Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Go ahead, make my milkshake

Okay, if you're going to get revenge by exploding a small bomb in a McDonald's because you got a bad milkshake, you should at least do it after you've disabled the security cameras. Duh.

I know how those guys felt, though. The last time I ate at McDonald's, I got food poisoning from an ice cream cone (I know, it's not cream). Then I happened to read two incredible books that completely discouraged me from eating fast food. The first was Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by and Eric Schlosser, and the second My Year of Meats by Ruth L. Ozeki.

Fast Food Nation is a journalistic account of how fast food is prepared, from the abattoirs and silos to the franchisees. Amazon.com's Editorial Review's Lesley Reed says: "Schlosser's investigation reaches its frightening peak in the meatpacking plants as he reveals the almost complete lack of federal oversight of a seemingly lawless industry." People, as Schlosser says, "There's shit in the meat." Literally.

My Year of Meats is the fictional story, based on Ozeki's research as a journalist, of a documentary producer hired by the US Beef Industry to develop a TV series on Beef to encourage the Japanese to eat (and buy) more of it. As she travels across America in search of typical American Recipes (there's a disgusting recipe on cooking beef in Coca-Cola), she begins investigating the raising of beef, from administration of hormones, to huge cattle farms. What she finds is bad enough to turn anyone into a vegetarian.

Both books, especially taken together, are real eye-openers. I haven't had a Happy Meal in three years. I haven't missed it one bit.

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