Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food
by Andrew F. Smith
August 2006, 368pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-33527-3
$103, £80, 90€, A142
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-0-313-08668-7
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This ready reference objectively explores the American obsession through products, corporations and entrepreneurs, social history, popular culture, organizations, issues, politics, commercialism and consumerism, and much more.

Eating junk food and fast food is a great all-American passion. American kids and grownups love their candy bars, Big Macs and supersized fries, Doritos, Twinkies, and Good Humor ice cream bars. The disastrous health effects from the enormous appetite for these processed fat- and sugar-loaded foods are well publicized now. This was particularly dramatically evidenced by Super Size Me (2004), filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s 30-day all-McDonald’s diet in which his liver suffered the same poisoning as if he had been on an extended alcohol binge. Through increased globalization, American popular food culture is being increasingly emulated elsewhere in the world, such as China, with the potential for similar disastrous consequences. This A-to-Z reference is the first to focus on the junk food and fast food phenomena from a multitude of angles in addition to health and diet concerns. More than 250 essay entries objectively explore the scope of the topics to illuminate the American way through products, corporations and entrepreneurs, social history, popular culture, organizations, issues, politics, commercialism and consumerism, and much more.

Interest in these topics is high. This informative and fascinating work, with entries on current controversies such as mad cow disease and factory farming, the food pyramid, movie tie-ins, and marketing to children, will be highly useful for reports, research, and browsing. It takes readers behind the scenes, examining the significance of such things as uniforms, training, packaging, and franchising. Readers of every age will also enjoy the nostalgia factor, learning about the background of iconic drive-ins, the story behind the mascots, facts about their favorite candy bar, and collectables. Each entry ends with suggested reading. Besides an introduction, a timeline, glossary, bibliography, resource guide, and photos enhance the text. Sample entries: A&W Root Beer; Advertising; Automobiles; Ben & Jerry’s; Burger King; Carhops; Center for Science in the Public Interest; Christmas; Cola Wars; Employment; Fair Food; Fast Food Nation; Hershey, Milton; Hollywood; Injury; Krispy Kreme; Lobbying; Nabisco; Obesity; PepsiCo; Salt; Soda Fountain; Teen Hangouts; Vegetarianism; White Castle; Yum! Brands, Inc.


"The entries are alphabetically starting with A&W Root Beer (A&W was the first fast food franchise) and ending with Yum! Brands, Inc. (the world's largest fast food company). Most entries are a couple paragraphs in length, and suggested readings follow each one. Boldface terms within an entry have their own entries within the encyclopedia. The volume begins with an alphabetical list of all the entries, followed by a list of entries by topic, and an introduction to the origin of fast food and junk food. A chronology starts with the founding of the Schweppes Company in 1783, and ends with the three major soft drink companies that agreed to a ban on selling sweetened sodas in schools in 2006. Includes a glossary. Highly recommended. All collections; all levels."—Choice, February 1, 2007

"In approximately 250 A-to-Z entries, each ranging from several paragraphs to several pages in length, Smith covers specific junk and fast foods (e.g., Snickers, M&Ms) and companies (e.g., Mars, McDonald's) as well as broader topics, such as the environmental and nutritional effects of these industries. Each entry includes at least one suggestion for further reading; a glossary of terms and a chronology of important events are a nice touch. Smaller libraries and libraries on a budget will find that information on some of the subjects here can also be found in other sources, e.g., Smith's Oxford work, but those needing a source focusing solely on the topic of junk food will find this fun and fascinating encyclopedia very useful. For academic and public libraries."—Library Journal, January 1, 2007

"[A] valuable contribution which will be helpful to a wide range of readers and students"—Reference Reviews, March 1, 2007

"Fast food is ready-to-eat foods served promptly after ordering. Alphabetically arranged entries cover the types of junk food (Extruded snacks, Ginger ale, Hot dogs); specific brands (Moon Pie, Mounds Bar, Mountain Dew); companies (Frito-Lay, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Panda Express); health issues (Diabetes, Foodborne illnesses); and a variety of other related topics, from Animal rights movement, Anti-unionization, and Architecture and design to Sports sponsorships, Vending machines, and Waste. In addition to an alphabetical list of entries, there is a list of entries by topic (for example, Bakery Goods, Beverages). A chronology highlights milestones in the fast-food and junk-food industry....The volume concludes with a glossary, selected bibliography, resource guide, and an index. This would be ideal for public libraries as well as undergraduate and high-school libraries."—Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin, April 15, 2005

"[T]his volume provides a valuable record of the decline of the American diet over the twentieth century, with the transition from junk food as an occasional treat to junk food as a replacement for real food. There is a fine entry on gross-out candy, a new phenomenon of deliberately revolting confectionary; and a coolly disturbing account of hamburgers....Smith confirms that, with junk food, the joy and the horror are never far apart."—Times Literary Supplement, February 14, 2007

"From uniforms and conformity to packaging and pricing, common business practices are explained. Articles on automobiles, drive-ins, films and toys explore the impact of fast food chains on popular culture. Growing health issues are examined in essays on cholesterol, diabetes, nutritional guidelines and obesity. Other concerns include factory farming, globalization and genetically modified foods. Boycotts, lawsuits, protests and politics are just a few of the issues examined. This concise guide is suitable for high school, public and academic libraries."—Lawrence Looks at Books, December 1, 2006

"[A] fascinating examination of food culture in America....Readers will experience a variety of emotions while perusing this book -- nostalgia for the early days of the hamburger and childhood candy favorites as well as abhorrence at the descriptions of factory farming and the negative health effects of a 'super size-me' mentality. The sheer scope of information available here makes this book a must-have resource. The extensive bibliography and suggested readings will be invaluable tools for further research."—VOYA, February 1, 2007
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