What the World Eats



Flibbertijibbet, via Flickr

Dave Bast and Liz Waid look at the book “Hungry Planet: What the World Eats”. This book shows the different ways people prepare and eat food around the world.

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Dave Bast.

Voice 2 

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3 

“Peter Menzel and I invited ourselves to dinner with 30 families in 24 countries. We wanted to explore people’s oldest social activity: eating.”

Voice 1 

These are the words of writer Faith D’Aluisio. Peter Menzel is her husband. He is also a photographer - he takes beautiful pictures. Together, they travel the world. Faith writes about the things and people they see. And Peter takes pictures.

Voice 2 

In the mid 1990s, Faith and Peter began to notice how people’s diets across the world were changing. They decided to write a book about their observations. Today’s Spotlight is on this book called Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.

Voice 1 

Food is a very important part of family life. It is part of everyone’s history and culture. Faith D’Aluisio and Peter Menzel wanted to show how diet affects health and culture. And they wanted to present this information in a beautiful way. In their book, Faith explains:

Voice 3 

“To learn more about how diets are changing, we watched normal families all over the world. We watched as they farmed, shopped at the market, cooked, and ate. At the end of each visit, we created a picture of the family. In the picture, the family is surrounded by all the food they normally eat in one week.”

Voice 2 

Each chapter in the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, starts with this large picture of a family. All the food they eat in a week is spread around them. Under the picture are the names of the family members. There are also the names of the city and country where they live.

Voice 1 

The information also includes how the family prepares their food. Some families use a stove or a small electric microwave to cook their food. Other families cook around a fire on the ground. The book also explains how each family keeps their food fresh. Many families use an electric refrigerator to keep food cold. But other families must eat everything they prepare immediately. They have no way to keep their food fresh.

Voice 2 

For each picture, D’Aluisio and Menzel organized the families’ weekly food into groups – like meat, fruits and vegetables, milk products, grains and bread, and drinks. They added up the money spent on each food group. Then they found the total amount of money each family spends on food in one week. Nick Page and Marina Santee share some examples from the book:

Voice 4 

The Madsen family lives in Cap Hope village in Greenland. Five people live in the home. They spend $277 each week on food. They also hunt animals to eat fresh meat. These are animals that live in ice cold water such as polar bears, walrus, and arctic geese. Many people in Greenland hunt these large animals for their meat.

Voice 5 

The Mendoza family live in Todos Santos Cuchumatan, Guatemala. Eight people live in the home. They spend $25 a week on food. The Mendoza family only eat meat less than once a week. They spend most of their money on fruits and vegetables like bananas, zapote, passion fruit, avocados, green beans, and red chili peppers.

Voice 4 

The Al Haggan family lives in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Eight people live in the Al Haggan home. They spend $221 on food each week. Much of the food they eat is imported from other countries. They buy it at a western style market.

Voice 5 

The Revis family live in North Carolina, in the United States. There are four people in the family. They spend $342 each week on food. They spend a lot of their money on fast food from eating places like McDonalds, Taco Bell and pizza places.

Voice 4 

The Aboubakar family is from Darfur, Sudan. But they live as refugees in the country of Chad. D’jimia is a single mother. She has five children. The family spends a little over one dollar on food each week. Food does not cost as much here as in some other places. In other countries, where food costs more, this amount would be equal to about $24. Most of their meals are a thick liquid porridge made from the grain sorghum. D’jimia also receives food aid in her refugee camp. Some days the family lacks food. They must make difficult decisions. They must decide who gets more food, and who gets less.

Voice 1 

These are just a few of the examples of the families in the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. All of the pictures in the book show the different food cultures of people around the world. Some people grow most of their food on their own land. Other people buy almost everything at a market. Others do not even cook much of their food. They buy food that is already prepared.

Voice 2 

People reading the book can also see how money influences food. Some families have enough money to eat any kind of food they want. They can buy food imported from other countries at the market. But many people must eat only what grows in their own area, depending on the season.  Some families eat a large amount of food. And other families must divide a limited amount of food.

Voice 1 

The book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats is not about food politics. The book’s authors, D’Aluisio and Menzel, are not exploring why hunger exists in the world. They are only sharing what they experienced. The purpose of the book is to help people understand how other people live.

Voice 2 

The book also encourages people to look at their own family and how they eat. Remember the Revis family from the United States? After seeing their picture in the book, the Revis family felt shame about the food they were eating. Mrs. Revis told D’Aluisio and Menzel:

Voice 6

“Everyone in our family felt very troubled by the large amount and kinds of food on the table for the picture. Before my son eats something now, he will say to me, ‘Mom, how healthy do you think this food is?’ That never happened before”.

Voice 1 

People have different customs but we share many similarities. D’Aluisio and Menzel found that around the world people love food. And people in every culture love to welcome new friends to eat with their family. What are the cultural food customs in your family?  What foods are common in your culture? You can share your thoughts on the script page of this program on our website at www.radioenglish.net.

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Rebekah Schipper. The producer was Liz Waid. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, "What the World Eats".

Voice 1 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Question:

What kinds of foods do you eat every week? Do you have a healthy diet?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Narath
said on January 18, 2012

I am living in Cambodia and in my family , there are five members including my parents and we spend $35 for food in seven days . All food , fruit , vegetable , fish ,meat, ingredient… we buy from the market not super market . My popular food and most of people in my country like is Khmer / Cambodian cheese that its smell is not good and it makes from fishes with a lot of salt and keep for a long months or years , the more long period the more delicious for Cambodian people . But the different countries and especially European , they think that it is dirty . The Khmer cheese is eaten with fresh vegetables . Cambodia

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Giovanni
said on February 14, 2013

Hi All,
I ‘m living in Italy.  My country is famous in the world for tipical foud like Pasta, pizza, spaghetti,
tomato….
Thank spotlight for the program, it is very interesting. The book is useful and help us to understand how much inequality exixt in the world above all on food.

Giovanni

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Carlos BR.
said on February 14, 2013

In my home live two people, my wife and me. We don’t grow anything at all and everything we eat we buy at supermarket. We don’t spend much money grocering, but we spend lots of money eating out, because we don’t like to cook, and we prefer to go out to eat instead to cook at home.

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Rain Bows
said on February 17, 2013

Hello Spotlight,
I live in Ecuador, here we eat a lot of plátano and rice.
Our country is rich in fruits and seafood.
In my city we eat a lot of ceviche!
It depends on the family to say how much money do we spend in food.

Thanks for the program,
Sofía Miketta.
Manta-Ecuador.

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hoaaof
said on May 06, 2013

nowadays, the food is more and more dangerous, too chemical has in it. especially China food or anything from China.  eggs, vegetables, fruits, clothes ... i read newspaper and i can not believe in the things that this country makes. i’m really afraid of buying false things that imported illegally from china. it is very difficult to distinguish them

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jack shin
said on July 03, 2013

Hi, I’ve lived in Thailand as a foreigner since about 2 years ago.
Since i started eating Thai food, i found they put too much sugar in most of every food.
On the other hand, South Korea where is my mother country i was born, most of Korean people love eating too spicy and salty food.
We also love having sweet food, but i think not as sweet as Thai food Thai people eats.
Neither too sweet nor spicy and salty are good for healthy, Even though it’s delicious and has intense flavor.

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minhdy
said on December 20, 2014

Thank you Spotlight. I understood food culture from each country. There are many poor families and they have no enough the food for their life everyday. I think myself everybody needs to save the money and also the food so that we can help the poor overcome their difficulty. We do not waste the food, so we only buy things enough. These family pictures in story are valuable lessons to me.

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kenhieuloilam
said on August 31, 2017

We wish to be physically and spiritually full enough in life. We wish to not be hungry and thirsty anymore. There are many beautiful good things in life. We wish peace. Peace is in each of us. Peace is in everyone. Peace is in life. We build for peace. Our lives have difficulty, challenge and suffering. We live our lives well. We live to be a good person. We look for and pursue peace in soul.

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klobo91
said on January 13, 2020

I live in Venezuela. Our diet is variety and in my case We eat all kind of food. I have to be honest sometime We don’t eat healthy, for example, We eat a lot of fried pork. I know it’s not too healthy but It’s delicious.
At least I exercise almost all days so I think I have a balance jaja

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Honneur
said on January 14, 2020

I have lunch with my wife every day and eat vegetables, meat, rice and beans. We rarely do not have this kind of food, which is typical in Brazil. We never eat fast food and I would rather be hungry than eat fast food. We do not use alcohol and never drink anything other than water. I eat more white meat these days, like fish or chicken. On Sundays, I like beef barbecue.

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Honneur
said on January 14, 2020

We spend about US$200 a week with food.