What do the families of the world eat?

December 5, 2007 | By | 4 Replies More

Many of them eat much the same food as you, but there are many differences too. This is a wonderful photo-essay published by Time.  The Photographs, by Peter Menzel, are from the book Hungry Planet.

The unvarnished facts speak loudly while you click through the series of photos. I found that viewing these photos was emotionally intense, sometimes celebratory and other times guilt-provoking.

The cost of the families’ weekly food added an interesting dimension to the experience.  The German family downs $500 of food (including lots of meat and dairy) per week.  One of the American families eats $341 per week (including lots of pre-prepared foods), while the other American family (from California), spends only half that much and eats much healthier food.  The family from Chad somehow gets by on $1.23 per week, largely on grains, with just a smattering of fruit. 

The essay is allegedly about food, but the houses and neighborhoods are incredibly interesting.  Many of the world’s families featured here live in comfort comparable to the American families.  But not all of them, to be sure.

The essay is ostensibly about different types of food consumed by different types of families.  But it is also about healthy eating versus unhealthy eating.  It’s about prepared food versus prepare-it-yourself food.  It’s also about the way family members relate to each other.  There are a lot of clues in these photos.

To flip through the whole series only takes a few minutes. I highly recommend it.


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Category: American Culture, Culture, Food, photography

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. xxxx says:

    "Many of them eat much the same food as you,"

    I've always shied away from cannibals.

  2. Erich Vieth says:


    Don't make fun of cannibals. Also, we could start solving a lot of our energy and environmental problems if more people would start eating other people.

    BTW, what is your last name? "xxx" or "x" or what?

  3. xxxx says:

    "BTW, what is your last name? “xxx” or “x” or what?"

    No, "x" would be my middle name. Thank you for inquiring.

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