Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hungry Planet by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio

What does your family eat in a week? Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio asked that question around the world and with the answers created Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, a worthy sequel to their books Material World and Women in the Material World.

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 Guatemala the Mendoza family stands outside behind a couple of tables loaded with colorful vegetables, a basket of berries, and big sacks of corn, potatoes, and onions. The Ukitas in Japan are in their living room with a table covered with fish and vegetables and packaged foods spread across the floor. In front of the Aboubakars family in a Darfur refugee camp in Chad are two medium bags of grain, a small bag of legumes, and about a dozen little bags of fruits and nuts. The three U.S. families profiled have large but ethnically differing displays.

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. Napa, California: Material World Books, 2005. ISBN 1580086810


sushil yadav said...

In response to your post "hungry planet" and environmental/ moral issues I want to post a part from my article which examines the impact of industrialization on our minds and environment. Please read.

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.

Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.

To read the complete article please follow either of these links :




Nonanon said...

Everyone should look at this book. It's important, and a fascinating read, too.