Today I stumbled onto this fascinating excerpt from a book called Hungry Planet, which was serialized on the Time magazine website when it came out a few years ago. Photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D'Alusio visited 30 families in 24 countries to research this collection of portraits. Each family is shown with a week's worth of food, along with the cost of that food (in local money and in U.S. dollars), plus a list of the family's favorite foods and/or recipes.
The photos are eye-opening, literally, especially when you compare, say, the abundance and variety of foods eaten by a family of four in Germany (cost: about $500 a week) with the much more meager and monotonous foods eaten by a family of five in Chad (cost: $1.23). The lists of favorite foods include everything from rice to polar bear to pastries.
There's something quite wonderful about the way these photos show us, without posturing or judgment or politics, each family's relationship with food. I was especially captivated by this as I've been contemplating a similar personal photo project. But this is so much better.