Friday, April 29, 2011

What the World Eats

During the process of researching something else entirely, I ran across this fascinating slideshow.

The photos, by Peter Menzel, are from the 2007 book "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats," which documents what families around the world eat in one week. Faith D'Alusio is the writer.

The week's worth of food is arranged, often in the family's kitchen, with the family standing or sitting around it, so you can see how many individuals are in the family, and their relative ages. It's eye-popping to see a family of six in a refuge camp, sitting with its meager portions of grains, nuts, fruits, and water (for $1.23 per week) neatly displayed in front of them, and then flash to a family of four from North Carolina surrounded by piles of sodas, chips, and holding pizzas in a box for a $341.98 weekly expenditure.

Because the reporter includes the price per week each family spends on food, it's not difficult to make the connection between packaged food and higher food costs. Those eating closest to real foods - fruits, vegetables, grains, fish - have much lower food costs. But other details in the photos make clear that packaged foods are associated with a higher standard of living, as judged by the families' kitchens, their clothes, and the televisions.

Like I said, fascinating.

What would your photo look like? Just imagining what my family's weekly food allotment would look like all lined up on the counter makes me want to practice better nutrition.

And there's more: here's a second slideshow from the book.


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