Food for the masses

  • Paul Fieldhouse


This chapter examines three situations where food is provided within large-scale enterprises. The first section is devoted to fast food, and in particular to what might be called the burger culture of North America. Fast food, despite its advertised quantity, is almost minimalist in nature; everything is reduced to its sparest, most utilitarian form. Social, psychological, even ideological meanings are still to be found but they are transformed by the rationalising process in which they are embedded. The second section describes a Japanese food phenomenon known as Ekiben, to illustrate how aesthetic and cultural food values can be preserved in the realm of mass feeding. The final section explores the world of airline food, demonstrating how the social status function of food is reproduced and to a large extent exacerbated in flight.


Fast Food Food Service Business Class Cooking Skill Cabin Crew 
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Further Reading

  1. Three different aspects of the fast-food industry are considered by the main authors cited in this chapter. Ritzer (1993) places fast food in a sociological context; Love (1986) provides an in-depth exploration of the life and times of one fast-food company; Jacobsen and Fritschner (1993) offer a consumer guide to the nutritional value of fast-food products.Google Scholar
  2. Kamekura, Bosker and Watanabe (1989) is a source of stunningly beautiful photographs of Ekiben.Google Scholar


  1. Aviation Week and Space Technology (1993), July 19, p. 15.Google Scholar
  2. Jacobsen, M.F. and Fritschner, S. (1991), Fast Food Guide, Workman Publishing, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Kamekura, J., Bosker, G. and Watanabe, M. (1989) Ekiben: the art of the Japanese Box lunch, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  4. Kodansha (ed.) (1991) Oishii Ekiben Hudoki, Kodansha Culture Books, Japan.Google Scholar
  5. Love, J.F. (1986) Behind the Arches, Bantam, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Ritzer, G. (1993) The McDonaldization of Society, Pine Forge Press, Newbury ParkGoogle Scholar
  7. . Terzani, A. and Wolf, R. (1987) Japan: the beauty of food, Rizzoli, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Fieldhouse
    • 1
  1. 1.Manitoba Ministry of HealthCanada

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