Hungry Planet: What the World Eats
Posted by redracer on June 13, 2007
I just found out about this fascinating book which was published in 2005, and documents what amounts & types of food different people eat in various countries around the world.
The project started in 2000, with the authors travelling around the world paying for the ‘average’ families typical groceries used in one week. All this is piled together for a ‘portait’ with the family concerned, as well as a detailed listing of the goods, broken down by food groups and expenditures, and then a more general discussion of how the food is raised and used, together with a variety of photos and a family recipe. More information relevant to each country’s eating habits (e.g., life expectancies, number of McDonald’s & cost of a Big Mac, the % of obese and overweight people, and the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes) is also given.
There are 30 families in 24 countries documented in the book – here are some samples of 15 of them …
The Ukita family of Kodaira City (Japan) – 2 adults & 2 children, expenditure US$317.25. Lots of fish here of course and a variety of fruit & vegetables as well as many prepackaged natural products. I’m sure there must be a lot of rice too, but I can’t see it. They say their favourites include sashimi, fruit, cake & potato chips !!!
The Manzo family of Sicily (italy) – 2 adults & 3 children, expenditure US$260.11. LOTS of bread here, and also fruit/vegetables & pasta. Can’t see any pizza !!! Their favourites include fish, pasta with ragu, hot dogs & frozen fish sticks.
The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp (Chad) – 1 adult & 5 children, expenditure US$1.23. VERY few & basic variety of items here for a reasonably large family. Their favourites include soup with fresh sheep meat, which I am sure they do not get all the time 😦
The Al Haggan family of Kuwait City (Kuwait) – 2 adults & 4 children + 2 others, expenditure US$221.45. Quite a variety of different foods here, with lots of bottled water. Quite a large & luxurious kitchen !!! Their favourites include chicken biryani with basmati rice.
The Revis family of North Carolina (USA) – 2 adults & 2 children, expenditure US$341.98. Can’t say I am surprised here (except there are ONLY 2 pizzas), with lots of ‘junk’ food, and very few fruits/vegetables. Their favourites include spaghetti, potatoes & sesame chicken.
The Casales family of Cuernavaca (Mexico) – 2 adults & 3 children, expenditure US$189.09. Lots of fruit & vegetables & spring water, but also lots of Coke & beer !!! Their favourites include pizza, crab, pasta & chicken (not tacos ?? 🙂
The Dong family of Beijing (China) – 2 adults & 2 children, expenditure US$155.06. Quite a good mixture of different types of food here. Their favourites include fried shredded pork with sweet and sour sauce.
The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna (Poland) – 2 adults & 3 children + 1 cat, expenditure US$151.27. Another good variety, but lots of candy bars. Their favourites include pig’s knuckles with carrots, celery and parsnips 😦
The Ahmed family of Cairo (Egypt) – 12 adults & children, expenditure US$68.53. Doesn’t see much food for so many people, but mostly all pretty good natural produce. Their favourites include okra and mutton.
The Ayme family of Tingo (Ecuador) – 2 adults & 7 children, expenditure US$31.55. All natural produce here – not a plastic bag in sight !!! Their favourites include potato soup with cabbage.
The Caven family of California (USA) – 2 adults & 2 children, expenditure US$159.18. Lots of processed food here, but only about 1/2 the amount (and cost) of the other American family !!! Their favourites include beef stew, berry yogurt sundae, clam chowder & ice cream.
The Batsuuri family of Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) – 2 adults & 2 children, expenditure US$40.02. Meat, dairy & grains predominate here, with not as much fruit/vegetables. Their favourites include mutton dumplings.
The Bainton family of Cllingbourne Ducis (UK) – 2 adults & 2 children + 1 dog, expenditure US$253.15. Loys of dairy products here, as well as candy bars & frozen ‘junk’ food. Their favourites include avocado, mayonnaise sandwich, prawn cocktail & chocolate fudge cake with cream (and cat food!!).
The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village (Bhutan) – 13 adults & children, expenditure US$5.03. Lots of rice, and mostly fruit/vegetables. Their favourites include mushroom, cheese and pork.
The Melander family of Bargteheide (Germany) – 2 adults & 2 children, expenditure US$500.07. HEAPS of beer & fruit juice, as well as lots of processed meats (but can’t see any sausages !!!). The most expensive of those pictured. Their favourites include fried potatoes with onions, bacon and herring, fried noodles with eggs and cheese, pizza & vanilla pudding.
Unfortunately, the Australian family is not pictured in the samples here, but apparently it depicts a portly family with the mother who had suffered a stroke near age 50 years, sitting behind a table piled high with over 50 pounds of meat plus 4 gallons of dairy products, 4 gallons of sugar-laden drinks, etc., but very few “healthy” foods. It was very easy to see why she was over weight and developed a stroke. But not typical of ALL Australians, I claim 🙂
Compare this to the thin Chinese family, who consumed 20 pounds of meat but 47 pounds of fruit and over 50 pounds of vegetables. Looking at the poor family from Chad, I can understand their situation, having just watched a TV program here called ‘The Lost Tribes’, where 3 Australian families had to travel to remote parts of Africa and Indonesia and live with primitive natives there for 10 days, doing what the tribes did, and eating the same food which they mostly had to catch themselves.
If you wish to see more about the book, here is a link.
I remember seeing a book with a similar concept a few years ago, whereby families from all around the world placed ALL their material possessions out the front of their house, so you could see what sort of wordly possessions, and how many, people from different countries had, as a sample of the standard of living there. I suspect it may have been by the same authors 😆