Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age

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9780801861093: Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age

Eating on the run in America has a long history, but it was the automobile that accelerated quick service and created a whole new category of food. The rise of car culture brought an explosion of roadside restaurants which served sandwiches and fried foods meant to be consumed quickly and easily, usually with the fingers: hot dogs, fried chicken and the pre-eminent roadside food, hamburgers with french fries. In this work, the authors contemplate the origins, architecture and commercial growth of wayside eateries in the USA over the 20th century. Written in the same style as their two previous texts, "The Gas Station in America" and "The Motel in America", the volume examines the impact of the automobile on the restaurant business and offers a thorough account of roadside dining. Jakle and Sculle begin with the antebellum era, when restaurants came into their own in the United States, and trace the evolution from coffee shops, main street cafes and diners, to drive-ins and drive-throughs. Focusing on the people who created and ran these enterprises, the autors describe the rise of early franchises such as White Castle and White Tower and the later dominance of large corporations such as Burger King, Hardee's and McDonald's. The authors argue that the story of these unpretentious eating places is the story of modern American culture. At first, one-storey, wood-frame sheds were modelled on stalls at carnivals and amusement parks, where many foods that were once novelties but are now basic to the American diet - such as the hamburger and the hot dog - were popularized. Architectural experimentation was a hallmark of the late 1920s and early 1930s, with stands built as giant oranges, lemons, milk cans, inverted ice cream cones and milk cartons. By the 1950s, drive-ins and diners had become the icons of a generational subculture, places where teenagers sought freedom from parental surveillance and adult authority. In the late 20th century, the roadside restaurant (like the gas station and motel, according to Jakle and Sculle) is an essential part of the modern American landscape - where intentionally designed sameness "welcomes" every interstate driver.

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Recensione:

"John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle are not into breast-beating or finger-pointing. Their mission, in this meticulously detailed study of the origins and growth of fast-food chains in the 20th century, is to understand the reasons such enterprises succeeded or failed, how the automobile affected the architectural subculture of the urban fringe, and what kinds of people have succeeded in the cutthroat business of persuading motorists to stop for a Whopper and a Super-Size order of fries... But enough nostalgia. Jakle and Sculle offer a refreshing draft of realism." -- Karal Ann Marling, New York Times Book Review



"Jakle and Sculle don't miss a trick in their fascinating in-depth tour of American eateries... Loaded with thoughtful analysis of social trends, the book tracks fast food from the emergence of the soda fountain in 1839 at a Philadelphia perfume shop (who knew?) to the modern-day ice cream wars pitting Haagen-Dazs against Ben & Jerry's." -- Entertainment Weekly



"Thorough, compendious, and businesslike, it... repays perseverance in the richness and suggestiveness of its prodigal tales." -- Eugen Weber, Times Literary Supplement



"Refreshingly free from foodie pietism. [The authors] are talking about everyday food as it is, not as it might be or should be, and the book is all the better for it... It is lucid, sensible, and well-constructed. It knows where it is going and why." -- Reay Tannahill, History Today



"[An] upbeat image of roadside restaurants. One that should prove immensely enjoyable for the over-40 crowd who are old enough to remember the early days and the long-gone names and logos... The authors very rightly tie together a nation's passion for eating with its love of the automobile." -- Bruce Heydt, American History



"A great nostalgia trip... Jakle and Sculle go to great lengths to understand the industry. They unearth surprising tidbits from sources as mundane as postcards of old restaurants." -- Louis Jacobson, Washington City Paper



"Fast food... is a big subject which needed a big, juicy book; this is it. Jakle and Sculle are geographer and historian, authors already of the definitive works on the American motel and the American gas station. In fast food, they have found the perfect subject for their meticulous surveys: a cabinet of curiosities and the picture of a cultural fact which is a powerful down your local high street as on some California highway... Their book, unlike their subject, is downright nourishing." -- Michael Pye, The Scotsman



"An important contribution to the literature... Place is an important concept in this book on fast foods. In their previous work, Jakle and Sculle have developed the concept of place product packaging. It's certainly a valuable approach to understanding patterns of locations to sleep and fill up the tank. With food, however, a full appreciation of the holistic dynamics of place comes through.... Well written and fun reading... this book qualifies for coffee table prominence. In other words, it's lively and entertaining enough that almost everyone will enjoy picking up a copy and scanning the old photos and stories." -- Ary J. Lamme III, Historical Geography



"Amply illustrated and written in straightforward prose, Fast Food offers a treasure trove of information and insight." -- James R. Curtis, Professional Geographer

L'autore:

John A. Jakle is a professor of geography and landscape architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Keith A. Sculle is an adjunct professor of history at the University of Illinois at Springfield and head of research and education at the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

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Jakle, John A.; Sculle, Keith A.
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