What the world eats

National Public Radio ran a story last November about Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio.
It depicts what thirty families in twenty-four countries actually ate in a real, live week. The NPR website has pictures of five of these, and four are described in detail, with prices. While I have much, much more food than the Sudanese refugee family in Chad (who receive food assistance, and so their situation is not normative), the family I least identify with is the one from the United States. Or at least looking at what they eat makes me queasy.

For all our talk of political systems and philosophical and theological ideals as abstractions, they come shaped out of our experience of personal interaction, environment (natural and built), and what we do and do not consume. (An inexhaustive list, but my point is taken.) Hungry people have a different experience of freedom than those slowly poisoned by saturated fat.

Worth a thought anyway, and pictures make it a bit more plain.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. That is so fascinating. I never felt so healthy in all my life. I can’t believe the amount of money most of the families spent on bottled beverages! All that packaging! All that sugar!

  2. Wow, amazing that the US family could feed the Chad family for a whole year on one weeks budget! Then again, they could feed my family for a month on thier weekly budget! Who knew I was saving so much not buying chips and soda!

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