Book Review: Hungry Planet
I love, love, love the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Alusio. Menzel and D’Alusio traveled around the world sharing meals with people and taking photographs. The photos feature families in countries around the world standing with the food that the family eats in an average week. Placed side-by-side, the food photographs paint an amazing visual picture of economic, social, political, and cultural issues. The photos look like this one, from India:
But I really recommend getting your hands on the book; check your local library. In addition to the photographs and captions–which break down the total amount of money spent on food weekly, by food groups–the book also includes essays about each family included in the book and statistics about each country. There are also essays by well-known writers like Michael Pollan, plus recipes from each of the countries.
On one level, this book is a visual feast, a foray through countries and cultures. (In addition to the photographs of individual families, there are tons of gorgeous photos from each featured country.) But on a deeper level, this book is also a dip into some big and crucial global issues: global inequity in the distribution of resources, the very real existence of hunger in people’s daily lives, the global coexistence of malnutrition and overnutrition, and the way changing eating patterns and food-marketing patterns are contributing to an increase in diseases like diabetes and cancer. It’s eye-opening to think about where each of us would fit into this global portrait, and what that really means.
Let’s pretend we’re sitting in a room looking at these pictures together, because I’d love to talk about it. How do you feel when you look at these photos?