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Hungry Planet: What the World Eats Hardcover – 31 Oct 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press,U.S. (31 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580086810
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580086813
  • Product Dimensions: 31.8 x 2.6 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 229,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

It's an inspired idea--to better understand the human diet, explore what culturally diverse families eat for a week. That's what photographer Peter Menzel and author-journalist Faith D'Alusio, authors of the equally ambitious Material World, do in Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, a comparative photo-chronicle of their visits to 30 families in 24 countries for 600 meals in all. Their personal-is-political portraits feature pictures of each family with a week's worth of food purchases; weekly food-intake lists with costs noted; typical family recipes; and illuminating essays, such as "Diabesity," on the growing threat of obesity and diabetes. Among the families, we meet the Mellanders, a German household of five who enjoy cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants, and beef roulades, and whose weekly food expenses amount to $500. We also encounter the Natomos of Mali, a family of one husband, his two wives, and their nine children, whose corn and millet-based diet costs $26.39 weekly. We soon learn that diet is determined by largely uncontrollable forces like poverty, conflict and globalization, which can bring change with startling speed. Thus cultures can move--sometimes in a single jump--from traditional diets to the vexed plenty of global-food production. People have more to eat and, too often, eat more of nutritionally questionable food. Their health suffers. Because the book makes many of its points through the eye, we see--and feel--more than we might otherwise. Issues that influence how the families are nourished (or not) are made more immediate. Quietly, the book reveals the intersection of nutrition and politics, of the particular and universal. It's a wonderful and worthy feat. --Arthur Boehm --From Amazon.com

Starred Review. For their enormously successful Material World, photojournalist Menzel and writer D'Aluisio traveled the world photographing average people's worldly possessions. In 2000, they began research for this book on the world's eating habits, visiting some 30 families in 24 countries. Each family was asked to purchase at the authors' expense a typical week's groceries, which were artfully arrayed whether sacks of grain and potatoes and overripe bananas, or rows of packaged cereals, sodas and take-out pizzas for a full-page family portrait. This is followed by a detailed listing of the goods, broken down by food groups and expenditures, then a more general discussion of how the food is raised and used, illustrated with a variety of photos and a family recipe. A sidebar of facts relevant to each country's eating habits (e.g., the cost of Big Macs, average cigarette use, obesity rates) invites armchair theorizing. While the photos are extraordinary fine enough for a stand-alone volume it's the questions these photos ask that make this volume so gripping. After considering the Darfur mother with five children living on $1.44 a week in a refugee camp in Chad, then the German family of four spending $494.19, and a host of families in between, we may think about food in a whole new light. This is a beautiful, quietly provocative volume. (Nov.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --From Publishers Weekly

For those with children - or childhood memories of having to clean your plate - hunt out the fascinating Hungry Planet by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Alusio (Ten Speed Press, £28) which looks at what the world eats by following 30 families in 24 countries through 600 meals. It's a lavish production mixing anecdote, diary, recipes and food bills that deserves a large readership - definitely one to order for your local library or donate to a school. --Friends of the Earth's supporter magazine

About the Author

PETER MENZEL is a freelance photojournalist whose work has appeared nationally and internationally in National Geographic, Forbes, Fortune, Time, and other publications. FAITH D ALUISIO is a former award-winning television news producer. The team has also published MAN EATING BUGS, Women in the Material World , and Robo sapiens: Evolution of a New Species. Faith and Peter live in Napa, California.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 16 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Absolutely love this book. Probably slightly out of date now, the photographs look like they were taken a while ago, but still a very interesting book. And in inspired way to look at how people eat around the world. The authors visit families around the world, spend some time getting to know who they are and what they do. Then have them gather together a week's worth of food for the photograph. The comparison between the poorest African countries with their bowls of grain, and Western diets is astonishing. The book also makes an interesting comparison between countries where all the food is fresh and from local markets, and those where the supermarket with its tonnes of packaging is the norm. A fantastic idea and a book well worth owning if you are interested in food.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw an excerpt from this book in a national newspaper and immediately wanted to buy it. I have not been disappointed. It is a unique and fascinating concept-the author takes random families from around the globe and photographs them with their weekly food shopping. If you are interested in food, travel and people then you must buy this book. Not only does it have many large beautiful colour photographs but it is a good read too. With each family that they stayed with in the book we learn a little about them and their lives, their struggles and get a recipe that they make with regularity. It is an eye opener, to see the amount of money spent in western countries on food, mainly processed, and to compare it with the meagre rations of the refugees in Chad. A beautiful coffee table book aswell as a very interesting read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 102 reviews
78 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Menzel is brilliant once again 10 Oct. 2005
By B. Emory - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a huge fan of Peter Menzel's works, I preordered this book and was incredibly excited for its arrival. Not only was the photography and descriptions of the families brilliant, but Menzel included excerpts from leading nutritionists, scientists, environmentalists, and my own personal heroes among them Michael Pollen. I especially enjoyed the articles entitled Diabesity and Slow Foods. Another brilliant aspect is the pertinent facts about the countries that the familes come from, which include not only geographics, population density, and life expectancies but also number of McDonald's, the % of obese and overweight, and the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes.

Menzel and D'Alusio were also keen to write personal experiences in the countries they visited- the shock of seeing Ramen noodles in Papua New Guinea, or eating dugo (my aunt's personal favorite) congealed swine blood in Manilla. Their facts, and photography, along with their personal experiences opened my awareness to many different cultures as did the first 4 books that they have collaborated on before this.

Well done once again
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
gorgeous yet informative photos; interesting text 8 Oct. 2005
By Philip Greenspun - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first saw these images in a museum in Napa California. They had been enlarged to almost 2'x3' in size and were stunning. I like the book, better, however, because you can look deeper at each culture and the text is fascinating. This is a great book for showing young people the variety of life experienced in different parts of the world. I bought copies for all of my nephews and cousins.
92 of 102 people found the following review helpful
i was in the book 9 July 2006
By Tyrone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
My name is Tyrone Demery and i am the younger son from the Revis family.

doing the book was an amazing and lucky experience. You really never understand how much food you really eat until it's ALL layed out on your kitchen counter.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Hungry Planet- What the World Eats 25 Oct. 2005
By Milena Soni - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio have done it again! As a true fan of all their books, I have savoured every page of the beautiful photography and the insightful descriptions in this book. Just like I did with Material World and Women in the Material World, I have read "Hungry Planet" in one sitting.

Faith's writing makes you feel like you really got to know the families and manages to give us the essence of their lives in a few pages. Pete's pictures make you feel like you went along on the trip with them. I specially liked the recipes for the different foods that are included in the book as well as Peter's field notes which are most revealing and make the book all the more intimate.

What I find most amazing is that our four children (ages 19 through 11) have been fascinated by the book just as much as by the Material World book. I think the format is very appealing to young readers because it is full of tidbits of information that let's us compare our own food choices to those of the rest of the world.

If we could all come away with just one lesson learned from this book, it would be "hara hachi bu", like the Okinawans say, "eat until you are 80% full".

Hungry Planet is an informative and entertaining book, it will make for a good gift for everyone in your Christmas list!
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Most Americans Have No Idea 30 Nov. 2005
By Amanda Petrucelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
What a phenomenal book. I like to think visitors to my home would flip through this while waiting for me to make them a hearty, slow foods dinner and the photos alone would provide conversation for the whole evening. We have no idea in this country how lucky we are. How wasteful. Every corner of this book is filled with statistics, catchy captions, lists and delightful international family recipes. There are also essays and longer texts detailing individual families and deeper food issues. But even the illiterate could aquire years of knowledge just studying the photos. And, I'll tell you what else, it inspires me to eat a little bit less at every meal.
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