For Hungry Planet, Menzel and D'Aluisio visited thirty families in twenty-four countries. Each family profile starts with a photograph of the family with all the food that they would eat in a week spread across the dining room table, in a common room, or in front of whatever dwelling they inhabit. The displays vary greatly. In
Following the family photos are grocery lists, essays about the families, statistics about their countries, family recipes, and more colorful photos. The photos often show members of the family shopping, cooking, or harvesting crops, but Menzel also includes them at local celebrations, engagement parties, and restaurants. In the profile of the Aymes family of Equador there are photos of them hiking in the mountains with their mule, fruit sellers in the market of Zumbagua, and sheep awaiting their turn for slaughter.
Hungry Planet also includes essays on economic, health, environmental, and moral issues. "McSlow" is about the slow food movement. "Launching a Sea Ethic" discusses the depletion of fish populations and implications for food supplies. "Diabesity" reveals increasing health problems associated with increasing use of sweet processed foods. My favorite essay is "Cart a la Carte" which points out that street food is a result of industrialization; there must be people working away from home for a street food movement to begin; with prosperity, street food moves indoors.
Hungry Planet was named the James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year. It would be a great discussion book. Every library should have a copy or two.
Menzel, Peter and Faith DAluisio. Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.