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

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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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 (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 595,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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.

Customer Reviews

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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic book giving an incredible insight into the crazy ways of eating in the world!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well, my children pick this up and read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 116 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent way to learn about the lives of people around the world. 20 July 2016
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book as part of our homeschool curriculum. We have really enjoyed learning about families in countries around the world, how they live, what they typically eat, and even favorite family recipies. The photography is excellent, really capturing the essence of the lives of the families depicted, as well as the countries they live in.

You will really have your eyes opened about how little some of them have to eat, and how hard they work for what they have. It really gave us a deeper appreciation for how richly blessed we are.
5.0 out of 5 stars Most read coffee table books that everyone wants to borrow! 8 July 2016
By llstayer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing book that really opens your eyes to how much influence huge food corporations have planted themselves worldwide. This book was an eye opener for me and I highly recommend it. It gives you details on what an average family in a particular country eats in a week, brands of food, homegrown, equivalency to American costs, too many details to list. Big fan of this author's books.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A winner resource 17 Oct. 2011
By Jem0988 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a pre-service teacher, I was introduced to this book by a mentor on teaching rounds. She used the photos of the families in the book as a slideshow to compare what foods the families eat in a week. The students found it highly engaging and as I flipped through the book so many lessons were coming to mind. This is a fantastic resource for any teacher of Health, Economics, Geography or Food Technology. This book not only has fantastic photos, but statistics on each country, a complete break down of spend of money on food, a family recipe for each, focus point essays on important issues, as well as a complete lifestyle profile for each family. It is such a useful book for teachers and I highly recommend you get a copy!
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book about a fascinating project. 2 Nov. 2013
By Larry B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I heard the authors speak when I stumbled upon an exhibit of this project that had just opened at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. The concept is intriguing- to analyze by cost, calories, etc., what families eat in different countries around the world. The photography of the families with their week's worth of food is wonderful- telling the story in photos as well as text. It's not the type of book I'd read from start to finish, but I've left it on the kitchen counter, and "dip into" it from time to time. I continue to be interested and have learned much. By the way, I ordered the book from Amazon for a much lower cost than if I'd purchased it at the exhibit, and it was waiting for me when I arrived home.
5.0 out of 5 stars I have some favorite families. 7 Aug. 2014
By Cindy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have always been fascinated by food, and what people eat, and I bought this because I'd seen intriguing photos from it of families with their weeks-worth of food, but the stories about the families are also fascinating, and each family contributes a regional recipe! Yeah!! I have some favorite families... the Madsens of Greenland, the Cuis of China, the Aymes of Ecuador... but all the families are endearing and delightful, and there's something about having a week's worth of food laid out before you like it's Thanksgiving or any festival day that just makes you grin like a kid. Try it and see!
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