Hungry Planet

by Peter Menael and Faith D’Aluisio

This is a beautiful oversized photo book. The authors visited 30 families in 24 countries and photo them in their daily lives, and the family with a week’s worth of food. It’s mind boggling to see the difference between a family from an industrialized nation and one from an impoverished country or even a refugee camp. It’s also interesting to see how many Kellogg’s cornflakes and Coca Colas show up around the world, how familiar food appears with a different package that is at once familiar and foreign.

Even the caption of the book is thought provoking: subjects are asked to name their favorite food. There is the expected pizza and potato chips, and even the no-longer-exotic sashimi, but for polar bear to be named a favorite food in Greenland – that certainly is interesting. More intriguing is that in places where you basically eat whatever you can find or grow, there is no concept of favorite food. I suppose you are just grateful for food and can’t afford to dislike something.

The book also has lots of eye opening facts, such as Mexico ranking number one in worldwide per capita consumption for Coca-Cola, and trailing the U.S. closely on obesity rate; while China enforces an one-child policy for over a decade now, its birth rate is higher than many European countries; how many cigarettes some countries consume (how can Japanese smokes almost 10 cigarette per day and still lives so long??)

Which reminds me of the joke: Japaneses smoke more than Americans, they live longer. French drinks more wine than American, they live longer. Obviously, what kills you is being American…

My favorite photo is the one of the Ecuadorian family. The smile of the whole family is so radiating. You almost feel them welcoming you to share at their table, meager though their fare may be…

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Published in: on April 17, 2008 at 4:06 am  Leave a Comment  

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