Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What the World Eats

Very interesting article showing a week's worth of food for families around the world:,29307,1626519_1373664,00.html

This was done as a part of a book called "Hungry Planet - What the World Eats." I borrowed the book and it's really interesting. The authors traveled to a ton of places and interviewed families about their lifestyles. Part of the book is about globalization and changes in lifestyle. So they would interview the different generations to get a sense of how food - where it comes from, its preparation, etc. has changed for a family through the generations. They collected very detailed grocery lists and favorite family recipes. I think the book was very well done overall. Really gives you a sense of a family's lifestyle.

I think food says a lot about culture and environment. When I lived in Germany and England, after a while, I began to adapt their tastes in food. I started eating a lot more bread, muesli, yogurt, smoked fish, etc. When I visited my penpal in Germany, she cooked Chinese veggies and put cheese on the dish. I think it would be very interesting to do a similar study but on the different immigrant (non-mainstream) population of a country. How much of their "native" foods and traditions do they keep. What they have and have not taken up from their host country. Even the concept of what breakfast, lunch, and dinner varies by culture. Is lunch a hot or cold meal? Is lunch or dinner the biggest meal of the day? Man, I wish someone would pay me to go around and eat with different families in order to write a book about their lifestyles.


yalu said...

In order for someone to pay you, you'd also have to demonstrate how the research is useful as well as interesting - does it explain some phenomenon?

Jpal does field studies in food consumption. But it's a lot more work than you imagine - remember when Swetha and I went door to door? We only covered four houses all morning and in one area. You'd have to take a fairly large sample from each location for any results to be signiicant.

Social science studies are cool but data gathering takes forever!

docey101 said...

i saw the series of pics before, maybe when i was in china..
anyway, we had a small snippet in class today about how interesting it would be to do a study on how tourism in this region has change the diet of the townspeople. in monteverde costa rica, it used to be just rice and beans, but with the onslaught of tourism comes pizza, asian foods, etc. well, another group of students are doing a study on the change in diet of the people and is finding that it is mainly due to the convenience of getting food instead of preparing it themselves because of time constraints. but it would also be interesting to see how the health of different generations would change because of the change in diet. (ie introduction of fast food in beijing and obesity)