When I was a child visits to fast food restaurants were few and
far between. Meals were usually eaten at home and cooked from
scratch. Mom's mashed potatoes came from real spuds, not powder and
water. Restaurant trips of any kind were treats to look forward to or
rewards for stuff like good report cards.
Sadly, as Eric Schlosser points out, these are weekly or even
daily occurances in many families' lives. Too tired to cook? Need an
incentive for Junior to stop whining? Just see the familiar golden
arches? This doesn't even take into account the many purchases of
teens and tweens hanging out.
This is not as benign as it might appear. In his classic, Fast
Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All American Meal, Schlosser
delineates the many harmful consequences of this nation's burger and
fries obsession. Read it if you haven't.
Schlosser's Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want To Know
About Fast Food is targeted to a YA audience. It opens with a photo
of a McDonalds entrance. Stepping inside by by flipping the page
starts them on an eye opening tour. They learn that:
*Workers their age or not much older are exploited through long hours
and low pay.
*Artificial coloring and flavoring can have strange ingredients. Dead
*Nineteen thousand (that was in 2006, probably more do now) public
schools sell branded fast food in their cafeterias instead of more
*Animals used in burgers and nuggets live and die under horrific
*Slaughterhouse conditions put workers at risk for death and serious
injury and consumers at risk fir microbial pathogens.
The last page before credits and footnotes shows a McDonalds
exit door. Schlosser hopes that after this tour a youngster will at
least think about what lurks behind the colorful facade of the
ubiquitous fast food restaurant. If that isn't a worthy goal, I can't
imagine what is.
On a personal note, I tried out for the latest Orono Community Theater
play and didn't make the cast. Instead I was put in charge of props.
My reaction was paralyzing terror. I bet you're amused. We tend to
think of stage fright in terms of performing. Guess what! Some of us
who love acting, believe it or not, can find the thought of being
responsible for and possibly screwing up a more managerial task highly
stressful. Crew fright? Maybe we're better at working with people
than with objects? Fortunately I found someone willing to help me. I
can at least breathe.
A great big shout out goes out to my friend who is willing to help.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod