What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets
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What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  458 ratings  ·  100 reviews
A stunning photographic collection featuring portraits of 80 people from 30 countries and the food they eat in one day.

In this fascinating study of people and their diets, 80 profiles are organized by the total number of calories each person puts away in a day. Featuring a Japanese sumo wrestler, a Massai herdswoman, world-renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adria, an American co...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by Material World (first published January 1st 2006)
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Lisa Vegan
Feb 11, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers who like spying into others’ lives & who’ve enjoyed similar books; the food obsessed?
I really liked Material World: A Global Family Portrait and Hungry Planet and was excited to read this one too, another book by the same primary author as the other two and also sharing the same co-author as the other food based book. I wasn’t as enthusiastic about this book as I was about the others.

It turns out I find it tedious to read the details of people’s daily food intake. Readers get the details! I’m shocked at how many calories most people eat; even when I was active multiple hours a d...more
Karen
This was the most fascinating picture, non-fiction book I think I have ever read. Coffee table size with great pictures of 80 people around the world and the food that they eat in one day and why. The book is in order of the least calories (800 for a Maasai Herder woman in Kenya) to the most (12,300 for a lady in Great Britain). My two favorites were the 12 year old runaway train porter in Bangladesh (1400) and the Latvian Beekeeper (3100). You come away from this book realizing Americans really...more
Pam
If you are interested in food, eating and the world, then this is the book for you. Chock full of gorgeous photos and interesting people and places, this book gives you great insight into what and how much people eat around the world. Unfortunately I learned that despite what everyone tells us, very few people in the world really eat vegetables! Even the vegetarians in India that they feature eat primarily grains and dried beans. That said thre are a few Americans featured whose diets are just a...more
Katie
I love all the Material World books (well, not the one about eating bugs - I'm skipping that one!) and this one was as good as the rest. They are all essentially photojournalistic takes on people all over the world, about various topics (women, family, food, property, life situations). I just find it interesting to see information about and pictures of individual people in different countries - it gives other cultures much more of a face and personality than statistics or cultural overviews. It...more
Bobby
Jan 20, 2011 Bobby rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Bobby by: Matthew Brewer
This fascinating book closely documents the average daily food intake of 80 people from around the world. It is amazing to read the range and volume of food some people eat - though each is given a short bio describing who they are, what they do for a living, and where they live. I am still trying to decide who in this book I most identify with - I think it may be Menzel and his wife, Faith D'Aluisio. It definitely made me stop and think about what I eat, when I eat, and wondering how many calor...more
Kellie
This is another great book---this series doesn't disappoint. The book is composed of snapshots of a person's diet, meant to represent a typical day's food choices and total calories. It took a while to get through this book, a lot of information is provided on what is eaten, calories, and for some subjects additional details on their daily life (activity levels, etc). However it's interesting information and the photos are great.
Maggie
I always love love love these types of books. I read each profile & every essay in this book & loved every single moment. The Palestinian portrait was the most gripping for me. And the essay on the subjective nature of calories was so so so informative. I think food speaks so much about who we are and how we relate to others and the planet. Such a beautiful book.
Amber
This book exemplifies photo journalism at its best. It shows the rich diversity of cuisines and peoples of the earth. What we eat in one day is pictured with the subject. Also, this book gives a narrative of their life, country, and current events. Very intresting and fun read.
Charlotte
I didn't read every word of this book, but I read some of it and looked at all the pictures. It's VERY interesting. It shows the food different people eat in one day and about their life.
Sara
The authors traveled around the world, finding ordinary (and not-so-ordinary) people who were willing to be interviewed and photographed with their day's worth of food.

I really enjoyed this book! The photography was great, and the cross-section of the world - organized by calories per day - ranged from a Kenyan herdswoman to a British stay-at-home mom, from an Egyptian executive to an Icelandic fisherman. It was an excellent demonstration of the lessons of the small world - both in the ways that...more
Betsy Vera
At first glance, this book has a simple premise: to illustrate what people eat on a typical day. But it gets more complicated than that. You know those kids books about “how children live around the world?” It’s like that, but better.

The book is organized in order of calorie count — from a Maasai herder during a drought (800) to a binge-eating British woman (12,300). For each of the 80 people in the book (plus 20 more on the book’s website), there is a detailed list of what they ate on that day,...more
Emily
I have recently become an obsessive calorie counter, so this book was super interesting. (Obesessive to the point that I know that I ate 930 calories of the hot fudge birthday cake that I baked for myself yesterday. It was worth it though. Way worth it.) The book is arranged in ascending calorie order, so people who eat the least are at the front and the big eaters are deeper in the book. I was suprised to find that typically I eat more than only three of the eighty people in this book. Huh?! I'...more
Dree
This book is fascinating.

But--there is always a "but," right? But I think, at least for the Americans, Canadians, and Australians, they went out of their way to find "cool" people. Lifeguard, soapstone carver, model, meat grinder, high-rise welder. Etc etc. These people are certainly interesting and yes, they are representative of the many many people in those jobs. But they are also all largely physical jobs.

What do most Americans do for a living? Sit at a desk all day--whether they are account...more
Elizabeth
Reading this book is like taking a voyage around the world without leaving your chair. The book first caught my attention because 1) it was huge! 2) it was about food (one can figure that a book dedicated to food can't be half-bad, huh?) 3) the whole cover had like three words and the rest was filled up with pictures and 4) it would count as informational. Just for me, as an individual, it's rather hard for an informational book to drag me into its clutches--only the best of the best can do tha...more
Michelle
This book is fascinating. Get/borrow this and your whole family will be constantly picking it up and browsing. Rather like Hungry Planet, which the authors also did, but different. The authors found 80 people around the world, and had them display the food they ate in a typical day (it was families and food for a week in Hungry Planet). People in the modern industrial world, people in utter poverty, people in between. People who ate food we recognize, people who ate some pretty amazing things (p...more
Maren
I can take the whole food obsession thing in small doses. This is my most recent dose. I liked it not only for the food aspect, but also for the photography, biographical, and cultural aspects of it. It's a nice book that you can flip through lazily, or read cover to cover.

I felt like some of the people featured in the book were included more for shock value than to actually demonstrate what an average person from that country would eat, which bothered me a little. Some countries were represente...more
Liz
This book is a sociological and anthropological treasure with beautiful photography. It's like the best of NatGeo multiplied by ten. Although the 80 diets covered span fewer than 80 countries, the diversity of individual professions and lifestyles seems to me to represent the world's 7 billion people better than you could possibly hope with a 0.000001 percent sample size. The book does a fantastic job capturing how different humans' lives can be (easy to forget when we're surrounded by others wh...more
Laura
This book was great! I can't think of anyone that wouldn't enjoy it. They basically meet people from various cultures and record what they ate on a typical weekday. It includes a short write-up on the person (what they do, their place in their culture, their family situation) and gorgeous photos of them, where they live and what they ate. It's really eye-opening. Some of the juxtapositions are obviously planned - the Palestinian cabbie who's now in an Israeli prison comes right before the Israel...more
Laurie
Aug 29, 2010 Laurie marked it as to-read
Shelves: nonfiction, wms-order
"An outlier in this category but fascinating nonetheless is "What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets." Photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D'Alusio — whose award winning 2006 "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats" launched its own genre — offer a coffee table-sized photo essay documenting what 80 individuals in 30 countries eat in a single day.

"Organized according to the number of calories consumed — from least to most — the photos take you from a Maasai herdswoman in Kenya posing next to...more
Heather
Beautiful photography. I found it fascinating to see how people from around the world eat. Some of the diets started to seem a bit redundant and there were a few more types of people I wish were included. But I found some of the stories of people's lives to be very interesting (who knew what life is like as a professional bullfighter or that some people keep massive piles of dried yak dung in their houses for fuel!). And the way the book is put together, you could quickly summarize the details o...more
Happyreader
Am enjoying so far this look into what people are eating each day. As someone who takes diet recalls all the time, I appreciate how difficult it was for the authors' team to calculate the calories of all the participants. Love the variety of diets - from the Indian urine drinker to Vietnamese rice farmer to the American dieters. One observation is that the American eaters have the most boring diets. I love the daily diets of the Middle Eastern and Asian participants the most.

Right now, I'm at ar...more
Jocie
Pictures 80 individuals from around the world with the food they eat in 1 day. Large, well done photographs with at least a 1 page description of that persons lifestyle.

I am interested in other cultures and health, so to me this was a treasure-trove!

It is organized according to how many calories they eat, starting from the least to the greatest. The most overweight person was American, of course, and ate one of the least amount of calories. The person who ate the most calories (exceeding the nex...more
Maria
Peter Menzel and his wife traveled around the world and photographed 80 people and the food that they eat in a typical day. They interviewed them too and wrote a page or two about what their life and exercise is generally like. The pictures are amazing and it was very interesting to see everyone's choices.

Why I picked it up: It looked interesting and I thought that I could just flip through it.

Why I finished it: I ended up reading the whole book because it was so interesting to see the variety o...more
Allison
OMG! Food porn, travel porn, and brain porn (read: Big Ideas) all in one big, beautiful book of lush (and sometimes gruesome) photography? Yes, please. Clearly I am not doing justice to what this book sets out to do, but what can I say? I am shallow. I leave you with this:

"Eating with the fullest pleasure is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creat...more
MJ
Almost as wonderful as their 1996 Material World, one of my most favorites ever.

This large format, pictorial work is arranged by calories consumed, lowest to highest. We get details on the person's height, weight,and pictures of the person's daily food consumed. We learn about their family, work, culture, and country.

It's pretty weird oscillating between a Maasai herder with 800 calories on a particular day and a Sumo wrestler at 3500 per day.

I give this book 5 stars because I LOVE the picture...more
Tracy
it was amazing to see what people eat from different cultures, around the world and based on the work they do. A Brazilian fisherman eats close to 5000 calories a day but he spaces it out-which i thought was amazing, since I can't tell you how many calories I had for dinner.

Good book, nice pictures...I know it's strange, but I thought it was a bit wasteful for them to show all the food they eat in front of them. I'm thinking in the poor countries did this food spoil? I may be the only person thi...more
Vi
This book collects a diverse number of "typical" diets of both men and women of different socio-economic statuses throughout the world. Each biography includes an image of the person with their typical meal, the dietary analysis of the meal and a brief essay about the culture and his/her life. The book includes a few teenagers and a variety of weirder diets, the urine drinker as an example.

the book is highly recommended for teens and adults who want a light coffee table read to skim. Perfect fo...more
Patricia
Somewhat interesting.
Maria (Ri)
This was visually and gastronomically wonderful for me! I love reading books about travel and food. I am also a naturopathic physician who educated patients on nutrition, so this was a fascinating way for me to think about various types of diets and the health consequences of them. While the photos often speak for themselves, I did enjoy reading the little stories about the individuals. I'll be placing a copy of this book in my waiting room for patients to peruse before their appointment. Highly...more
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