Through in-depth interviews and observation with high school and college students, Amy L. Best provides rich narratives of the everyday life of youth, highlighting young people’s voices and perspectives and the places where they eat.
The book provides a thorough account of the role that food plays in the lives of today’s youth, teasing out the many contradictions of food as a cultural object—fast food portrayed as a necessity for the poor and yet, reviled by upper-middle class parents; fast food restaurants as one of the few spaces that kids can claim and effectively ‘take over’ for several hours each day; food corporations spending millions each year to market their food to kids and to lobby Congress against regulations; schools struggling to deliver healthy food young people will actually eat, and the difficulty of arranging family dinners, which are known to promote family cohesion and stability.
A conceptually-driven, ethnographic account of youth and the places where they eat, Fast-Food Kids examines the complex relationship between youth identity and food consumption, offering answers to those straightforward questions that require crucial and comprehensive solutions.
About the Author
Table of Contents
Introduction: Fast-Food Kids 1
1 The Family Meal: Eating Together, Eating Apart 31
2 The Cafeteria as Great Equalizer: Making Food Good 54
3 The Cafeteria as Youth Space: Social Bonds and Barriers 78
4 Eat What's Good for You: Class and the Cult of Health 99
5 I'm Lovin' It: Fast Food and After-School Hot Spots 123
Conclusion: Food Futures and Social Change 149
Methods Appendix 169
About the Author 245