A friend emailed me photos and excerpts from Peter Menzel’s 2005 book, “Hungry Planet:What The World Eats” this week.
Fascinating, thought-provoking and disturbing in equal measure, the book examines the food purchases of 30 families from 40 countries over a week.
The authors present this book as a photo essay. The families are pictured, in their homes, with the total weeks grocery purchases in front of them. The reader is confronted by the subsistence diet of a mother and her children in a refugee camp in Chad, their few meagre items contrasting sharply with the overflowing benches and tables holding the purchases of the more affluent Japanese, German and American families.
Personally, I was fascinated to see what items different families and cultures consider to be part of a regular weekly shop: detailed quantities of products are listed ( a family in Germany ate-what seemed to me, to be an enormous amount of yoghurt) Food purchases from affluent countries featured large amounts of soft drink.
For me, a fascinating, engrossing subject.
Ironic too, in that the book costs much more than the total some of the featured families spend per week on food…
Gratitude for my fresh, varied and secure food choices was tempered by guilt and reflection on the disparity that exists between those who have and those who don’t.
I hope that I get the opportunity to read the whole book one day soon.