In the beginning of the book, it is unclear what direction the author wants to take you. The book is divided into two main parts. The first part is entitled “The American Way”, while the second part is called “Meat and Potatoes”. The first chapter, or first part altogether, is nothing more than a history lesson describing the rise of fast food chains such as McDonalds. It discusses the opportunities after World War II ended how an average person could become a millionaire with a few good investments.
The second part of the book is where the author starts to reveal his viewpoints on the idea of fast food. The author admits that fast food does taste good, but is disgusted about how it is prepared, served, and in general, the whole operation. He states that fast food restaurants, particularly McDonalds, have the highest volume of employees being paid minimum wage of any restaurant in the country. Chapter 5 is entitled Why the Fries taste so good. This chapter explains, well, how they make the fries taste the way they do. It starts off with a small history lesson, about how McDonalds was the first fast food restaurant to use frozen food technology. At first they were supplied by a man named J.R. Simplot. This man was the biggest distributor of potatoes in the 1950’s. He supplied to the army, and eventually to McDonalds.
The next two chapters focus on farms, where livestock live. The first of the two chapters is talking about a nicer, cleaner farm for grazing, not owned by a fast food corporation. Cattle live here, and are not treated poorly or abused. It compares this farm, to one owned by a popular fast food chain. The interviewee states that he prefers the way he manages his farm, opposed to “raping the land”. The second of the two chapters focuses on slaughterhouses, working conditions, etc. Mostly immigrants work in these slaughterhouses. The houses are based far away from cities, to avoid any union problems. The overall process of this operation is disgusting in my opinion.
This chapter opens with the author observing the actual slaughterhouse production, stating that meatpacking is the most dangerous job in America today, far more hazardous than poultry packing. The author obviously is disgusted, which he should be, as he proves the point he has been making throughout the book. This food is rather disgusting when you get down to the brick and mortar of the foundation. People are hurt often in meatpacking because meatpacking is done by hand, with knives and machines, which causes injuries. Poultry packing is mainly machines only, which causes far less problems. The next chapter is about what is in the meat. Mainly the author tries to repulse the reader about talking about diseases such as E. Coli which was located in meat in 1997. Before they could recall all 35 million pounds of it, 25 million was already eaten. He states that because of the large distributing areas that large plants generate, more people will get sick before a disease is located, as opposed to a localized area (which is yet another problem with distributing around the world).
The author makes his agenda very clear, mainly in the second part of the book. From real life experience, people who work at McDonalds and Burger Kings say it is disgusting just preparing the food, imagine what it must be like making it (getting the meat, etc.). I have definitely been deterred from eating fast food for a bit, and anyone who has read or will read this book most likely will as well. In conclusion, don’t eat fast food. It’s worse for you than you may think.