This book has been on my list for years, but I only just noticed it was written by Schlosser, whose “Command & Control” I loved. It’s a similar style of book - in depth research, but accessible and very engaging.

“Every month about 90 percent of American children between the ages of three and nine visit a McDonald’s.”

“Simplot displays the contradictory traits that have guided the economic development of the American West, the odd mixture of rugged individualism and a dependence upon public land and resources. … He seems to have little patience for abstractions, viewing religion as a bunch of “hocus-pocus” and describing his potato empire matter-of-factly: “It’s big and it’s real, it ain’t bullshit.””

“Amyl acetate, for example, provides the dominant note of banana flavor. When you distill it from bananas with a solvent, amyl acetate is a natural flavor. When you produce it by mixing vinegar with amyl alcohol, adding sulfuric acid as a catalyst, amyl acetate is an artificial flavor.”

“Subsequent investigations by Forbes and the Wall Street Journal cited IBP as a prime example of how a mainstream corporation could be infiltrated by the mob.”

“The history of the twentieth century was dominated by the struggle against totalitarian systems of state power. The twenty-first will no doubt be marked by a struggle to curtail excessive corporate power. The great challenge now facing countries throughout the world is how to find a proper balance between the efficiency and the amorality of the market.”

Cover image for Fast Food Nation