Philip H. Howard
Fast food is a meal that is prepared and served quickly. Fast food restaurants typically have a limited menu, items prepared in advance or heated rapidly, no table orders, and food served in disposable wrapping or containers. Although many cultures in highly populated areas have developed some form of fast food, the U.S. model has had the most influence worldwide. The rapid growth of the fast food industry since the 1960s has contributed to important changes in food production and consumption, such as more intensive animal agriculture and diets that are high in fat and sugar. Criticism of these trends has increased in recent years, as movements have coalesced to challenge fast food corporations politically or challenge the cultural values they promote. The history of fast food restaurants in the United States in the first half of the 20th century included New York automats, which served take-out food in vending ...