Hungry Planet: The Book

It’s already been pretty much established that America is a fast food nation. In fact, a book by Eric Schlosser with that exact title pretty much spells it all out. Many of us eat our own weight in hamburgers and fries every year, and you could fill a Volkswagen with the amount of grease that oozes its way though our bodies in a lifetime.

But is America unique in this respect? I’m always reading articles about how the Chinese are becoming increasingly obese. Same with the Europeans…yes, even the culinarily snooty French. But it still raises a very interesting question: What does the world eat?

In an amazing-sounding book of photos and text called Hungry Planet, photographers Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio offer a study of families from around the world, revealing what people eat during the course of one week. Each family’s profile provides a description of their weekly food purchases and is accompanied by photographs of the family enjoying food at home as well as shopping and out in their community. There is also a main shot showing the family surrounded by, well, food. The book also contains essays by a gaggle of well-known writers like Francine R. Kaufman, Corby Kummer, Charles C. Mann, Michael Pollan, and Carl Safina. I’m actually listening to Pollan’s Botany of Desire right now on my iPod, so I’ve been tuned into these “What do we eat and why” books, shows and articles.

Anyway, I thought this was one of those really simple, but cool, ideas that reveal a lot about how we live in this fast food day and age.