Food is universal. Everybody eats. But what, how, and with whom you eat varies depending on many factors. Recently, a photographer and a writer (Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio) traveled the world, inviting themselves to dinner, and trying to answer the question: What does the world eat?

600 meals later, Menzel and D’Aluisio compiled photographs and stories documenting a weeks worth of food from 30 families in 24 countries into the book Hungry Planet. Hungry Planet is full of beautiful images and insightful commentary tracing culture, history, economics, politics and religion through food.

Portraits of each family surrounded by their food for one week begin each chapter. The pages that follow trace the food from field or market to table and break down food expenditures by type. While each chapter provides a fascinating glimpse into the families’ daily lives, it is the comparison between families that is the most interesting. Below, compare the food eaten by a family living in a refugee camp in Chad to that of a typical American family:

Chad: The Aboubakars of Breidjing Camp

Grains & Other Starchy Foods: **
Sorghum ration, unmilled, 39.3 lb; corn-soy blend ration (called CSB), 4.6 lb.

Dairy:
Not available to them.

Meat, Fish & Eggs: $0.58**
Goat meat, dried and on bone, 9 oz; fish, dried, 7 oz. Note: Periodically, such as at the end of Ramadan, several families collectively purchase a live animal to slaughter and share. Some of its meat is eaten fresh in soup and the rest is dried.

Fruits, Vegetables & Nuts: $0.51**
Limes, small, 5; pulses ration, 4.6 lb, the seeds of legumes such as peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, and fava beans. Red onions, 1 lb; garlic, 8 oz; okra, dried, 5 oz; red peppers, dried, 5 oz; tomatoes, dried, 5 oz.

Condiments: $0.13**
Sunflower oil ration, 2.1 qt; white sugar ration, 1.4 lb; dried pepper, 12 oz; salt ration, 7.4 oz; ginger, 4 oz.

Beverages:
Water, 77.7 gal, provided by Oxfam, and includes water for all purposes. Rations organized by the United Nations with the World Food Programme.

Food Expenditure for One Week: 685 CFA francs/$1.23
**Market value of food rations, if purchased locally: $24.37

USA: The Revises of North Carolina

Grains & Other Starchy Foods: $17.92
Red potatoes, 2.3 lb; Natures Own bread, sliced, 1 loaf; Trix cereal, 1.5 lb; Mueller fettuccini, 1 lb; Mueller spaghetti, 1 lb; Uncle Ben’s Original white rice, 1 lb; Flatout flatbread wraps, 14 oz; New York Original Texas garlic toast, 11.3 oz; Harris Teeter (store brand) Flaky Brown-n-Serve dinner rolls, 11 oz.

Dairy: $14.51
Harris Teeter milk, 1 gal; Kraft cheese, shredded, 8 oz; Kraft sharp Cheddar cheese, sliced, 8 oz; Kraft Swiss cheese, sliced, 8 oz; Kraft Cheese Singles, 6 oz; Kraft Parmesan cheese, grated, 3 oz; Harris Teeter butter, 2 oz.

Meat, Fish & Eggs: $54.92
Harris Teeter beef, pot roast, 2.5 lb; Harris Teeter pork chops, 1.9 lb; Harris Teeter chicken drumsticks, 1.7 lb; eggs, 12; Harris Teeter chicken wings, 1.5 lb; Armour Italian-style meat balls, 1 lb; Gwaltney bacon, Virginia-cured with brown sugar, 1 lb; Harris Teeter ground turkey, 1 lb; shrimp,‡ 1 lb; StarKist tuna, canned, 12 oz; honey-baked ham, sliced, 9 oz; smoked turkey, sliced, 7.8 oz.

Fruits, Vegetables & Nuts: $41.07
Dole yellow bananas, 2.9 lb; red seedless grapes, 2.4 lb; green seedless grapes, 2.2 lb; Birds Eye baby broccoli, frozen, 4 lb; yellow onions, 3 lb; Green Giant corn, canned, 1.9 lb; Green Giant green beans, canned, 1.8 lb; Bush’s vegetarian baked beans, canned, 1.8 lb; cucumbers, 1.4 lb; Harris Teeter tomatoes, vine-ripened, 1.2 lb; Del Monte whole leaf spinach, canned, 13.5 oz; garden salad, packaged, 10 oz; Italian salad mix, packaged, 8.8 oz; pickled mushrooms, 7.3 oz; Harris Teeter peanuts, 1 lb.

Condiments: $12.51
White sugar, 1.6 lb; Ruffles ranch dip, 11 oz; Crisco vegetable oil, 6 fl oz; Nestle Coffee-Mate, French vanilla, nonfat, 6 fl oz; Food Lion garlic salt, 5.3 oz; Hellmann’s mayonnaise, 4 oz; Newman’s Own salad dressing, 4 oz; Jiffy peanut butter,‡ 3 oz; black pepper, 2 oz; Harris Teeter Original yellow mustard, 2 oz; Heinz ketchup, 2 oz; salt, 2 oz; Colonial Kitchen meat tenderizer, 1 oz; Durkee celery seed, 1 oz; Encore garlic powder, 1 oz.

Snacks & Desserts: $21.27
Mott’s apple sauce, 1.5 lb; Munchies Classic mix, 15.5 oz; Kellogg’s yogurt-flavored pop tarts,‡ 14.7 oz; Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn, 9 oz; Harris Teeter sunflower seeds, 7.3 oz; Lays Classic potato chips, 5.5 oz; Lays Wavy potato chips, 5.5 oz; Del Monte fruit in cherry gel, 4.5 oz; Extra chewing gum, 3 pks; Snickers candy bar, 2.1 oz; M&M’s peanut candy, 1.7 oz.

Prepared Food: $24.27
Bertolli portobello alfredo sauce, 1 lb; Ragu spaghetti sauce, chunky mushroom and bell peppers, 1 lb; Maruchan shrimp flavored ramen, 15 oz; California sushi rolls, 14 oz; Campbell’s cream of celery soup, 10.8 oz; Hot Pockets, jalapeño, steak & cheese, 9 oz; shrimp sushi rolls, 7 oz.

Fast Food: $71.61
McDonald’s: 10-pc chicken McNuggets, large fries, large Coca-Cola, Filet-o-Fish meal; Taco Bell: 4 nachos Bell Grande, 2 soft tacos, taco supreme, taco pizza, taco, bean burrito, large lemonade; Burger King: double cheeseburger, onion rings, large Coca-Cola; KFC: 2-pc chicken with mashed potatoes, large Coca-Cola; Subway: 6-inch wheat veggie sub, 6-inch wheat seafood crab sub; Milano’s Pizzeria: large sausage pizza, large pepperoni pizza; I Love NY Pizza: 4 pizza slices.

Restaurants: $6.15
China Market: shrimp fried rice, 2 orders; large fruit punch.

Beverages: $77.75
Budweiser, 24 12-fl -oz cans; bottled water, 2 gal; Harris Teeter cranberry-apple juice cocktail, 4 2-qt bottles; diet Coca-Cola, 12 12-fl -oz cans; A&W cream soda, 2 2.1-qt bottles; 7UP, 6 16.9- fl -oz bottles; Harris Teeter cranberry-raspberry juice cocktail, 2 2-qt bottles; Harris Teeter ruby grapefruit juice cocktail, 2 2-qt bottles; Capri Sun, 10 6.8-fl -oz pkgs; soda,‡ 5 12-fl -oz cans, purchased daily by Brandon at school; Arbor Mist strawberry wine blenders, 1.1 qt; Gatorade,‡ 16 fl oz; Powerade,‡ 16 fl oz; Snapple, Go Bananas juice drink, 16 fl oz; Maxwell House instant coffee, 1.5 oz; Kool-Aid, black cherry, 0.5 oz; breakfast tea, 5 teabags; tap water for drinking and cooking. ‡ Not in Photo

Food Expenditure for One Week: $341.98

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