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Pedagogy: A Week’s Worth of Groceries

October 23, 2013

Photographer Peter Menzel’s book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats was published in 2007 but appears to be enjoying a popular resurgence in recent months, making the rounds on the blogosphere and being the subject of an exhibit at the Nobel Peace Center’s gallery until February.

The book photographs families from around the world with all the food they would consume in a normal week. It also includes some very basic data, such as how much the family spends on food each week and what the family’s favorite foods are.

For those of us to teach in food studies (broadly defined), the book provides a powerful starting point for class discussions on topics ranging from global inequality (contrasting, for example, the family from Chad with the family from Germany) to globalization (by looking for familiar products consumed by families around the world) and the ubiquity of Coca-Cola.  However you approach the topic, the book is definitely worth having a look at.

Peter Menzel, from the book, "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats." Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp. Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23. Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat.

Peter Menzel, from the book, “Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.”
Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp. Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23. Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat.

Peter Menzel, from the book, "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats." Germany: The Sturm Family of Hamburg. Food Expenditure for One Week: € 253.29 ($325.81 USD). Favorite foods: salads, shrimp, buttered vegetables, sweet rice with cinnamon and sugar, pasta.

Peter Menzel, from the book, “Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.”
Germany: The Sturm Family of Hamburg. Food Expenditure for One Week: € 253.29 ($325.81 USD). Favorite foods: salads, shrimp, buttered vegetables, sweet rice with cinnamon and sugar, pasta.

 

Peter Menzel, from the book, "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats." United States: The Revis family of North Carolina. Food expenditure for one week: $341.98. Favorite foods: spaghetti, potatoes, sesame chicken.

Peter Menzel, from the book, “Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.”
United States: The Revis family of North Carolina. Food expenditure for one week: $341.98. Favorite foods: spaghetti, potatoes, sesame chicken.

 

Peter Menzel, from the book, "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats." Turkey: The Celiks of Istanbul - Food expenditure for one week: 198.48 New Turkish liras or $145.88. Favorite Foods: Melahat's Puffed Pastries.

Peter Menzel, from the book, “Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.”
Turkey: The Celiks of Istanbul – Food expenditure for one week: 198.48 New Turkish liras or $145.88. Favorite Foods: Melahat’s Puffed Pastries.

 

 

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