Why the Fries Taste Good

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Did I really Eat That?
While reading the excerpt, Why the Fries Taste Good from the book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, one finds themselves on a journey of the evolution of the french fry. At the beginning of the excerpt, Schlosser writes about a young boy named J.R. Simplot who built a potato empire from nothing and how his many advances in the potato industry made the frozen french fry available to fast food chains everywhere. Schlosser then investigates the many “natural” and “artificial” flavors that are added to almost everything we eat in today’s society. Have we given in to the “artificial” flavors created in a lab? In a society of convenience and eating on the run, do we care if it came from a bottle or from the real deal? How do all the lab created flavors really affect our health?

Schlosser tells the readers about a man, John Richard Simplot, ”America’s great potato baron”(Schlosser) who dropped out of school and left home at the age of fifteen. Simplot found work as a potato sorter with a “shaker sorter,” a hand-held device in the town of Declo, Idaho. As the potato industry was getting started in the 1920’s, Idaho’s warm nights, cool days and good soil made it a perfect place to grow Russet Burbank Potatoes. In 1928, Simplot and his landlord, Maggart purchased an electric potato sorter to sort potatoes, but soon after they had a falling out and Simplot won the potato sorter with the flip of a coin and with that, Simplot was potato farming by himself. He traveled the countryside sorting potatoes for farmers and buying, selling, and shipping potatoes and onions.

In 1941 Simplot went to Burbank, California to see why the Burbank Corporation was buying so many of his onions. He found that they were using prune dryers to make dehydrated onions. Simplot opened his own dehydration plant in Caldwell, Idaho in 1941 and sold dehydrated onions to the U.S. Army. It is with this dehydration plant that Simplot’s company perfected a...
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