FOOD: The Burger That Conquered the Country

The destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they nourish themselves.

— The Physiology of Taste, Jean Brillat-Savarin ( 1 826)

If so, America's destiny manifestly depends to no small degree on the ham burgers, French fries and milkshakes served beneath the golden arches of Mc Donald's. Last year the chain of drive-ins and restaurants rang up sales of $1.03 billion, passing the U.S. Army ( 1972 food volume: $909 million) as the nation's biggest dispenser of meals.

Now the chain is going on to new triumphs: adding an average of one new...

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