The Hungry Planet: What the World Eats

When Sam was young, I used to read to him a lot.  All that reading paid off because today he is a voracious reader.  But I miss the good ole days of sitting side by side in bed or on the sofa with a boy curled up against me–begging me to read just one more book, then, when he got a little older, one more chapter.

I recently got a chance to relive some of that closeness with my teenager over a copy of a truly fascinating and beautiful book, The Hungry Planet.  We chanced upon it at our local library and finally, after checking it out multiple times, I decided to purchase our very own copy.

Authors Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio traveled to 24 countries to visit 30 families and showcase each of them surrounded by a visually stunning week’s worth of food.  From a small Himalayan village in Bhutan to an affluent community in Germany.  From Egypt and Australia to Mexico and Chad, we get intimate glimpses into the homes of families around the world.

Each chapter details the lives of families we get to know by name.  With vivid, engaging pictures, we learn about cultures and lifestyles very different from our own. Included are family recipes and country statistics.  Jim, Vegan Man, was interested in life expectancy and meat consumption per person per year.  Sam was hoping I might make some seal stew (fat chance).

Subjects such as malnutrition, obesity, the effects of urbanization and fast food are also discussed in such a way that is enlightening and educational when looking at them from a global perspective.

This is a book that the entire family can enjoy on some level and can lead to pretty great conversations with children of all ages.  Through Amazon the cost of a new copy approaches $30, but there are multiple used copies out there from a number of sellers.  I bought ours for about $10 which included shipping.

This would make a great gift–for your family.  Tuck into a bowl of seal stew (recipe, page 81) and do some “armchair travelling” for the price of a movie ticket.




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