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What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets Hardcover – August 10, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“For the compelling illustrations, the informative dietary descriptions, or the insight between the stories, this book is a must-read for anyone looking for a better knowledge base of what the world eats--and why.”
Today’s Dietitian, 1/1/11

“…fascinating. …A sequel to their equally compelling Hungry Planet. …You’ll find it impossible to not compare the subjects’ daily diets with your own. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to recreate your day’s meals, photograph them and weigh them, just to find out into which chapter you might fall.”
—World Ark, Holiday 2010

“a stunning portrait of the excess, the moderation, and the want that exists today. ...I keep coming back to this book. I read it on my own, taking in the stories of these ‘normal’ people. I read it with my kids—even with my three-year-old—and they pore over the photographs, studying the details, looking for similarities between their lives and those of the kids captured by the lens. And it’s this opportunity to measure your food, your life, with the rest of the world that is profound.”
—The Atlantic’s Food Channel, Top Food Books of 2010, 12/17/10

“a panoramic, provocative window onto 80 different lives and cultures. …The resulting images and revelations are serious food for thought.”
—Parade, 12/12/10

“Bet you can’t read only one page of this fascinating collection.... This husband-wife duo has produced several thought-provoking books. ...This time they address the remarkable diversity of dining worldwide and person by person.” 
—Minneapolis Star Tribune, 12/8/10

“The book no one in your family will be willing to put down.”
—AOL Slashfood, 12/7/10

“detailed, gorgeous photographs.... enriching, even riveting.”
—Washington Post, 12/2/10
“perhaps the most interesting food-travel book is neither of those, exactly. ‘What I Eat’ is a brilliant look at what and how the world eats.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune, Best Travel Books of 2010, 11/28/10

“this smart, glowing books sends readers ‘Around the World in 80 Diets.’ Each subject poses with a day’s worth of food and at least a page worth of insight in the life being led, and fed. The variety is boggling.... Fascinating, with a Wendell Berry essay for dessert.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/21/10

“A fascinating, insightful look at what 80 people around the world eat in a typical day.”
Publishers Weekly, The Best Cookbooks of 2010: Winner of Most Fascinating Food Book, 11/8/10

“The photographer/writer team behind Hungry Planet continues its engrossing examination of everyday life.”
—Mother Jones, Oct 2010

What I Eat offers a view we seldom see, or even think to see. In this case the view is what a day’s worth of food looks like in myriad walks of life, from people dwelling in countries all over the world. The foods and their lives are vividly described. …Together, words and images offer a rich, reflective, and sobering study of our fellow dwellers and eaters on this planet.”
Deborah Madison, Culinate.com, 10/8/10

“When was the last time you received a new book, opened it up, and literally didn’t stop looking for two hours? That happened to me recently with What I Eat, the latest creation of Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio, who also produced another book I treasure, Hungry Planet. ...a kaleidoscope of faces and settings and...diets. It makes for good readingbut also good discussion. ...A book to savor.”
Culinate.com (book giveaway)

What I Eat…does not judge. It simply presents. …Images of healthy people and catastrophically unhealthy people — you can’t get them out of your head. Somehow, without instructing you to think harder about the choices you make when you eat, this book makes you do exactly that. The reason: You wonder what your own portrait would look like.”
—Esquire, September 2010 

“Photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio have produced a visual encyclopedia. ...What I Eat doesn’t treat its subjects like docu-drama puppet figures. Instead, Menzel and D’Aluisio make their points gently—by taking readers inside the lives of the people whose diets they document.”
—Energy Times, September 2010

“In their new and even more ambitious What I Eat, …Menzel and D’Aluisio dig deeper into what mealtimes mean to the workers and families who eat them. ...they are alive to the circumstances that make people eat what and when they do. ...fascinating way beyond the food.”
Corby Kummer, The Atlantic, 9/7/10

What I Eat is the sort of coffee table book you have to remove before the guests come over—at least if you want them to leave. The latest photo-journalism book from Menzel and D’Aluisio is as addictive as their equally engaging Hungry Planet. ...It’s all told so vividly, both visually and verbally.”
—LA Weekly, Squid Ink blog, 9/7/10

“a revealing and fascinating glimpse into the lives of 80 people from all walks of life and around the world.”
—Louise McCready, Huffington Post food blog, 9/6/10

“it’s hard to stop looking at it. ...Even if someone isn’t into food, the social, economic, and political implications of the photos are riveting.”
—Chow.com, 8/19/10

“Looking at the photos has the same allure as peeking into somebody else’s grocery cart, with the added bonus that you can stare without getting caught.”
Village Voice, 8/16/10

“The photographs are eye catching...you will be amazed.”
—The Epi-Log on Epicurious.com, 8/13/10

 “As in Hungry Planet, Menzel and D’Aluisio supplement their beautiful photographs with excellent reporting, telling the story of each individual in compassionate but unsentimental prose. ...It’s a book to lose yourself in for hours, a wonderfully involving piece of food journalism.”
Village Voice, 8/2/10

“It’s a fascinating presentation, and readers can certainly draw their own conclusions from the profiles.”
—Lynn Andriani, Publishers Weekly’s “Cooking the Books” e-newsletter

“[a] fascinating photojournalism book. ...The intimate portraits of natives and their food (and calorie counts) are not only a sample of regional cuisines but a look at how diet affects our health and out planet.”
—Conde Nast Traveler 

“Through vivid photographs and descriptions… What I Eat offers a new perspective on nutrition, the relationship between diet and culture, and how globalization has changed how we look at food.”
—USA Weekend

“A commentary on food, health and culture that would communicate across any lines, even without the absorbing text and stunning statistics.”
The Associated Press

"their findings are fascinating."
—NPR.org The Picture Show blog

“[a] coffee table-worthy collection.”
—Washington Post Express

"a gorgeous volume. ...never before have I seen such a broad and graphic demonstration of what real people put in their mouths."
Washington Post

“I spent many delightful hours this week poring over What I Eat, a beautiful (and hefty) book.”
—Washingtonpost.com, The Checkup Blog
"engaging mini-profiles... The text that accompaines the riveting portraits provides enlightening context."
Los Angeles Times

“We’ve had a copy of What I Eat on our desk for a week or so, and it’s all we can do to stop leafing through it and actually do some work.”
—Wall Street Journal Health Blog

“a solid piece of research as well as a portfolio of striking portraits of people posed with their daily intake.”
—Boston Sunday Globe

 “If ever a book was truly food for thought, it is the fascinating new photo-essay volume, ‘What I Eat.’”
—Cincinnati Enquirer

“a remarkably revealing book. ...Fascinating and provocative.”
—Denver Post

"an intimate glimpse at the world around us."
—7x7 magazine
“stunning photographs and compelling text”
—USA Today

About the Author

PETER MENZEL is an award-winning photojournalist who has been published in Time, National Geographic, and Smithsonian, among others.

FAITH D’ALUISIO is a former TV news producer and the writer for their Material World books, which include Material World: A Global Family Portrait, Women in the Material World, the James Beard Award-winning Man Eating Bugs and Hungry Planet, and What the World Eats.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Material World; 7.11.2010 edition (August 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984074406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984074402
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.1 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Menzel and D'Aluisio write a book of caloric comparison and contrasts. Ever wonder how your diet compares with the average Maasai warrior's? This is the type of question asked by photographer Peter Menzel and his wife, Faith D'Aluisio, in their new book.

However, their book isn't merely a statistical analysis, but rather it's vibrant photo journalism. Those photographs are accompanied by insightful writing. The authors want to visually and cognitively get their readers to consider diet on the global level. There are a total of 80 diets to ponder as we see what others eat and what they don't. For example, the professional model, Egyptian camel broker, Spanish shepherd, Italian friar, Namibian game warden, Japanese bike messenger, or a British mother of three.

Why is it so fascinating to see and read about what other people eat? I'm not sure. What I do know is the diversity is astounding.

Sprinkled through the book are essays on food, politics and culture. This is the type of book that becomes a catalyst for dreaming about what it would have been like to be born on another corner of the globe. In short, it's a delightfully connecting piece of food journalism.
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Format: Hardcover
For slightly more than the price of an ebook bestseller, Material World publishers deliver 335 beautifully printed glossy color pages that your grandchildren will be enjoying decades from now. The content also lends itself to browsing via hardcopy and the size, about triple the area of an ebook reader, is much better for family reading.

The book would be great for discussion with children before a family dinner. For example, the profile of a Namibian diamond polisher shows her at work, at home, and playing sports with friends. The text explains how her migration from a village to the city has led to a mixed diet of traditional and western foods. The photo of "flies feasting on kapana, strips of freshly butchered beef" would be great for a discussion of how sanitary standards differ among cultures.

For those of us who can't go more than two hours without a snack, the profiles at the extremes of the caloric intake spectrum are fascinating. An apparently vibrantly healthy Maasai herder lives on 800 calories per day. An Indian ascetic lives on 1000 calories. A 160-lb. Himba pastoralist lives on 1500 calories per day and looks almost plump, sitting mostly naked with her child.

Folks at high altitude seem to need a lot of food. A 160 lb. Tibetan monk consumes 4900 calories per day. A yak herder maintains a 135 lb. weight on 5600 calories per day. Cold weather also burns off the calories, with a 170 lb. Greenland hunter consuming 6500.

I would write more but I need to go to the fridge...
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Format: Hardcover
The preface of this book should contain the following warning: You are about to get very jealous... and maybe a little hungry (depending upon what page you're on).

Over the 5-year evolving project that led to "What I Eat", Menzel and D'Aluisio traveled to 30 countries and discovered the culture of many different people through the foods each one ate - and shared some meals of their own as well. The journey sounds amazing, and lucky for us, it looks and reads that way too. The stunning photographs and well-written prose lift us out of our own kitchen and deposit us into those of a Spanish bullfighter, Iranian bread baker, Namibian diamond polisher, American farmer, Sumo wrestler, and Inuit Carver, to name a few.

Photographs of each of the 80 individuals profiled are shown with a day's worth of food; each item eaten is listed; and the Caloric intake for that particular day is displayed. Additional information is given about the person, including their trade or profession, age, height, weight, where they live, and details about how they live their life. The Caloric intakes range from 800 to 12,300, the latter being the intake of a binge-eater, and their weights range from under 100 lbs to well over 400. Surprisingly though, lower weights don't always match with a lower Caloric intake, and vice versa, as one would assume. This is probably due to many factors--differences in daily activity levels, the climate in which one lives, the types of foods being eaten, and most importantly--the fact that these calorie counts are only a moment in time, and not necessarily representative of what the subjects consume every day.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A terrific look at how people eat around the world, made extremely interesting by comparing the body weight, height, daily caloric intake, and lifestyle of the people presented. The book is arranged in ascending order of caloic intake, beginning with 800 calories per day. The photography is excellent, particularly the display of what a daily ration of food actually looks like.

This is a book that would interest amost everyone. It is worthy of "coffee table' display, yet is much more important than just a pretty picture book to enjoy in one's idle time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful. I thought I would just flip through this, but I couldn't put it down. There are photos of the food and the people, as well as a story about each one. Wildly different choices of diners -- not at all scientific -- but fascinating nonetheless.
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