What the World Eats

During my morning blog round-up I stumbled across this super interesting photo-essay from Time magazine, on Green L.A. Girl's blog. The subject of the essay is 16 families from around the world, what they eat weekly, and how much is costs them. The photos are from the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio (which I now have to get my hands on). The book basically chronicles what the world eats and explores global forces that are affecting diets around the world, or something along those lines. It also gives a detailed breakdown of the food that each family eats so that you don't have to spend all morning scrutinizing the pictures, like I have (Do those Sicilians eat a lot of persimmons, or are those just really persimmon colored tomatoes?) Prepare for a full review once I get my hands on it.

Anyway, I absolutely love pictures, especially pictures that capture culture. Since food, and foodways are fundamental elements of culture, a whole pictorial essay of how people eat is bound to get me a little excited (an inner-anthropological-dork glow if you will.)

So here is the essay.......right here. I am most intrigued by the disparity between the African family living in a refugee camp who spend approximately $1.23 a week on food and the German family that spend over $500 dollars a week on food (mmmmm, beer). And please don't get me started on the lack of vegetables in the U.K. family's and the U.S. family's weekly stash. And Jesus H, some cultures really like their frickin' Coke. And can I just, for a second, point out the STRONG correlation between a higher processed foods and boxed meals content and larger grocery bills (juice and Hamburger Helper ain't cheap, eat your grains). But I digress. Check the essay out. It's interesting, especially if you are like me and thoroughly enjoy grocery day because you get to visually pick apart baskets in the check out line, just to see how other people eat.


  • At 7:08 PM, Blogger Ed Bruske said…

    Makes you wonder why Americunns get to stuff their faces so cheaply, no? Aren't we a bit pre-occupied by food, when the rest of the world is just trying to survive?

    I'm sure the stockholers of Coke are happy...

  • At 5:46 AM, Blogger La C. said…

    If you mean "we" as in the people in blog-land who cook, write about and photograph food, then yes "we" are preoccupied with food. If you mean Americans as a whole, then I would have to argue no. There is so much "food" here, so much bad food that is cheap and easy to acquire that I think most Americans don't think about food for longer than it takes them to hit the drive through and scarf down their number four with fries. I'd even argue that most Americans don't like food. Most of the convenient stuff is shit. The rest of the stuff, the real food, is perceived as inconvenient. AND since food is a necessity this makes it a burden in this "I want everything, right now, as conveniently as I can have it" culture.

  • At 1:16 PM, Blogger theogeo said…

    I wish I could go back to my childhood and fix whatever happened to make me so damn picky. I have a foodie's heart, but a 10-year-old's tastes.

    Still, I like reading about this stuff. Thanks for the link to the photo essay. Very interesting.

  • At 1:13 PM, Blogger Chris and Kate Lareau said…

    Heard an article on NPR the other day about a study that tried to correlate the amount we spend on food with our levels of health. I think the theory can only be applied to certain cultures. But on the whole, I find it relevant that Europeans are generally healthier than Americans and they spend approx. 20% of their budgets on food, whereas we spend 8%. Cheap, unhealthy food is seen to be very satisfying by Americans. Twinkies and Ho-hos, for instance.

    I'm with you, this stuff is fascinating.


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