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Hungry Planet

4.48 of 5 stars 4.48  ·  rating details  ·  1,211 ratings  ·  190 reviews
On the banks of Mali's Niger River, Soumana Natomo and his family gather for a communal dinner of millet porridge with tamarind juice. In the USA, the Ronayne-Caven family enjoys corndogs-on-a-stick with a tossed green salad. This age-old practice of sitting down to a family meal is undergoing unprecedented change as rising world affluence and trade, along with the spread ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Material World
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,432)
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Katie
I would give this book 8 stars if I could.
What a great idea! I've seen the book where they place families and all their possessions outside their dwelling around the world, but this takes one weeks worth of food the family eats and places it in front of them.

The family may be the father/mother/children or elderly couple with a more elderly parent or widowed mother/children.

Not only is it the amazing photographs, every food item is categorized including quantity and price, but the entire grocer
...more
Alita
Jul 15, 2007 Alita rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Part photo essay, part political/social commentary, part foodie exploration. It's an amazing book that chronicles the authors' journeys to 24 countries to see how everyday families eat. The book is arranged alphabetically by country. They have photographed the ordinary weekly food intake (at the authors' expense) of each family and written a companion essay touching on the circumstances of that family, general information about the country, and so forth. The pictures are high quality, and the es ...more
Lisa Vegan
Mar 30, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who’s interested in other people and how they live
I actually like this book a lot more than other similar books such as Material World. I first saw this as an exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago and then read a copy of the hardcover book. I enjoyed it enough so that I bought the paperback version and although I have not reread it, but I have occasionally looked through it.

It doesn’t get 5 stars from me because, as with all these books comparing people’s circumstances depending on what countries/parts of the world they reside, it doesn’t prov
...more
Elyssa
Nov 11, 2007 Elyssa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
We recieved this book as a wedding gift along with Material World, another 5 star book. Hungry Planet is a written and photogrpahic journey of the eating habits of families in various countries. Each family visually displays and lists their weekly grocery purchases. The narrative provides background on the family and the history and customs of their country. The family also provides a favorite recipe--I hope to go back and try some of these. The most interesting countries for me were Okinawa for ...more
Tracey
The authors visited 30 families in 24 countries and asked them about their dietary habits, as well as taking a photo of them with a week's worth of food. The countries visited ranged from the US & Australia to Chad and Mongolia. Essays about food-related social issues from various authors (including Jared Diamond & Eric Schlosser, IIRC) are sprinkled throughout, and a chart comparing the countries' financial & food-related statistics is included at the back. A fascinating (& depr ...more
Betterthanfiction
Menzel and D’Aluisio, authors of The Material World have created yet another fascinating collection of photos, stories and statistics from around the world. While The Material World focused on the material possessions of households around the world, this collection focuses on the diet and foods of everyday families. Families are photographed with a week’s worth of food, along with a general description of calorie intake for their country, expenditure of food, number of McDonald’s in the country ...more
Melissa
This was a very fascinating book. Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio make a good pair in putting their talents together and creating this masterpiece of food marvel. The main point of the book is to track the weekly food intake of families from all over the world, but goes in to much more than that.

The main focus of this book is on the families within it. They range from three people to over a dozen and the amount of food they go through in a week. The variety includes families from Kuwait, Greenl
...more
Greta
How often do you sit around and think about what you actually eat over the course of a week? How often do you ponder how what you eat impacts your time, your health, your relationships and the overall life of the planet? What would happen if you sat around and read a book describing what other people around the globe eat and how it impacts them, their health, and ultimately, your health as well? We're all connected, as they say.

This book is brilliant. It is enlightening. It makes you think. And
...more
Margaret
I almost have no words to describe how amazing this book is. Menzel, a photographer, and D'Aluisio, who authors the text to go with his photography and happens to be his wife, spent a week each with thirty families in twenty-four countries. At the end of that week, Menzel and D'Aluisio paid for each family to buy an average week's worth of groceries. Each family poses with their food in their home, such as it is, and the book provides a grocery list in addition to a few pages about the family. T ...more
Loraine
I read the 2005 edition of Hungry Planet: What The World Eats, when the planet fed 6 billion people. Today, eight short years later, the population has reached 7.16 billion, and Mother Earth is still feeding us. We are depleting our resources, though.

Menzel's photography is superb. The organizing principle is a still shot of each of the 24 families and the food they eat in a week surrounding them. The foodstuffs are also listed. The commentary by Faith D'Alusio, Menzel's wife, is thoughtful but
...more
Phoebe
If you saved all the food/liquids that you ate/drank in a week and placed everything onto a table, what would the table look like? This was the question posed by photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D'Aluisio who traveled around the world and documented in startling photographs and prose what normal families typically ate/drank. Each chapter of the book contained a full sized family portrait with the food that the family ate, an interesting essay about the authors' travel in the area, the ...more
Dian
Yet another piece of literature that I picked up during my food book craze, this book is very similar to What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets. The authors of this book, Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, traveled around a good variety countries of the world and spent a week with each featured family to learn about their lifestyle through the food they consume in each week. From seal meat in Alaska to street foods in the Philippines, it is filled with interesting, authentic, wholesome, and eas ...more
Michael Joseph
Hungry Planet by Peter Menzel
Non-Fiction
Hungry planet shows how every one eats different types of food. In China the Dong family spends most of their money on fish and meats. In India the Patkars spend most of their money on dairy products such as milk powder or ice cream. This book has recipes in case you like something that seems interesting or exciting. In the united states people seem to like more prepared food and fast food. In my opinion this could be the cause of obese or over weight peo
...more
Michelle
WOW would be a good one-word reaction to this beautifully done book full of food for thought. I am a fan of the Material World books, anyway, but this one was really thought-provoking, with scattered essays to point up some of the issues illustrated by the photos. This is a fantastic book, a must-read for anyone wanting to know more about the people of the world and what lives are like. I am still pondering and processing some of what I read. Some things I've been thinking about:
1) I'm stunned a
...more
Keith
okay, I'm not quite done with this book yet, but I'm nearly through and it needs to go back to the library... over a week ago I guess... so, here's my review.

From the folks that brought us the Material World coffee table book, which was photographs of families with all their possesions outside their houses, comes a book, featuring many of the same families I believe, this time posed with all their food for a week. Highlighting the differences in diet among the various folks in various places in
...more
Lael
Amazon does a good review, which I am going to borrow:

Amazon.com
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 picture
...more
Ben
The photos in this book are amazing. The text isn't bad either. Really great read for anyone interested in food. My booktalk from library school is down below.

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, photographed by Peter Menzel, written by Faith D’aluisio.

Have you ever wondered what the neighbors eat? Why they’re so fat, or so thin? What those strange and appetizing smells are that waft in from their kitchens? How about someone in another part of the world?

A family in Australia were raised in the ou
...more
Stacy
Reading Hungry Planet definitely expanded my understanding of our world and the diverse people that inhabit it. I really enjoyed the pictures, and found the portraits of the families standing with their weekly supply of food to be powerful displays of inequality. Personally, I was surprised that while many of the Western countries had so much more in terms quantity, it seemed that many of the other countries enjoyed so much more in terms quality (aside from those in refugee camps).

I thought the
...more
Elizabeth
I tracked down this book when an e-mail was going around with some excerpts. I am so much more aware of how much I spend on food and what I buy. The photos of the American’s food were so repulsive compared to other families who had lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, etc... And the families who had next to nothing really made me appreciate the abundance we have in this country. I generally despise leftovers but I have been making a point to be sure I either do not cook more food than ...more
Kim
Nov 14, 2007 Kim rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who eats food
Ok, here's a fun trick: read " The Tortilla Curtain" and then immediately follow up with "Hungry Planet". Then go into a supermarket and fall down on your knees marvelling at the wondrous selection around you...

"Hungry Planet" is a fascinating look at the variety of foods that people in different cultures consume during the course of a week. It's not a difficult read, but it took me a long time to get through because each story is really powerful, and puts you completely into the shoes of anothe
...more
Elizabeth
This book combines several of my interests- geography and travel, food, and statistics. Anyone interested in these things will find a lot to enjoy about Hungry Planet. I think is an engrossing read with a fascinating look into what people actually eat around the world combined with editorial-style essays.

I highly recommend this read.
Loran Keyse
I was assigned this book for my Economic Geography class in lieu of a textbook and I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. The book has tons of very beautiful and striking photos in it which accompany each essay. I learned quite a bit from the book and it was interesting to see the types and amounts of food that different families around the world eat. There were funny little things I noticed too like the fact that even some of the poorest families still had Coca-Cola in their picture.

I enjoyed read
...more
Jen
I enjoyed this book, although it's not a "cover to cover" book. I found the font annoying and hard to read continuously. I also thought the author was trying to make a political statement about the western world, and maybe he was, but it was a little too preachy for me. That said, I loved the IDEA of this book, and found the most fascinating part to be the pictures of the weekly food consumption of families in different cultures. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but it served its purpose for me ...more
Hannah
What's so strange about this book is that it's about something completely different than what the authors think it's about. Maybe they got a grant to study the effects of globalization on obesity, so maybe they're obliged to include writing on this tired topic in the book's short essays. Who knows? Ignore the essays -- one does not need to travel around the world taking pictures of people with a weeks' worth of food to pontificate about the health effects of McDonalds. One does, however, need to ...more
Kelly Cooke
I read this coffee table book cover-to-cover, which is kind of strange. But, it's fascinating and one of my favorite books ever. Ev-er. [But it just got docked one star because I had to add a book to my top ten list and this very cool book was bumped from the list.]

A husband/wife, photographer/writer team went to 30 countries and photographed families with all of the food they would eat in a week. And then there are a few photographs of each family doing life and a few pages of text for each.

I
...more
Nancy
Read this awhile back...but a fascinating book that I'd like to read again. The pictures show how good America and other countries have it regarding the abundance (often processed) of food we have. The visual evidence will make you thankful and appreciative of what we have in comparison to others. I'm a sucker for these coffee table books.
Erika
This was a fascinating book to read. A world tour of cousine, culture and economics. Menzel and D'Aluisio toured 24 countries, visiting and eating with 30 families around the world. They learned what they eat in a week, how they get it, prepare it and serve it. They visited local markets and family farms.

At the end of each visit, they took a portrait of their host family, surrounded by a week's worth of food. The similarities and differences are compelling. The cost differences are staggering. T
...more
Kelley
This was a really neat book. I first heard about it in my World History class. We were talking about the present day and my teacher pulled up a website that had a bunch of pictures from this book. It's was really shocking to see how much people eat in a week and how little some people spend.

I used this book and A Material World this past summer at my church camp were I was a consular. We all looked at some of the pictures that I had pulled out and we talked about how we could help people who did
...more
Rachael
Jul 26, 2008 Rachael rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: foodies, anyone really
Fascinating. I loved the photos, the statistics, the stories of the families around the world. For instance, I knew NOTHING about Bhutan before reading this book. Now, at least I know a little. It is shocking to see how privileged we are as Americans, and how much people around the world have to pay for even less food.

However, I could have done without the guest essays and the endless reminder that fast food= death, misery, and evil. I would love to garden and compost and shop organic, but I am
...more
Tina
I love food and good photos and learning about different cultures, so it's no surprise I found this book so amazing. It's got photographs, essays, and stats of what one week's worth of groceries entails for different families around the world (as well as the different markets/cooking methods/customs of different cities/countries) and it is FASCINATING. It's also heartbreaking at times, when looking at the weekly food of families in largely undernourished countries. It made me think about my own ...more
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