That food is a huge inspiration for many travelers is a fact. Cheryl and Bill Jamison are the living proof of that with their ‘ultimate culinary adventure: around the world in 80 dinners‘.
The Photographer Peter Menzel and author Faith D’Aluisio, have taken it to a whole new level (and perspective) by spending three years traveling to over 30 countries and more than a dozen US states to cook and eat with a hugely diverse group of people. Their journey’s mission: to document in both word and image what people around the world consume on a daily base. The result is a fascinating gathering of 80 very different food patterns from individuals around the world. Literally Around the World in 80 Diets
Around the World in 80 Diets
They took their camera and notebook and went out in the world spending time with local families. After having spent some time with them they would generally ask them permission to photograph them next to a display of their daily foods.
The result of their global food is a surprising and confronting photo portrait from people’s caloric intake around the world which have been published in the highly acclaimed book “What I eat: around the world in 80 diets”. It highlights a great diversity of food habits. Sometimes with great similarities but mainly with huge shocking differences.
“Our goal was to make people more aware of their own diets. We saw America was getting bigger and bigger. We thought it would be easier for Americans to understand nutrition if we saw what people were consuming around the planet.”
Around the world in 80 Diets includes food portraits ranging from an Egyptian camel broker, a Japanese sumo wrestler, a Namibian diamond polisher a Sudanese refugee in Chad, a Bangladeshi factory seamstress, an Arctic hunter, a Tibetan yak herder, an Indian Hindu sadhu,, to a wounded Iraq war veteran.
The centerpiece of each photo essay is a portrait of the subject with that day’s worth of food, a text about daily life, and an exhaustively researched food list detailing every item consumed, along with the total calorie count.
A kickass book that will give you more than a simple food for thought and will make you reflect deeply on your own food habits.
Here follows a selection of some of the best photos from the book. All photo credits from http://www.menzelphoto.com/. Check that site as well to order the book.
Camel broker Saleh Abdul Fadlallah with his day’s worth of food at the Birqash Camel Market outside Cairo, Egypt. From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day’s worth of food on a typical day in the month of April was 3200 kcals. He is 40 years of age; 5 feet, 8 inches tall; and 165 pounds. Contrary to popular belief, camels’ humps don’t store water; they are a reservoir of fatty tissue that minimizes the need for heattrapping insulation in the rest of their bodies; the dromedary, or Arabian camel, has a single hump, while Asian camels have two. Camels are well suited for desert climes: their long legs and huge, two-toed feet with leathery pads enable them to walk easily in sand, and their eyelids, nostrils, and thick coat protect them from heat and blowing sand. These characteristics, along with their ability to eat thorny vegetation and derive sufficient moisture from tough green herbage, allow camels to survive in very inhospitable terrain.
Xu Zhipeng, a freelance computer graphics artist and Internet gamer, with his typical day’s worth of food in his rented chair at the Ming Wang Internet Café in Shanghai, China. The caloric value of his day’s worth of food in June was 1600 kcals. He is 23 years of age; 6 feet, 2 inches and 157 pounds.
Ahmed Ahmed Swaid, a qat merchant, sits on a rooftop in the old Yemeni city of Sanaa with his typical day’s worth of food. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his typical day’s worth of food in the month of April was 3300 kcals. He is 50 years of age; 5 feet, 7 inches tall; and 148 pounds. Ahmed, who wears a jambiya dagger as many Yemeni men do, has been a qat dealer in the old city souk for eight years. Although qat chewing isn’t as severe a health hazard as smoking tobacco, it has drastic social, economic, and environmental consequences. When chewed, the leaves release a mild stimulant related to amphetamines. Qat is chewed several times a week by a large percentage of the population: 90 percent of Yemen’s men and 25 percent of its women. Because growing qat is 10 to 20 times more profitable than other crops, scarce groundwater is being depleted to irrigate it, to the detriment of food crops and agricultural exports
Aivars Radzins, a forester and beekeeper, wearing his bee-kleeping clothes, with a smoker and his typical day’s worth of food in his backyard in Vecpiebalga, Latvia.” Breakfast is sour rye bread with honey and butter; a hard-boiled egg; homemade pork meatballs and coffee. Dinner is fried homemade pork meatballs, boiled potato and onion with sour cream, two kinds of salad, more rye bread and Lauku Kvass
Cao Xiaoli, a professional acrobat, balances on one hand with her day’s worth of food at Shanghai Circus World in Shanghai, China. The caloric value of her day’s worth of food on a typical day in June was 1,700 kcals. She is 16 years of age; 5 feet, 2 inches tall; and 99 pounds. Cao Xiaoli lives in a room with nine other girls. She started her career as a child, performing with a regional troupe in her home province of Anhui. Now she practises five hours a day, attends school with the other members of her troupe, and performs seven days a week. She says what she likes best about being an acrobat is the crowd’s reaction when she does something seemingly dangerous
Curtis Newcomer, a U.S. Army soldier, with his typical day’s worth of food at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in California’s Mojave Desert. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day’s worth of food in the month of September was 4,000 kcals. He is 20 years old; 6 feet, 5 inches tall; and 195 pounds. During a two-week stint before his second deployment to Iraq, he spends 12-hour shifts manning the radio communication tent (behind him). He eats his morning and evening meals in a mess hall tent, but his lunch consists of a variety of instant meals in the form of MREs (Meals, Ready-to-Eat). His least favorite is the cheese and veggie omelet. “Everybody hates that one. It’s horrible,” he says. A mile behind him, toward the base of the mountains, is Medina Wasl, a fabricated Iraqi village—one of 13 built for training exercises, with hidden video cameras and microphones linked to the base control center for performance reviews.
George Bahna, an engineering company executive and martial arts instructor with his day’s worth of food at his apartment home in Zamelek, Cairo, Egypt that he shares with his brother. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day’s worth of food on a typical day in the month of April was 4000 kcals. He is 29 years of age; 5 feet, 11 inches tall and 165 pounds. George eats four to five times a day but doesn’t worry about gaining weight because he’s active, working out in a special room in his flat and at the private Gezira Sporting Club near his apartment. The Nile River bisects the cacophonous metropolis of Cairo, home to 17 million people, many of them very poor. Although Egypt’s stock market and gross domestic product have risen steadily for the past four years, the standard of living for the average Egyptian has not. The government continues to provide food subsidies for those in need, creating a sizable budget deficit.
Conrad Tolby, a long-distance truck driver and ex-biker, with his typical day’s worth of food on the cab hood of his semi tractor trailer at the Flying J truck stop in Effingham, Illinois. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his typical day’s worth of food in June was 5,400 kcals. He is 54 years of age; 6 feet, 2 inches tall; and 260 pounds. “Those big trucks on the road with all the lights on them? Those are chicken haulers,” says Conrad. “I used to be on the road 24-7, 300 days a year, hauling fresh-killed chickens packed in ice. I’d leave Mississippi and haul a*s to California. You’ve only got so much time to deliver or you get fined big time.” After two heart attacks, both of them in the cab of his truck, and a divorce back in Mississippi, Conrad now travels with his best friend and constant companion, a five-year-old shar pei dog, named Imperial Fancy Pants, who gets his own McDonald’s burger and splits the fries with Conrad.
Marble Moahi, a mother living with HIV/AIDS, in the family kitchen in Kabakae Village, Ghanzi, Botswana with her typical day’s worth of food and antiretroviral medications. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of her day’s worth of food on a typical day in March was 900 kcals. She is 32 years of age; 5 feet, 5 inches tall; and 92 pounds. Despite a decline in new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa, this region of the world remains the most heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS.
Saada Haidar, a housewife, with her typical day’s worth of food at her home in the city of Sanaa, Yemen. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of her day’s worth of food in the month of April was 2700 kcals. She is 27 years of age; 4 feet, 11 inches tall; and 98 pounds. In public, Saada and most Yemeni women cover themselves for modesty, in accordance with tradition.
Maria Ermelinda Ayme Sichigalo, a farmer and mother of eight with her typical day’s worth of food in her adobe kitchen house in Tingo village, central Andes, Ecuador. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of her typical day’s worth of food in the month of September was 3800 kcals. She is 37 years of age; 5 feet, 3 inches tall; and 119 pounds. With no tables or chairs, Ermelinda cooks all the family’s meals while kneeling over the hearth on the earthen floor, tending an open fire of sticks and straw. Guinea pigs that skitter about looking for scraps or spilled grain will eventually end up on the fire themselves when the family eats them for a holiday treat. Because there is no chimney, the beams and thatch roof are blackened by smoke. Unvented smoke from cooking fires accounts for a high level of respiratory disease and, in one study in rural Ecuador, was accountable for half of infant mortality.
Mariel Booth, a professional model and New York University student, at the Ten Ton Studio in Brooklyn with her typical day’s worth of food. The caloric value of her day’s worth of food on a day in the month of October was 2,400 kcals. She is 23 years of age; 5 feet, 9.5 inches tall; and 135 pounds. At a healthier weight than when modeling full-time, she feels good but laments that she’s making much less money.
Varanas, India – 2,400 Calories, 45-year-old Munna Kailash is a bicycle rickshaw driver, earning roughly $4-5 USD each day
Willie Ishulutak, an Innuit soapstone carver in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada with one day’s typical food, and drink. The caloric value of his day’s worth of food on a typical day in the month of October was 4700 kcals. He is 29 years of age; 5 feet, 9 inches and 143 pounds
Oswaldo Gutierrez, Chief of the PDVSA Oil Platform GP 19 in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela with his typical day’s worth of food. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day’s worth of food on a day in December was 6000 kcals. He is 52 years of age; 5 feet, 7 inches tall; and 220 pounds. Gutierrez works on the platform for seven days then is off at home for seven days. While on the platform he jogs on its helipad, practices karate, lifts weights, and jumps rope to keep fit. His food for the seven days comes from the platform cafeteria which, though plagued with cockroaches, turns out food choices that run from healthful to greasy-fried. Fresh squeezed orange juice is on the menu as well and Gutierrez drinks three liters of it a day himself. His diet changed about ten years ago when he decided that he’d rather be more fit than fat like many of his platform colleagues. PDVSA is the state oil company of Venezuela.
Robina Weiser-Linnartz, a master baker and confectioner with her typical day’s worth of food in her parent’s bakery in Cologne, Germany. The caloric value of her day’s worth of food in March was 3700 kcals. She is 28 years of age; 5 feet, 6 inches tall; and 144 pounds. She’s wearing her Bread Queen sash and crown, which she dons whenever she appears at festivals, trade shows, and educational events, representing the baker’s guild of Germany’s greater Cologne region.
Ruma Akhter, a seamstress and one of over 6,000 employees at the Ananta Apparels company in Dhaka, Bangladesh with her typical day’s worth of food. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of her day’s worth of food for a typical day in December was 1800 kcals. She is 20 years of age; 5 feet tall; and 86 pounds. While nearly half of Bangladesh’s population is employed in agriculture, in recent years the economic engine of Bangladesh has been its garment industry, and the country is now the world’s fourth largest clothing exporter, ahead of India and the United States. Dependent on exports and fearing international sanctions, Bangladesh’s garment industry has implemented rules outlawing child labor and setting standards for humane working conditions
Shashi Kanth, a call center worker, with his day’s worth of food in his office at the AOL call center in Bangalore, India. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) He is 23 years of age; 5 feet, 7 inches; and 123 pounds. Like many of the thousands of call center workers in India, he relies on fast-food meals, candy bars, and coffee to sustain him through the long nights spent talking to Westerners about various technical questions and billing problems. He took a temporary detour into the call center world to pay medical and school bills but finds himself still there after two years, not knowing when or if he will return to his professional studies.
Sitarani Tyaagi, an ascetic Hindu priest, with his typical day’s worth of food at an ashram in Ujjain, India. The caloric value of his typical day’s worth of food in the month of April was 1000 kcals. He is 70 years of age; 5 feet, 6 inches tall; and 103 pounds. Sitarani Tyaagi is one of thousands of ascetic Hindu priestscalled Sadhus that walk the country of India and receive food from observant Hindus
Rick Bumgardener with his recommended daily weight-loss diet at his home in Halls, Tennessee. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day’s worth of food in the month of February was 1,600 kcals. He is 54 years of age; 5 feet, 9 inches tall; and 468 pounds. Wheelchair-bound outside the house and suffering from a bad back and type 2 diabetes, he needs to lose 100 pounds to be eligible for weight-loss surgery. Rick tries to stick to the low-calorie diet pictured here but admits to lapses of willpower. Before an 18-year career driving a school bus, he delivered milk to stores and schools, and often traded with other delivery drivers for ice cream. School cafeteria staff would feed the charming Southerner at delivery stops, and he gained 100 pounds in one year. The prescription drug fen-phen helped him lose 100 pounds in seven months, but he gained it all back, plus more.
Takeuchi Masato, a professional sumo wrestler whose ring name is Miyabiyama (meaning “Graceful Mountain”), with his day’s worth of food in the team’s practice ring in Nagoya, Japan. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his typical day’s worth of food in June was 3500 kcals. He is 29 years of age; 6 feet, 2 inches tall; and 400 pounds. Miyabiyama’s stable runs through a brutal three-hour practice—sweaty, combative, and silent. Miyabiyama wears the white mawashi (at left) denoting his sekitori status during practice. His food may not look like much for a 400-pound man, but it’s enough to maintain his weight and give him energy for the ring. When he isn’t in intensive training before a match, he is wined and dined nightly by sponsors. The portrait above is a composite, taken on two consecutive days: the sumo association wouldn’t allow Miyabiyama to be photographed during practice. Miyabiyama (His ring name—Masato Takeuchi is his given name), 29, a sumo wrestler with the Musashigawa Beya of Tokyo is that stable’s (beya’s) premier wrestler and is currently at the sekiwake (junior champion) level. He is one of the largest of the Japanese sumos and would probably have moved up even further in the ranks had he not suffered a severe shoulder injury. He is only just now returning to matches. Sumos cook and eat chanko nabe—a stew pot of vegetable and meat or fish at nearly every meal. It is eaten with copious amounts of rice and numerous side dishes. Miyabiyama eats now to maintain his weight rather than to gain it, unlike the younger less gargantuan wrestlers in his stable who are eating a lot to pack on weight. Although he is wined and dined by the sponsors of his team, during the period of these photographs he was training for the next matches in Nagoya, and therefore he wasn’t eating out in restaurants nor drinking alcohol.
Viahondjera Musutua, a Himba tribeswoman, sits outside the house at her father’s village with her youngest son and her typical day’s worth of food. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of her day’s worth of food on a day in March was 1500 kcals. She is 23 years of age; 5 feet, 8 inches tall: and 160 pounds. The 23-year-old mother of three lives in a small village a seven-hour walk south from her father’s village but visits yearly to collect her share of the family corn. Her traditional dress includes a full body glaze of otjize, a cosmetic made of ground ochre, butterfat, and plant resin. She wears a fertility necklace and other jewelry made with leather and metal beads, a goatskin leather skirt she made herself, and an erembe, the traditional Himba headdress of married women. The hairstyles and adornments of both men and women change according to their stage of life.
Student Tiffany Whitehead in Bloomington, Minnesota – She is an amusement park ride supervisor at the Mall of America and consumes 1,900 Calories per day
Willie Ishulutak, an Innuit soapstone carver in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada with one day’s typical food, and drink. (From the book What I Eat, Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day’s worth of food on a typical day in the month of October was 4700 kcals. He is 29 years of age; 5 feet, 9 inches and 143 pounds. Carving is one of the few traditions of the Inuit that has made the leap into the wage-earning modern world. Willie says he can complete two or three pieces in a day, then sell them in the evening at bars and restaurants in Iqaluit for $100 ($93 USD) each, and sometimes more.