3.en.108 Expenditure on food: let’s have a look around the world

While you are working with your group making up your list of the necessary food to feed a family of four for a week, I would like you to reflect on how different  food expenditure is at world level.

Peter Manzel is a famous photographer. He and his wife, Faith D’Aluisio, a writer,  travelled around the world taking photographs of different families. They asked families to pose next to the food they ate on an average week. They also calculated the money spent. The result was a wonderful book “Hungry Planet”, which will help us reflect, among other things,  on our eating habits. The images displayed in this post were taken from this book.

To begin with, have a look at the Ahmed family of Cairo. We have been talking about the Mediterranean diet, haven’t we?

  1. Have a look at the food displayed on the table.
  2. Can you compare it with the list you are making?
  3. Can you see any major differences?
  4. Similarities?
  5. What about the family? Is it similar to a Spanish family?
  6. What about the money spent on food per week?

Here follows a power point I found in slide share with photos taken from Peter Menzel’s book. You will see different families, as well as their food expenditure per week. Also, each slide includes information about each  family’s favourite dish.

In the second part of the power point, you’ll be able to take a glance at  members of the family preparing their food, as well as different markets, supermarkets and kitchens. You’ll be surprised, I’m sure. We shall look at it together in class.

There are 25 families, from 25 different countries. If we leave out the Ahamed family, we have 24 families left. So, guess what?

Each of you will be responsible for one family. You will follow the order in the power point

Izabela will be responsible for the Ukita family, of Japan; Alvaro the Manzo family, of Sicily, Italy; Ariadna the Aboubakar family of Chad; Marga the Al Haggan family of Kwait; Miquel the Revis family, of North Carolina in the USA; Joan Sebastià the Casales family of Cuernavaca in Mexico; Pau Campomar,the Dong family of Beijing in China; Marina, the Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna in Poland; Andrea, the Ayme family of Tingo in Ecuador; Paula, the Caven Family of California, USA;Ritish, the Batsuuri family of Ulaanbataar in Mongolia; Jhazmin, the Bainton family, of Clingbourne, Great Britain; Silvia, the Namgay family of Shingkhay village in Bhutan; Sergio, the Melander family of Bargteheide in Germany; Josep,the Browns family of River view, Australia; Noé, the Mendozas of Todos Santos in Guatemala; Maria, the Kuttan -Kasses of Erpeldange in Luxembourg; Pau Seguí, the Patkars of Ujjain in India; Marta, the Fernandez of Texas, USA; Paula Socias, the Natomos of Kouaourou in Mali; Alba, the Melansons of Iqualuit in Nunavut Territory, Canada; Vladis, the Moines of Montreuil in France; Andreu, the Madsens of Cap Hope in Greenland; Joan, the Celiks of Istambul in Turkey.

Find out:

  1. Position of the country in the map and its neighbouring countries
  2. Population
  3. Position of the city/village where your family lives. Try to use google earth
  4. Expenditure in food per week (Find out currency and convert it in dollars or euros)
  5. Number of people in the family
  6. Position of the country in the ranking by GDP (nominal) per capita
  7. Describe the family and the food displayed
In 2008, there was an exhibition in Madrid and Barcelona with photos from Peter Menzel’s book. You can still visit it on line. The information has been translated into Spanish and Catalan, so it will help you prepare your family presentation as well as the equivalent in euros. I include here the Ahmed family as an example. If you look at the top menu, you will see that you can choose and activate any of the three languages: Catalan, Spanish and English.
Here you can see the title of the online exhibition in Catalan: Planeta Afamat: allò que menja el món.


  • Pronunciation site to help you with names of countries and places.


  • World flag data base (includes basic facts about countries: population, currency, languages)


  • World maps (includes basic facts about continents)


  • Virtual exhibition from Caja Madrid on Peter Menzel’s photographs.


  • Peter Menzel’s web site. He is responsible for the great pictures and together with the texts written by his wife they have made this project possible.