Thommy Ford Reads

A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library

50 Great Cookbooks at Thomas Ford – Week 13

Hungry Planet was named the James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year in 2006.

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio (641.3 MEN)


What does your family eat in a week? Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio asked that question around the world and with the answers created Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, a worthy sequel to their books Material World and Women in the Material World.

For Hungry Planet, Menzel and D’Aluisio visited thirty families in twenty-four countries. Each family profile starts with a photograph of the family with all the food that they would eat in a week spread across the dining room table, in a common room, or in front of whatever dwelling they inhabit. The displays vary greatly. In Guatemala the Mendoza family stands outside behind a couple of tables loaded with colorful vegetables, a basket of berries, and big sacks of corn, potatoes, and onions. The Ukitas in Japan are in their living room with a table covered with fish and vegetables and packaged foods spread across the floor. In front of the Aboubakars family in a Darfur refugee camp in Chad are two medium bags of grain, a small bag of legumes, and about a dozen little bags of fruits and nuts. The three U.S. families profiled have large but ethnically differing displays.

Following the family photos are grocery lists, essays about the families, statistics about their countries, family recipes, and more colorful photos. The photos often show members of the family shopping, cooking, or harvesting crops, but Menzel also includes them at local celebrations, engagement parties, and restaurants. In the profile of the Aymes family of Equador there are photos of them hiking in the mountains with their mule, fruit sellers in the market of Zumbagua, and sheep awaiting their turn for slaughter.

Hungry Planet also includes essays on economic, health, environmental, and moral issues. “McSlow” is about the slow food movement. “Launching a Sea Ethic” discusses the depletion of fish populations and implications for food supplies. “Diabesity” reveals increasing health problems associated with increasing use of sweet processed foods. My favorite essay is “Cart a la Carte” which points out that street food is a result of industrialization; there must be people working away from home for a street food movement to begin; with prosperity, street food moves indoors. – Review by Rick

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This entry was posted on March 25, 2012 by in 50 Great Cookbooks, Book Review, Cooking, Non-Fiction.
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