Thursday, December 18, 2008

What the World Eats written by Faith D'Aluisio photographed by Peter Menzel

Do you know what a family in Australia eats every day? What about Mali? Or Kuwait? Or China? What do their kitchens look like? Who lives in their home and eats all of this food? What the World Eats is a fascinating book that will answer all of these questions, and many more. The book starts with a photo of an Australian family in their kitchen surrounded by everything they would eat in a typical week. The following page lists all the items in categories and gives an approximate cost in US dollars. There are also maps and little fact boxes about the country. The next 3-4 pages give the family's story and some more pictures of them and their interactions with food. If you are lucky, there will even be a recipe for a family favorite. {Dong Family's Pigskin Jelly is the one I want to try}. The same basic format is followed for 25 families from different economic classes in scattered locations across the globe.
When I checked out this book I had expected to just glance through the photos and maybe skim a few paragraphs of text. However, my attention was grabbed by the first family's photograph and subsequent story. I stayed up into the wee hours of the night just to read this book. I was amazed how many familiar products can be found on kitchen tables around the world. Heinz ketchup and Kellogg's Cornflakes are everywhere, but Coca-Cola is by far the international winner. In fact, it surprised me to find out that the US is not the world leader for per-person consumption of Coca-Cola. You will have to read the book to find out who is.

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