I received this incredibly interesting link a few days ago in my inbox from a like minded friend. What it basically shows is the weekly food bills for a number of families from around the world, it not only shows what was spent by the family, but what they got for it. The differences are really quite startling, but what struck me immediately was no matter the country or the culture, those of us in this world with more disposable income seem to buy the worst food! We buy everything out of packets and bags and boxes, and horrors, take aways. Is this because we’re lazy? No time to cook? Easily brainwashed by the stupid “buy this” propaganda on the telly? Do we allow our kids to dictate to us? Are we pressured into buying these things because everyone else is? Are we just completely and utterly stupid? What, what is it? Assuming an even playing field, it would also be interesting to note the cost of the medical and dental bills over the course of a year for these same families too!

On the home front I’m going to see if I can estimate what our weekly bills might be as a comparison. I don’t think it’ll be a straight forward exercise though as we only buy fresh things every week, we do a bulk shop for food that doesn’t perish, frozen or tinned for example, about once a month sometimes less than that. We also buy organic where ever possible, and that costs a bit more, and you can’t always gauge exactly what you’ll use either. For instance, we had home made chilli last night, the basis of which was two large tins of tomatoes and three smaller tins of different beans. We’re not likely to use any more tins of beans in the near future, and enough chilli went in the freezer for two more main meals….. so how do you work that out!??

The photographs are by Peter Menzel and are taken from a new book called Hungry Planet which looks like a very good read, only problem is though, stuff like this is rarely read by the people who really should be reading it!!

Edit: Found the following reviews on the web for the book….

“Arresting, beautiful, enlightening and infinitely human, this is a collection of full-page photos of families around the world surrounded by what they eat in a single week — from Bhutan to San Antonio. Read the illuminating statistics and the essays. This is a book for the family and for the classroom. You won’t see the same old “aren’t we better than them” attitude, nor will you be shamed. This book reminds us that what we eat is the simplest, yet most profound, thread that ties us together.”
—Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Host of American Public Media’s Public Radio Program, The Splendid Table.

“the politics of food at its most poignant and provocative. A coffee table book that will certainly make coffee interesting.” –Washington Post

“While the photos are extraordinary–fine enough for a stand-alone volume–it’s the questions these photos ask that make this volume so gripping. This is a beautiful, quietly provocative volume.” -Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This book of portraits reveals a planet of joyful individuality, dispiriting sameness, and heart-breaking disparity. It’s a perfect gift for the budding anti-globalists on your list” -Bon Appetit

“[A] unique photographic study of global nutrition” –USA Today

“Grabs your attention for the startlingly varied stories it tells about how people feed themselves around the world. Its contents are based on detailed research, beautifully photographed, presented with often disturbing clarity.” -Associated Press

“The world’s kitchens open to Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio, the intrepid couple who created the series of books called Material World…. As always with this couple’s terse, lively travelogues, politics and the world economy are never far from view.” -New York Times Book Review

“illuminating, thought-provoking, and gloriously colorful” –Saveur magazine

“Richly colored and quietly composed photographs….Hungry Planet is not a book about obesity or corporate villains; it’s something much grander. Its premise is simple to the point of obvious and powerful to the point of art.” -Salon.com

“A fascinating nutritional and gustatory tour.” -San Jose Mercury News

“A grand culinary voyage through our modern world…a lushly illustrated anthropological study.” -San Francisco Bay Guardian

“The talked-about book of the season…the stories are fascinating.” -Detroit Free Press

“Unique and engaging” –Delta Airlines Sky magazine