you enjoyed reading Eric Schlosser’s thought-provoking
book, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American
Meal, you might enjoy Adam Chandler’s new book,
Drive-Thru Dreams: A Journey Through the Heart of America’s
Fast-Food Kingdom. Although the two books examine different
aspects of the fast-food industry—greed, corruption,
and tainted food versus how fast-food intersects with the
American way of life—they each provide exhaustive research
and insight into our obsession with quickly prepared, cheaply
priced food for the masses.
Chandler humorously describes one reason for fast food’s
appeal: Items are presented to us “in flimsy little
boxes like gifts from our first loves.” Throughout this
culinary romp through history, the author often writes in
a witty and entertaining manner that keeps the material fresh
and palatable. He looks at how fast-food helped shape America
and how hungry American consumers helped shape the development
of fast-food restaurants.
Although much of the material examines the larger impacts
on culture, the book offers additional insights into how fast-food
affects people personally, such as devotion to individual
chains. There’s an extreme fan who has a White Castle-themed
urn created for her, others with fast-food tattoo creations,
and an entire Alaska town tricked by a Taco Bell hoax, among
other strange stories.
Read by the author with the same humor that’s infused
in his writing, the book shows how food unites us through
ritual and memories. He traces the origins of fast food back
to a single White Castle restaurant in Wichita, Kansas, known
for its sliders. He also recalls a middle school dropout (who
made up the Colonel title) and started a gas station and eventual
fried chicken chain in southeastern Kentucky that’s
internationally known for its eleven herbs and spices (Colonel
Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken).
interviews, research, and clever writing, Chandler delivers
a fun and fascinating account of America’s enduring
relationship with fast food.