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Hungry Planet

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  1,739 ratings  ·  216 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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Average rating 4.44  · 
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 ·  1,739 ratings  ·  216 reviews

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Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is another book from Menzel, about 10 years on from "Material World". Four families from that book are also included here (Natomos in Mali, Ukitas in Japan, Namgays in Bhutan and Costas in Cuba). You can see changes in these families, including new children. The purpose of this book is to show 30 families in 24 countries, circa 2003/4, pictured with a week's worth of food and drink grouped in categories (like meat, dairy, grains, beverages), plus the miscellaneous category which includes ci ...more
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
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: z-america-north, meus
This is a wonderful travel, food and photography book all in one. The authors take us along a round the world trip visting families in countries from all continents and giving us an account, not just about what they eat, but also how they live, making this a travel book in the true sense of the word. The book also includes several essays from other authors about topics such as the impact of fisheries and collection of other seafood on marine resources, eating habits and health, etc. I really lik ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This isn’t the kind of book I read cover to cover. Rather you dip into for visual and factual snapshots of how various folks around the world eat. It is about a decade old now, so somewhat dated, but it still blows your mind to see all the variety culturally.

This book illustrates the food habits of 25 countries through the lens of a typical household and its consumption in a week. As in his past book about possessions - he does this by showing folks posed with those items. Then they look at a r
Amity Hinkley
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Very interesting book. Each chapter highlights a family from somewhere in the world. We see what they eat in a week and read about how they cook and shop, as well as why they eat the way they do. Also included are essays connecting diet and disease, or global food patterns and the environment. I will definitely read this book again.
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lovely book for flipping through or reading cover to cover. It is so interesting to see how people eat around the world. Such a wonderful way to explore cultures.
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
continually use as part of our homeschool studies
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Incredibly interesting and gives so much insight into how different types of people treat food and grocery shopping. Great photos too.
Diana Cramer
Fine photojournalism on one of the most basic things that binds us, and in some ways, also separates us, as people sharing one globe.
Bit of a warning: this book came out in 2005, so some of the info is certainly out of date, but I think the general portrait is still apropos.
Interesting read for anyone interested in the geography & cultural significance of food.
Nov 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: voyeuristic food lovers
I ran across this book in the cookbook section of the library. While it has a few recipes in it, it's not a traditional cookbook. It's a comparison of various families around the world and what they eat in the course of a week. Each family is surrounded by all the food they would normally purchase and eat in one week with corresponding list of food items in the picture and food cost.

This book was put together in 2005, so the world and its economy has had time to change in 10 years. The American
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Nov 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 21, 2007 rated it liked it
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 (& depressing) look at ...more
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very nice pictures, and made me think about what I eat and how people look more and more healthy as they approach the ground in what they eat. The families that spent more and had everything in little bottles and packets, look also more and more unhealthy. I liked the lack of biases in this book, and the way it makes you re-evaluate your whole life by seeing all those happy faces that are so happy with so little.
Anna Mussmann
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was really fascinating. I expected a heavy-handed shaming of American/Western overeating, but the story of foods and culture as found in this book is much is much more nuanced and complicated.
May 30, 2021 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, photo
I saw something on Facebook once that added up what the average person spent if every meal they ate was purchased. $5 at the coffee shop. $10 for lunch. $15 for dinner. "You're not too broke to travel; you're just too lazy to cook."

Fast food is cheap and convenient. Packaged foods aren't necessarily cheap, but convenient. Cooking at home is healthier and cheaper, but not many of us do it. An article in The Washington Post from March 2015 stated that less than 60 percent of suppers served at home
Mar 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a freaking fantastic book; this will sit on my coffee table forever. Peter and Faith present a kaleidoscope of cultures through vibrant pictures and well-written narratives of the lives of the subjects. It can be stunning to be learning about a family living in a tiny hut with no electricity in Bhutan, then to turn the page to find yourself in Australia where the family beams in front of an aboveground pool.

From refugee camp rations to gallons of Coke, we get an intimate view of what peopl
Bridget Allebach
Title: Hungry Planet: What the World Eats
Author: Peter Menzel & Faith D’Aluisio
Genre: Photographic Essay
Theme(s): Diversity, Differences, Nutrition
Opening line/sentence: “Peter Manzel and I invited ourselves to dinner with 30 families in 24 countries to explore humankind’s oldest social activity, eating.”
Brief Book Summary: In this wonderful photo essay, we take a trip around the world to visit different countries and experience their eating habits. Bright, delicious looking pictures of the diff
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic! What an undertaking and what an achievement! I remember seeing some of the pictures blown up along a hallway in a museum and being enthralled with them (all the other groups kept passing us by...). This book includes so much more than just the week's food pictures and the description of eating habits around the word. I can't say enough good things about it. ...more
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I would have liked to see more daily meals. Also, I didn't think it was fair to show some of the poorest countries when they were not in growing/harvest season. ...more
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, food, visual
It's not perfect, but it's damn amazing. ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting, factual, researched book about food, costs of, and cultural backgrounds from families around the world. Beautiful pictures!! We enjoyed this book.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my absolute favorite coffee table books. As an anthropologist, I am fascinated by global differences.
Suburban Homeschooler
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is dated, but still fascinating!
Sakshi Pandey
Apr 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a masterpiece on what we can call as food anthropology. While reading one can actually feel how lives of people revolve around food throughout the world be it Iceland, Bhutan, Italy, or Japan. An amazing read!
Apr 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Wow. Just wow. The clarity this brings to diet, locality and socio-economic status is incredible.
May 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschool-books
4.5 stars
Ryborg Plantagenet
Jun 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a great book to help kids develop a global perspective. Food is one thing we all have in common and the things we eat are as varied as the members of our species.
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