Try to envision 80 people's daily food from around the world. What are they eating?
The photo above is of Katherine Navas, a high school student in Venezuela. Her table consisted of 4000 calories on the day it was recorded by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Alusio in "What I Eat: Around The World in 80 Diets".
Before I talk about the book, I am going to share my own travel-eating experience.
In 2003, I had the privilege of visiting rural China and spending some time in a farm house. You know the concept - "Farm to Table"? Well, they have it DOWN in rural China.
We stopped in a farm house as we were bicycling around rice paddies. There as a sign out front in English that said, "Restaurant"", so my husband and I decided to give it a try.
The farmer didn't speak English so he just showed us the produce that he had picked that morning. By pointing and gesticulating we managed to convince him of our likes and dislikes and also stopped him from butchering a chicken (I'll take mine shrink-wrapped please :)
The meal was tasty, vegetarian, fun, and (obviously) incredibly fresh. I thought about what I eat at home and I realized that this farmer was eating much healthier even though he lacked my material resources. It was a BIG eye opener.
Faith and Peter also visit a farmer in rural China (who butchers a chicken for them) and they record her daily food intake. Vegetables, rice, a little meat, tea - this farmer looks healthy!
Well, I no longer have the money or the time to visit other countries. Fortunately, Peter and Faith will take me to amazing places through their book (and I don't have to leave my chair).
Want to know what a Spanish bull fighter eats? how about a Chinese acrobrat? or a coal miner? They include many different countries (including the U.S.) and many different professions.
The calories range from 900-12300 and the photos and stories of these people are just fascinating. The Venezuelan young woman above lives in a dangerous barrio in Caracas. As I read her story and look at her photo, I want to learn more about her life. Her story ends before I am satisfied I have learned enough.
These stories have impact and, I hope, they will force you to reflect on what YOU eat every day. I have decided to shoot some photos of a day of my intake and share it with all of you. It will be difficult not to self-edit my food for a day, but I think it is a great exercise that will help me LOOK at what I eat.
Peter and Faith also have another great book out called, "Hungry Planet: What The World Eats". In it the photo-chronicle 30 families in 24 countries. The family portraits included a week worths of food purchases. Again, it is fascinating and instructive.
Check these books out and then come back and report how they have changed you.
Please share your stories about changing your diet when your perspective changed.
What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets
Hungry Planet: What the World Eats