Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation is, above all, an expose of the conditions in the fast-food industry. It discusses the following topics: how fast-food corporations—like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell—came into being (who founded them and franchised them); how these fast-food companies shaped the production of food products (especially meat and potatoes); and how systems of food production and consumption shape the American consumer. Schlosser describes the nutritional effects of high-fat, low-nutrient fast…(read full theme analysis)
Schlosser’s examination of the food industry also applies more broadly to the analysis of bureaucracies (especially of the government variety) and of complex systems. Every step of the food production process in America, as it has become streamlined for maximum efficiency, has counter intuitively become more complicated, because food is now manufactured so quickly, and in such volume, that new problems present themselves at newer, faster, larger scales. When one man slaughters one cow, he…(read full theme analysis)
Throughout the book, Schlosser talks about the natural beauty of the North American continent, especially the West, and of the people who (used to) work the land, raising cattle and farming potatoes, starting small businesses, and helping to feed their communities. These workers have a holistic relationship to what they do—ranchers see the cattle they raise, and men and women running small businesses have a more direct connection to the places they live.
In…(read full theme analysis)