In Drive-Thru Dreams: A Journey Through the Heart of America’s Fast-Food Kingdom, Adam Chandler writes that the “United States is and remains a fast-food nation” and that McDonald’s’ Golden Arches is a “sign more recognizable than the Christian cross.” The Brooklyn-based author, who reads his book tonight, explores the industry titans responsible for our cheap-food eating habits, from Ray Kroc of McDonald’s to KFC’s Colonel Harland Sanders to White Castle’s Walter Anderson, who opened the country’s first fast-food chain in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921. Chandler looks at the proliferation of drive-thrus, invention of menu items like the Egg McMuffin and Doritos Locos Taco, ever-growing vegetarian options and fast food in the rest of the world, including Moscow, where, in 1990, the opening of the first McDonald’s attracted more than 30,000 customers. Chandler also throws in some only-in-America anecdotes, including one about a New Jersey woman who stored her sister’s ashes in a White Castle-shaped urn and a Nevada kid who scored free Wendy’s chicken nuggets after more than three million retweets. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.; Sat., Aug. 24, 4 p.m.; free. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com.
Adam Chandler (Katie Basile)