutiny? The government can't protect us from anything we in this forum have been commenting on, but you and I know many restaurants that have gone out of business for precisely these questionable practices - the marketplace did them in. Remember it's all about the choices.

    #22
    geomotz
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/12 16:42:28 (permalink)
    Hey, look at that! The book did exactly what it was supposed to do - Make Us Think.
    #23
    seafarer john
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/12 21:23:23 (permalink)
    To believe that "the market" is omnipresent and will solve all problems because of its supposed efficiency is to believe in the tooth fairy...

    It is muckrakers that in the long run always force us to face up to our civic problems and force us to solve those problems through civic action - otherwise known as "the guvment".
    #24
    Oneiron339
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/13 09:06:34 (permalink)
    Liberals, you gotta' love 'em.
    #25
    RC51Mike
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/06/13 09:14:59 (permalink)
    I don't recall people dropping dead from McD's either.

    I do, however, remember people dropping dead at Jack in the Box from tainted beef that comes from the same place.
    #26
    saltypepper
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/12/20 10:59:57 (permalink)
    i love that book! It is well-written and informative,however it did not change my opinion about McDonalds as my opinion of that place was bad already! I have not once eaten at a Jack-n-The Box,nor do I plan too! I did go there once because my husband loves that place and I swear I was sitting there thinking that he was going to drop dead any minute! I guess I am a drama queen!After reading it I stayed away from all meat for a couple of months,then I decided to go get a burger(I have no willpower) I was about to take a bite when I looked out the window and there was a farm across the street and I swore that the cow was staring at me! Needless to say,it's been awhile since I have had beef!
    #27
    EliseT
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/12/21 02:44:20 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by clothier

    quote:
    Originally posted by oneiron339

    Liberals, you gotta' love 'em.


    Who else would you argue with?


    There was a very interesting Southpark episode that opined we need left-wingers so we don't look mean to the rest of the world, and we need right-wingers to keep us from looking like sissies. So we can do whatever we want, but look like feel bad about it.

    -Elise, who gets all of her political theories from cartoons
    #28
    capnhank
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/12/22 13:47:50 (permalink)
    Here at the University (I love saying that!), I see more professors teaching from FFN than The Jungle. Every generation needs a muckraker, I suppose.
    I've been off the cows for some time now, but it basically confirmed what I already knew. Fast food is no different than any other huge industry; it's all about the profits and humanity be damned! Not that there's anything wrong with that, per se (unless you're a student of ethics), but I feel guilty cutting my workers' hours. I can't imagine cutting a long-time employee's health benefits after he's nearly (literally) worked himself to death for me. Silly ethics.

    BTW - Schlosser's new book, Reefer Madness, has made me very skeptical of the world of drugs, sex and cheap labor. In fact, I may very well stop shooting heroin and short-paying prostitutes. Yeah, right...

    #29
    EliseT
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    RE: FAST FOOD NATION 2003/12/22 21:05:03 (permalink)
    Is there nothing sacred anymore?
    #30
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