Every day, millions of families around the world gather--at the table or on the floor, in a house or outdoors--to eat together. Ever wondered what a typical meal is like on the other side of the world? Or next door? Cultural geographers Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio visited twenty-five families in twenty-one countries to create this fascinating look at what people around the world eat in a week. Meet a family that spends long hours hunting for seal and fish together; a family that raises and eats guinea pigs; a family that drinks six gallons of Coca-Cola a week.
In addition to profiles of each family, What the World Eats includes photo galleries and illustrated charts about fast food, safe water, life expectancy, literacy rates, and more!
Each family's profile features:
* Full-color photographs, including each family posing with the food consumed in a week.
* Information about each family's food, including cost and quantity.
* A world map showing where each family lives.
* Facts about that country, including population, currency, average income, and more.
This enthralling glimpse into cultural similarities and differences is at once a striking photographic essay and an essential study in nutrition and the global marketplace.
A Letter From the Authors
Traveling to a country to research what people eat is a fabulous way to understand it. Even better is traveling to a lot of countries to compare and contrast what people eat and why. That's what we did in What the World Eats. The centerpiece of our coverage in each of 21 countries is a photographic portrait of a family with one week's worth of food. One of the best parts of the book are the grocery lists that we compiled to show exactly what each of our families were buying. We list brand names and food amounts as well, as it's interesting to see how certain brands are incredibly well-traveled.
In some countries we covered more than one family. In China, for instance, we included both a rural farming family, the Cuis, and an urban one, the Dongs, who live in Bejing. The two families' eating habits are very different. The Dongs shop in a modern supermarket for the same types of foods that one might find in the United States, and use convenience foods. The Dongs eat in restaurants occasionally and their son loves KFC. The Cuis, conversely, have never tasted fast food, and always eat at home. They buy their food from small shops and outdoor markets as the Dongs used to before China began to modernize. If you look at both of their photographs, both have fresh foods in abundance, but there are many branded items on the Dong's table, and only one in the Cui's week's worth of food. The Dong's table looks more like that of one of our three American families covered in the book.
In every chapter we include details of our discussions with the families about their lives and circumstances. We traveled to a refugee camp in Chad to spend time with sixteen-year-old Abdel Karim Aboubakar and his mother and siblings.The Aboubakar's are one of thousands of Sudanese families from Darfur displaced by the genocide taking place in their home country. They escaped over the border to avoid being killed and now live in refugee tent cities. His family's food consists of grain porridge, some dried vegetables, and water—all supplied by the United Nations and its member countries.
It's interesting to watch children with this book in their hands. It doesn't require being read from front to back and they don't approach it in that manner anyway; they're drawn in by the food portraits and begin immediately to compare themselves to what they see. Afterward they go back to fill in information. What the World Eats is meant to get kids thinking about the world around them, but also about the food on their own plates. The U.S. Center for Disease Control reports that one in every three children born in the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes at some point during their life, and that more than 60 percent of American adults, and 30 percent of children are overweight or obese. This in one of the richest, most powerful countries on the planet; we are eating ourselves to death, but we can do something about it if we understand the problems. This book aids that understanding.
Faith D'Aluisio & Peter Menzel
Starred Review. Adapted from last year's Hungry Planet
, this brilliantly executed work visits 25 families in 21 countries around the world. Each family is photographed surrounded by a week's worth of food and groceries, which Menzel and D'Aluisio use as a way of investigating not only different cultures' diets and standard of living but also the impact of globalization: why doesn't abundance bring better health, instead of increased occurrences of diabetes and similar diseases? These points are made lightly: delivered almost conversationally, the main narrative presents friendly, multigenerational portraits of each family, with meals and food preparation an avenue toward understanding their hopes and struggles. A wealth of supporting information—lush color photographs, family recipes, maps, sidebars, etc.—surrounds the text (superb design accomplishes this job harmoniously) and implies questions about global food supplies. Pictures of subsistence farmers in Ecuador cultivating potatoes from mountainous soil form sharp contrasts with those of supermarkets in a newly Westernized Poland. Fact boxes for each country tabulate revealing statistics, among them the percentage of the population living on less than $2 per day (47% in China, where the average daily caloric intake is nonetheless 2,930 per person); the percentage with diabetes; number of KFC franchises. Engrossing and certain to stimulate. All ages. (Sept.)
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