Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Food in perspective...

Amazing idea - what a family eats in a week around the world. Shown above, an Andean family.

From Publishers Weekly:

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.

[via Neatorama]


Bill Harshaw said...

Bill Bryson's newest book includes as the book liners, a photograph from Life Magazine of 1951 which showed a "typical American family" and what they ate for a year. See here.

To me, those chickens look mighty scrawny.

John Phipps said...


Hey - how did you get the link in your post? I've been trying to figure that out for weeks.

Did you cut and paste?