Fast Food and Junk Food

An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat

by Andrew F. Smith


Americans love to eat. We enjoy everything from home-cooked meals made with traditional family recipes, to eating out at restaurants to sampling different cuisines from around the world. But it's the mass-produced fast food and junk food we consume—Big Macs, delivery pizza, Coca-Cola, Doritos, M&Ms, and Twinkies—that have become embedded in every aspect of our common culture.

Print Flyer
Cover image for Fast Food and Junk Food

December 2011


Pages 813
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Health & Wellness/Fitness, Nutrition, and Healthy Living

This fascinating and revealing work examines the incredible power of junk food and fast food—how nostalgic we are about them, the influence of the companies that manufacture or sell them, and their alarming effect on our country's state of health.

In the last half century, junk food and fast food have come to play an extremely important role in American economic, historical, cultural, and social life. Today, they have a major influence on what Americans eat—and how healthy we are (or aren't). Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat tells the intriguing, fun, and incredible stories behind the successes of these commercial food products and documents the numerous health-related, environmental, cultural, and politico-economic issues associated with them.

With more than 700 alphabetically arranged entries, this two-volume encyclopedia contains enough listings to allow readers to research a wide range of fascinating topics. The author treats the massive amount of subject material within this reference title in a fair and balanced manner. A secondary focus of this encyclopedia is to chart the spread of some American fast food chains and commercially produced junk foods internationally.


  • More than 700 A–Z entries on fast food, comfort food, and junk food, ranging from breakfast cereals to burgers and fries to snack chips and candy
  • A chronology of the significant events in the history of junk food and fast food
  • A bibliography containing more than 200 entries with citations to books, articles, and websites
  • A glossary of important terms used in the encyclopedia
  • A Resource Guide containing important DVDs, films and videos, and television series


  • Addresses major controversies related to junk food and fast food, including medical, societal, and health-related issues such as obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes
  • Presents a balanced view of the foods we enjoy, celebrating their joys and other positive contributions to our culture as well as examining the health issues involved with their consumption
  • Provides detailed coverage of foods that many Americans love, especially high school and college students
Author Info

Andrew F. Smith teaches food studies and professional food writing at the New School University, New York, NY. He is the author or editor of 19 books, and has written more than 300 articles in academic journals, popular magazines, and newspapers. His website is



"Compared to the 1st edition, this set provides 270 new entries (many of which focus on other countries), and provides updated and expanded entries of those previously published. For public and academic libraries needing this type of information, this is a good source of information."ARBA

"Readers will . . . benefit from a helpful glossary of terms and a resource guide including books, films, and websites. . . . Summing up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."Choice

"Overall, Fast food and Junk food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat is a useful and interesting text covering a wide range of subjects and is appropriate for many academic and public libraries."Reference Reviews

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