Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Currently Hanging | Wait, There's an East Side of ... »

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Eating Planet

posted by on August 8 at 11:16 AM

The subject of Peter Menzel’s photographs is the amount and types of food consumed by people in different parts of the world and class situations:

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


United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week: $341.98
Favorite foods: spaghetti, potatoes, sesame chicken

Bon appetit!

RSS icon Comments


I'll bookmark this to email to anyone who continues to ask "Why do 'they' hate us?"

Posted by Andy Niable | August 8, 2008 11:41 AM

Where's your tedious point?

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 8, 2008 11:43 AM

Salutary post Charles. It is good to remeber that what some of us spend on food in a month is quite often more than the entire yealry income for many families around the world.

Posted by inkweary | August 8, 2008 11:46 AM

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week: $341.98
Favorite foods: spaghetti, potatoes, sesame chicken
What we actually eat (per the picture): as much junk food as possible

Posted by Mahtli69 | August 8, 2008 11:51 AM

The book was even more interesting when it came out, in 2005. Did Time just cover it now?

Posted by snooze you lose | August 8, 2008 11:52 AM

Not to defend American gluttony, but I'd be curious to also see what the life expectancy of each group is. Consuming minuscule amounts of food isn't necessarily the ideal way to eat.

Posted by K | August 8, 2008 11:52 AM

durrr i wonder if malaria and terminal diarrhea and lack of vaccines or sanitation or any sort of affordable medical care affects life expectancy?

nah it's probably just the sheep soup.

Posted by ideal way to eat | August 8, 2008 11:57 AM

@5, i had no idea it came out so long ago. the web is a vast place.

Posted by charles mudede | August 8, 2008 12:00 PM


Maybe you should ask any number of fat haters about that.

Posted by keshmeshi | August 8, 2008 12:04 PM

@6: You're probably wrong there. The most long-lived cultures (Okinawan, some Mediterranean) tend to have diets very different from ours, diets that center around small portions of meat and dairy and slightly less small portions of green vegetables and starches. A number of clinical studies have been done on the effects of 'undereating' on life expectancy, and there seems to be a positive correlation between the two. (NB we're not talking anorexia here; we're talking eating small but healthy amounts.)

And 'Hungry Planet' is a great book; everyone should read/own it.

Posted by Ursula | August 8, 2008 12:07 PM

America does not the copyright on obesity and gluttony. Britian, Australia, Germany, France, .... need I go on?

Posted by raindrop | August 8, 2008 12:10 PM

I'd like some from Column A AND Column B...

Posted by michael strangeways | August 8, 2008 12:12 PM

Eight "family-size" packages of meat for a family of four for one week! Now I'm not one of those annoying vegetarians that constantly hates on my carnivorous friends and family, but holy shit! Also @9: I guess that's why nobody in the US has heart disease or diabetes, huh?

Posted by Jerod | August 8, 2008 12:18 PM

I'm curious how much time it takes a given family in Chad and in the US to obtain, prepare, and cook a week's worth of meals. My suspicion is that in poorer countries a typical family spends a higher percentage of time doing so than does a typical North American family.

Posted by dr_awesome | August 8, 2008 12:18 PM

Mmm, mutton dumplings!

Mayonnaise sandwiches, on the other hand, sound revolting.

Posted by Gloria | August 8, 2008 12:25 PM

@14: Well yeah. Most of what we consume in the US is pre-prepared to some degree. Even when we cook something "from scratch" we still use pre-milled flour from fields we didn't work, pre-butchered meat from animals we never saw in one piece, fruit and vegetables from fields half-way across the... ah nevermind.

Posted by Jerod | August 8, 2008 12:26 PM

I live in nyc, where food is WAY more expensive than it is in NC and I feed two people on $75 a week. And that is 3 meals a day. Of course it involves this archaic process called "cooking"...

Posted by nicole | August 8, 2008 12:47 PM

this is so old. take it down. do a little research next time.

Posted by Josie | August 8, 2008 12:58 PM

Sheeee, I was just relieved to see that the Revis family wasn't white. That's a first for Charles.

Posted by Leigh | August 8, 2008 1:15 PM

Chad is the worst place on earth, and these people are among the worst-off people in Chad. They're probably Darfur refugees. It is hardly a surprise that their diet is thin. If this picture is shocking then you need to read more about what goes in in the Chad refugee camps, where 90% of the males over 5 have been murdered and women routinely refuse to nurse their babies because they know they cannot support them.

From an African's perspective the most amazing thing is probably the dark skin of the over-consumptive Americans.

Posted by Fnarf | August 8, 2008 1:16 PM

I can't wait to be invited for dinner at the Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna.

Me: "Mmm-mmm! These pig knuckles are delicious! Can I have more?"

Mrs Sobczynscy: "I'm sorry, Sobczynscy junio just finished them off. They're his favorite!"

Posted by freshnycman | August 8, 2008 1:29 PM

$341 a week for food, for four people? MOTHER OF GOD!

Posted by HOLY JESUS! | August 8, 2008 1:50 PM

a little misleading. Granted the Chad family has a lot less food, but I don't think you could buy what they do have for only $1.23 in the U.S.

Posted by Jeff | August 8, 2008 2:02 PM

Regardless of how the first family is doing, the second one is eating way too much shit, both with respect to volume and content. That is not an ideal diet for a long, healthy life.

Posted by Jay | August 8, 2008 2:10 PM

Why don't you go knock on their door and tell them that? I'm sure they'll be eager to hear it.

Posted by Fnarf | August 8, 2008 2:16 PM

Maybe the book provides the actual calorie counts? Or adjusts for cost of living? How about BMI's?

Posted by LMSW | August 8, 2008 2:18 PM

you can't buy the amount of food the Chad family has for a buck twenty three

Posted by jomama | August 8, 2008 2:21 PM

That American family should hear this; You're killing your kids! That is a huge pile of garbage!

Posted by Vince | August 8, 2008 2:26 PM

What I find most disturbing in this comparison is the amount of packaging in the second photograph. The food aside, that IS a huge pile of garbage.

Posted by Irena | August 8, 2008 2:39 PM

You're right, Irena, but consider this: do you know how much food spoils in places like Chad before anyone can eat it? Most of it.

Posted by Fnarf | August 8, 2008 4:07 PM

That American family spends nearly my 4 roommates' and my food budget for a month in A WEEK.

Aren't there home economics classes in schools anymore?

Posted by raisedbywolves | August 9, 2008 4:01 AM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.