Books: What The World EatsWhy I am recommending this book:
Because "we are what we eat" and how we eat reveals so much about who we are. What the World Eats will, through wonderful pictures, informative graphs and interesting narrative, provide an entertaining experience that will leave you enlightened, not only about the differences in the way people in different parts of the world eat, but also in the different ways that we fundamentally live.
(For me, it also raised some interesting questions about health and well being as it relates to what we are eating.)
Adapted from last year's Hungry Planet, this brilliantly executed work visits 25 families in 21 countries around the world. Each family is photographed surrounded by a week's worth of food and groceries, which Menzel and D'Aluisio use as a way of investigating not only different cultures' diets and standard of living but also the impact of globalization: why doesn't abundance bring better health, instead of increased occurrences of diabetes and similar diseases? These points are made lightly: delivered almost conversationally, the main narrative presents friendly, multigenerational portraits of each family, with meals and food preparation an avenue toward understanding their hopes and struggles. A wealth of supporting information-lush color photographs, family recipes, maps, sidebars, etc.-surrounds the text (superb design accomplishes this job harmoniously) and implies questions about global food supplies. Pictures of subsistence farmers in Ecuador cultivating potatoes from mountainous soil form sharp contrasts with those of supermarkets in a newly Westernized Poland. Fact boxes for each country tabulate revealing statistics, among them the percentage of the population living on less than $2 per day (47% in China, where the average daily caloric intake is nonetheless 2,930 per person); the percentage with diabetes; number of KFC franchises.