11-17-2006 03:53 PM
Do you have a question for Eric Schlosser? Reply to this post to start the conversation.
Do you believe your book influenced some of the recent trends of Fast Food Companies having to be more responsible, eg, displaying more nutritional information, and having some "healthier" snacks?
11-18-2006 09:31 PM
-What do you think about the movie? How was the process of adapting this non-fiction work to a fictionalized movie?
-I know you also worked with this material and adapted it for teens in Chew on This--how did you have to adapt the message or the content to communicate it to teens?
-This book is remarkable not only for the attention it got five years ago when it came out, but for its continued prominence. Along with Supersize Me and Food Politics, when you talk childhood obesity, obesity in general, Type II Diabetes, or the food industry--there's Eric Schlosser! How is it balancing an active career as a journalist with being an advocate, expert and prominent voice on this issue years later?
-As someone in the food business people always ask me about my eating habits. So now it's your turn! What's a typical day's menu for you?
11-28-2006 05:12 PM
11-28-2006 05:38 PM
--I'm very proud of the film. I think Richard Linklater made a tough, uncompromising film about what's happening to some of the poorest, weakest members of our society. The process of adapting the book was a real pleasure. From our first meeting, we agreed that the only way to do it would be to take the title of the book and its spirit--and then put aside the book. There was no way to do a literal adaptation as a drama. Once we decided to set the story in a Colorado meatpacking town, all the elements started to come together. We tried hard to be true to the lives of the characters, and the rest flowed from there.
--I wanted to make sure that CHEW ON THIS wasn't condescending to kids. I know my own kids never liked the feeling of being talked down to. So my co-author, Charles Wilson, and I worked hard to write something that respected the intelligence of our readers, while focusing on the issues that would matter most to them: what's in the food, what it does to their bodies, how it's aggressively marketed and sold.
--Someone recently told me that they saw me at a reading in Portland Oregeon, back in 2001 when FAST FOOD NATION came out. They said that a person in the audience that night stood up and asked me what I planned to DO about all these subjects, now that I'd finished writing about them. Supposedly, I answered that my writing about these subjects was my way of doing something about them--and that I had no plans to become an activist, because I was working on a book about prisons. Well, six years later, I realize that my answer was subsequently proven all wrong. I've wound up devoting an incredible amount of my time to being on activist on behalf of food safety, workers' rights, sustainable agriculture, anti-obesity efforts, children's health, and on and on. So I've tried to make a difference and tried to be useful on these issues. But now I plan to try and finish that prison book.
--Oatmeal and banana for breakfast, soup for lunch, pasta or chicken or japanese food or mexican food for dinner. I'm no saint, when it comes to my diet. I eat all kinds of stuff. I still love french fries and hamburgers. But I'm much more conscious of where the food comes from, how it's made, and where my money's going when I buy it. In my family we try to buy food that's fresh, local, and organic. And when we eat junk like cookies and brownies and cake, we make sure it's the real thing, made with real ingredients, not all kinds of chemical additives and trans fats. In general, if I see an ingredient on the label that I don't understand, I don't eat that food.
11-29-2006 04:00 PM
Feel free to check out and weigh in on (it's so hard to avoid food puns) some of the other forums where active discussions are already ongoing. And you may want to pose some questions as well.
11-29-2006 10:19 PM
Another question: around the time Fast Food Nation was published a number of other titles came out: Marion Nestle's Food Politics, Morgan Spurlock's film Supersize Me, Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed and I'm sure a few more.
-Knowing the long lead times from concept to publication what do you think was happening that so much attention fell on this topicin 2000 - 2003 or so? It's not as if these issues--obsesity, public health, labor, industry responsibility, environment, food safety--were new.
-What do you think of some of the other titles on this topic?
-Some authors feel getting scooped or upstaged by another book on a similar topic. Here it seems the other voices brought increased attention? Or maybe you see things differently?
-What do you see as the next stage or focus in the debate?
OK, four questions so pick and choose what interests you.
12-04-2006 11:21 AM
12-04-2006 09:49 PM
I'm also wondering what advice you have for some of our book club members who want to have healthy meals but who, like most of us, may be busy with work and family and find fast food an easy solution that kids love. I must confess that while tonight I made a wonderful and healthy szechuan green bean dish for my wife and me I microwaved chicken nuggets for the kids to avoid the drama!
12-05-2006 11:52 AM
As for what to eat for dinner, well, everyone's got to figure that one out for themselves. Sorry to say, however, when it comes to something quick and easy for little kids, I think a grilled cheese sandwich is a better bet than chicken nuggets. Most of the frozen nuggets on the market contain a lot of trans fats, which is one of the most toxic substances in the American diet.
12-07-2006 03:53 PM - edited 12-07-2006 03:53 PM
Somewhat related, and believe it or not, at least fifty percent of the people I have discussed this with still have no idea where gelatin comes from. I don't care if someone wants to eat these things, but I do wish more were properly educated concerning their food. It illustrates to me the fact that most people are totally ignorant on this subject, possibly through years of cultural conditioning, and the food industry wants them to stay that way.
Finally, my abstinence from meat is mainly a personal, rather than political, decision. I know where meat comes from and what it goes through to get to one's plate, and that information is too much for me to stomach. Still, I do like to think that I am doing some good by not participating in the meat processing industry. However, I eat a lot of products with soy and wheat gluten in them. How do the "evils" of these industries compare? I am sure there is a lot of genetic modification and pollution from fertiziler runoff going on. Are they getting just as involved in the politics of our food culture as the meat industry? Is it the same people? Are they both just as "bad" and is this anything you came across while writing your book? Perhaps you can refer me to some good sources of information on the subject.
Thanks for at least hearing me out! This ended up much longer than I anticipated, but as you can see Fast Food Nation has definitely sparked some thought for me. - PJ
Message Edited by PJLevesque on 12-07-200603:54 PM
Message Edited by PJLevesque on 12-07-200603:55 PM
12-09-2006 01:14 PM
Consumer awareness is important, as well, when it comes to wheat and soy products. In general, it's best to eat foods that are organic. That way you can be sure that there are no genetically modified ingredients. I eat soy products and wheat products, but some people don't, for health reasons. There's a fair amount of controversy surrounding soy. You can check out the Web site of the A. Weston Price foundation, www.westonprice.org, for some disturbing arguments about why soy products may be harmful to your health. Personally, I figure that soy has been part of the human diet for thousands of years--and I love edamame. But everyone should do their own research and make up their own minds.
As for gluten, it appears that a few million Americans, mainly of northern European origin, have an intolerance for it. Their bodies react to certain amino acids in wheat, rye, barley, causing a wide range of symptoms now described as "celiac disease." It may be that some of the high protein grains that have recently been developed are causing more people to develop this problem. At any rate, there are a lot of Web sites developed to gluten intolerance.
Good luck figuring it all out--
12-09-2006 06:54 PM
12-10-2006 12:20 AM
12-14-2006 10:43 AM
12-14-2006 10:45 AM
12-14-2006 05:05 PM
Anyway, back to Fast Food Nation. I was shocked about your claims that teachers would take free books from corporations that promote their particular viewpoint. I was speaking with my children's headteacher and mentioned that this is done. I thought for a moment that she was going to refute it and say it was ridiculous. but instead she told me absolutely. Such and such corporation has been kind enough to donate brand new books to our school.
12-14-2006 05:07 PM