Written by Faith D'Aluisio and photographed by Peter Menzel, Hungry Planet documents the weekly grocery costs and items of thirty families from around the globe. It's a fascinating look, not only at what the world eats in a given week (bananas and soda appear frequently), but also at what people spend on their food, and how it differs so widely country-to-country. The family above, the Revises of North Carolina, spend roughly $341.00 a week, the majority of which is spent on beverages and fast food. Meanwhile the Aymes of Tingo in Ecuador spend only $31.00, nearly all of which is spend on grains.Interspersed among Menzel's photographs of grocery shopping outings in Australia, bleak farmer's markets in Bosnia, and fishing expeditions in Greenland, are statistics of the respective country's food consumption (in Japan, 146 pounds of fish are consumed per person a year, while Mexico is the number 1 world consumer of Coca-Cola), and essays by such prominent food writers as Marion Nestle, Michael Pollan and Corby Kummer.
Hungry Planet was released in 2005 by Ten Speed Press, so I'm a little late recognizing this work. I became aware of it on a trip to Copia this past August. Copia had Menzel's blown-up photographs on display, and I was absolutely riveted by the food, the colors and the uniqueness of each family dynamic. I was lucky enough to receive the book as a gift last month, and everyone I've shown it to has been equally drawn to these families, and to something as simple as their grocery lists.