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Hungry Planet

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,625 ratings  ·  211 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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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: meus-emprestados
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
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.
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
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
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
continually use as part of our homeschool studies
Wesley V
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.
Lisa 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
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 (& depr ...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.
Jul 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The only thing I will warn you about is how big it is. Definately a coffee table book.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, food, 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
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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.
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, food, travel
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
Title: Hungry Planet: What The World Eats
Author: Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio
Genre: Photo Essay
Theme(s): Perspectives, culture, unity, apprieciation
Opening line/sentence: JAPAN: The Ukita family of Kodaria City

Brief Book Summary: This book shows readers what other parts of the world look like. What are those other families go though? What do they eat? How to they survive? Some cultures are new, some are not. It brings a big tear to your eyes on some pages when you realize you shouldn’t take
Cindy Pomerleau
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I read this book because the host for my book club wanted to choose a book that would be a quick read (after all, it's July at the beach!) but still stimulate a lively discussion.

This book - more accurately a novella - was first published in 1987. The author, Jeannette Haien, then in her sixties, was an American with a second home in Ireland. The author was a professional pianist and her first novel is a tribute to her musician's ear, even if the brogue is a little thick in places. The book won
Oct 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Elaine Meszaros
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Amazon does a good review, which I am going to borrow:
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
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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