What Does The World Eat?

Last week, I re-discovered an amazing book I bought a few years ago, written photographed by Faith D’Aluisio and Peter Menzel, a California-based writer-photographer couple, who boldly invited themselves for dinner with 30 families in 24 countries.

HungryPlanet

For me, the most powerful component of the book is the photographs featuring all the members of a household with a week’s worth of grocery shopping laid out in front of them. The authors also provide an insightful break-down of how much was spent on what, e.g. dairy products, fruit & veg, starchy foods, sweets, snacks, beverages, etc.

I’ve reproduced a handful of pictures, to give you an idea. Excuse the poor quality – the originals in the book are, of course, far superior. (The added captions are mine).

German family

The German Family. What amused me about this shot was how neatly all the food and drinks were lined up – none of the other families managed to do it quite this orderly, lol.

The Mexican family. Mexico has the highest per capita consumption of soft drinks after the US. And sure enough, the picture shows a whole row of Coke bottles in the back.

The Mexican family. Mexico has the world’s highest per capita consumption of soft drinks after the US. And sure enough, the picture shows a long row of Coke bottles in the back.

A family in Mali. Gosh, 15 people and barely any food! OK, there's a few big sacks of grain (millet, corn, rice), but barely any vegetables, and, even more disconcertingly, no protein foods except for a canister of milk and a small bag of dried fish.

A family in Mali. Gosh, 15 people and barely any food! OK, some big sacks of grain (millet, corn, rice), but very few vegetables, and, even more disconcertingly, no protein foods except for a titchy canister of milk and a small bag of dried fish.

If you want to see some more pictures, click on this link from The Guardian.

The book was published in 2005, but it has lost none of its relevance. I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone who’s interested in food and in the vastly different diets consumed by the people(s) of our planet.

Advertisements

26 thoughts on “What Does The World Eat?

  1. rjschutte

    Shocking how big the differences are. Nevertheless I love the “Deutsche Grundlichkeit”.
    All neat and orderly. Maybe that is why I do fold all my clothes, put it in the closet in nice stacks and I play Tetris when I buy groceries. (50% German blood)

    Like

    Reply
  2. bevchen

    Sounds like an interesting book. Look at all the milk the German family has!! Not much bread though. They’re obviously not a typical family 😉

    Like

    Reply
  3. northern_star

    I remember flicking through your book and being fascinated by it. Amazing contrasts in the families you’ve shown. Love the German tidy factor!

    Like

    Reply
  4. Anna

    Wow this book sounds fascinating. Also in the first pic it looks like WAY too much food for a 4-person family for a week. I am wondering if my family is more economical, or we do consume the same amount in reality, if we laid it all out like this.

    Like

    Reply
    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      I think the book did receive quite a bit of publicity at the time, so I”m not surprised that you’d heard of it.
      Hmmmm…. “The-day-before-the-grocery-shop fridge photo challenge” Whatch’a think?!?

      Like

      Reply
      1. TBM

        Not sure I would want to share a photo of my fridge. Some coriander is frozen in the back and it looks like mold. Can’t get it off no matter how hard I try chipping away at it! Any advice would be helpful. What would DQ do?

        Like

      2. ladyofthecakes Post author

        At least the fact that you’re calling it coriander shows you’ve already learnt something from this! Not all is lost….
        BTW… tried pulling the plug and letting it defrost?

        Like

    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      No, I hadn’t seen that! Great stuff!! …though I wish I had not looked at those caterpillars with tomato. The fried iguana, though, I’d love to try 🙂
      Also, “Algeria” appears to be about 35 years old. Grandma??? Biologically possible, I suppose….

      Like

      Reply
  5. Kristin

    I’ve seen these pictures in a magazine before and found them to be rather fascinating, so thanks for sharing some of them and the link!
    Haha, looks like a very happy German family! Must be due to all the beer and frozen pizza. The Mexican shot looks like there is missing something… Probably it was taken on a Sunday, when you cannot buy booze, for there are no beer nor tequila bottles in the picture, are there? And btw, did you know they put extra sugar in the coke for the Mexican market? But hey, when you DRINK sugar, you won’t get fat!

    Like

    Reply
    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Don’t get me started on the Mexican food industry… or rather, the strategies pursued there by the multinationals 😦
      BTW, there is beer in that pic, 20 bottles at that, to the right of the Coke. No tequila, though.

      Like

      Reply
  6. welliesandwickets

    Thanks for posting this. It’s so interesting to see the differences by country. If this was a picture of MY family while I was growing up, there would be nothing but cases of soda, cans of soup and frozen meals.

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s