html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Cuernavaca or Cairo for me.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Cuernavaca or Cairo for me.

This is a supercool slideshow on a week's worth of food for families around the world.

The pictures from America make me sad. I suppose I knew about my compatriots' food preferences, but all that packaging. The Californians don't do any better. Those six lined up tangelos just kill me.

I wonder how accurate my image of my aggregate food is. In about a month, it would be easy to imagine. It would be a mound of tomatoes, a mound of cucumbers, some red onions, lemons, garbanzo beans and plain yogurt, and not much else. 'Course, this year, there'll be green beans.

via Stumptuous


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just the US -- all of the 'developed' country families (Germany, Italy, Japan, Great Britain, even China) had a lots of packaged food. Did you notice the 12 two-liter bottles of Coca-Cola in the Cuernavaca picture? The photo from Chad served to set the rest of them in perspective.

It's an fascinating montage, though, and has me wanting to track my own food for a week. I'm striving more toward Ecuador than Cairo (tomatoes in June? Impossible!), but I'll probably end up somewhere near Poland or Kuwait.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's also sad is how manipulative the photos are. Sure, there's an awful lot of packaged food in the pictures from the Americas, but you'll notice that they put the fresh produce waaaaaaaaaaaaay in the back in those pictures, where they put it in the front for other countries. I mean, doesn't change the fact that there are a lot of starving people in the world, but the skew bothers me.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes packaging, OI! ... I'd prolly die of the horror for what I eat [maybe literally] but I'd have to wonder what amount of time is consumed by making everything from elemental foods... That is probably what we are bartering here. Time.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous yoyo said...

I can't tell why some of the layouts are 2-3 times as expensive, other than teh really poor people like the little rice bag from africa and the ecador one.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed the 'hiding vegetables', too -- but I don't think it's just vegetables. The meat in the Mongolian picture, and the beer/bottled drinks in the German one are also laid out so you think 'wow, that's a lot of ...'

(who is also anonymous 3:28)

6:32 PM  
Anonymous ed said...

Let's hear it for the Mongolians! Bread, meat, and eggs. Yeah!

6:58 PM  
Anonymous yoyo said...

Haha, i thought it was just a "Germans are orderly and engineeringist" kind of thing.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

It looks as if Kellogg's Corn Flakes are popular in both Cuernavaca and Kuwait :)

It's not just the US -- all of the 'developed' country families (Germany, Italy, Japan, Great Britain, even China) had a lots of packaged food.

You also could see quite a few packaged foods in Cuernavaca and Cairo, and a lesser amount in Mongolia. Ecuador, Bhutan and especially Chad were the only places with very few or no packaged foods.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous yoyo said...

Yeah, lotsa soda in the Mexico one.

10:22 PM  
Blogger billo said...

Megan, didn't get this. Is this what the "average" family eats or is it about the packaging?

don't know about America but in Pakistan what a rich family eats is vastly different from what a poor one does. What a woman eats in Pakistan/India is not the same as what a man eats.

I think its much better to look at nutritional functionings rather than just commodities.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Pandax said...

A very interesting set of photos. Thanks for sharing.

Ignoring the possible staging involved in some of the photos I think it does point out some of the differences noted by others having to do with a few major differences: packaging, fresh foods, processed foods, and sugar.

Just coming back from a trip to Asia, I was acutely aware of how much less sugar I ate during my two weeks away. It made me understand how much more the variety of flavors and sweetnees encourages me to eat more than I need some days.

Packaging includes not just what you see in the photos, but what else is packaged inside. In many cultures, each individual item inside is also nicely wrapped. I was appalled the other day to see the local cafe selling bags of individually wrapped Jelly Bellies. Why in the world do you need each bean individually wrapped? I will admit to buying my share of packaged foods, but this is totally unnecessary.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Louis said...

This makes me want to make a trip to the farmer's market...

Regrettably, my garden isn't producing yet.

7:40 AM  
Blogger alison said...

That was very interesting, I'd love to do the equivalent picture for us.

Packaging is so often ridiculous. I bought a pack of tea bags the other day - - according to the packet the tea was grown in accordance with the moon, so you might think the whole thing would be all eco-friendly etc. But no - the box is wrapped in cellophane, and each tea bag was in a plasticky sachet, and there was a tag stapled to a string on each bag. So that was cellophane I had to throw away, a sachet that I couldn't recycle, and a tea bag that I couldn't compost (or had to remove the staple first).

Compared to the rooibos and vanilla I usually buy from my local cheap supermarket, which has no cellophane, each tea bag is in a paper packet (so I can recycle it), and the paper tag is just loosely tied onto the string so I chuck the whole thing in the compost bin. But it doesn't have the same middle-class green cachet, that's for sure.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Noel said...

Very interesting. I'll try to take a photo from the weekend's food shop. Also of interest to me: our food bill is a touch under 1/3 of the UK family with 1/2 the number of people. Also also of interest: the backgrounds!

Word verification: zendosh. Google commenting our food spending habits?

4:46 AM  

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