Fast Food Nation: 10 Years Later

Fast Food Nation: 10 Years Later

It may not have changed the world, but it definitely changed my own life for the better
The Daily Beast invited Eric Schlosser to write an essay about what the last 10 years have brought since his mega-hit Fast Food Nation hit the shelves. Unsurprisingly, Schlosser observes that very little has changed at the federal regulatory level. If anything, legislation has been passed that has made it easier for companies like McDonalds to do the wrong thing.
 
But on the public front, things have changed substantially. Schlosser has never been one to avoid a chance to toot his own horn, and it's true that it's impossible to say how much of the rise of the organic "eat local" and slow food movements have been due to his book. But I think we can safely say that Fast Food Nation had a huge impact for the better on the lives of many people.

 
It certainly had an impact on my life. When Fast Food Nation came out, I was working long hours at a job I disliked. I would estimate that 90% of my diet was pre-processed food, and that I ate between 5 and 10 fast food meals a week. 
 
I ate fast food for lunch every day, of course. I would also pick up dinner at the drive through on my way home many nights, and sometimes breakfast on my way into work as well. On the weekends if I was out shopping, I would eat fast food, too. I counted the lettuce on a Big Mac as a serving of vegetables. 
 
Cooking a meal at home from scratch seemed like an exotic pastime, something I would do on the occasional Sunday afternoon, requiring several hours of shopping and preparation first.
 
And honestly, I didn't see a problem with this. I vaguely understood that cooking meals from scratch could save me money, but (as I figured it) it would cost me a lot of time. I wasn't very good at cooking, either, so there would be a lot of ruined and not-very-tasty meals. And as far as I could see, food was food, so what's the difference?
 
"You have to read this," a coworker said, pressing a somewhat dog-eared copy into my hands. And he was right: I DID have to read it. 
 
It was a long, often frustrating road between then and now. These days I eat fast food only two or three times a month at most, and 90% of my meals are prepared from scratch ingredients. And you know what? It wasn't that hard, after all!
 
Fast Food Nation may not have changed the world, but it definitely changed my own life for the better. Happy 10th anniversary to this amazing book!