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Eating our words

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I asked Ryan some questions about Autobiography.

Cooked Books: Do you have any favorite food words from this project?

Ryan Haley: I really didn’t pay too much attention to the words as I was assembling the book. Once I had thought of and fine-tuned the idea, the words themselves ceased to be really important. I think it’s only recently as I’ve “read” through the book that I’ve started to notice the kinds of words that were added within that time and sort of ponder the cultural or historical moment that gave the word currency or legitimacy. For example, McDonaldization from 1975; used as a term for the corporatization of culture or for American cultural homogeny. What was happening then? Did a chez McDo open on the Champs-Élyssées? Did the last Mom & Pop restaurant close down in Peoria? Well, the OED references this book by Jim Hightower called Eat Your Heart Out: Food Profiteering in America as the first (popular/documented) use. I haven’t read it, but summary descriptions indicate that book was quite influential in some of the anti-corporate/back-to-the-land ethos of the late-70’s. Then in 1979 you get McDonaldize, which is somewhat related and in 1982 you have just plain old McDonald’s

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