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Friday

The cover of Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal now occupies a small corner of the collective consciousness. The brightly colored sleeve of golden fries is deceptively cheery; only the book’s subtitle conveys Schlosser’s agenda. When you first thumbed through the gross-out/call to action, you were likely horrified. Maybe you even thought in all earnestness, I wish I had known this shit when I was 11 and speedballing Chicken McNuggets and Pixy Stix. In an answer to the problem of hindsight, Schlosser and co-author Charles Wilson have just released a kid’s version of Fast Food Nation titled Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food. This time, the cover is agenda-laden (not to mention hideous), but its subtitle still speaks more plainly than anything else on it. The average 11-year-old probably doesn’t want to know that crushed bugs color his pink lemonade or that the steers that make up his burger meat once created “gigantic pools of pee and poop” and toxic levels of hydrogen sulfide. But wave aside the improbability of large-scale conversion—and the suspicion that Schlosser is trying to cash in twice on the same research—and you realize that this stuff makes decent fodder for the Discovery Kids set. Chew on This is filled with squirmy facts and didja-know tidbits about the business of assembly-line food, and Schlosser and Wilson’s optimistic tone will hook at least a few future Slow Foodies. See Schlosser read to the choir at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Anne Marson)