Friday, March 10, 2017

Brooks on Books: Fast Food Maniac by Jon Heim

Some books are meant to be fun, and I don't mean that as a negative. Jon Hein's Fast Food Maniac is a fast read, filled with bite-size chapters loaded with tidbits and trivia. It's not a scholarly nor a comprehensive look at our country's fast food restaurants, but it satisfies. It's entertaining and packed with interesting information, and if you enjoy fast food--or you just do but pretend not to, like so many--this is a great read.

Hein lists a large number of national fast food chains, plus some regional favorites, and offers their origins, their secret menu items and specialties, and ranks them in a variety of categories. Along the way he shares his own takes on each one, often peppered with anecdotes from years of unhealthy eating.

(Seriously, I wondered how Hein wasn't 500 pounds after I read this, and then I found out that he's diabetic, which makes it even more interesting)

There's a nice assortment of pictures, many showing logos and storefronts, some showing Heim and his family members indulging at various locales. Hein doesn't claim to be all-inclusive in his look at fast food joints, but given the criteria he uses, I can't think of any obvious exclusions.

I never caught Hein's show Fast Food Mania, which was on Destination America (Ah, I think I just realized why I never caught it), but I'll bet it was an entertaining watch. This book might raise some eyebrows with its rankings and with the author's guide to how to order at fast food places, which seems full of self-contradiction, but even though the whole thing is fairly weightless (unlike the subject matter), I enjoyed it.

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