"Eating with the fullest pleasure is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend," writes Wendell Berry in one of the essays in this amazing book by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio who traveled to 30 countries around the world and a dozen states in America to profile what 80 individuals eat in a day. Beginning with a Maasai herder in Africa and ending with a snacker mom in London, England, the authors give cross-cultural learning a good name with photographic portraits of a bullfighter in Spain, an Arctic hunter, a traditional baker in Iran, an Indian Hindu sadhu, a bike messenger in Japan, a street food vendor in Taiwan, and a Amazon grandmother in Brazil.
Menzel (whose color photographs are stunning) and D'Aluisio took three years to complete this project and they provide some interesting data on each person they profile, including all the food and beverages they consume in one day plus a calorie count. In addition, there is information on their age, occupation, activity level, height, and weight. As Marion Nestle points out in the foreword, "What people eat reflects the effects of a globalized food supply on health and environment. Together, these 80 diets tell us more about the human condition in this century than any textbook or statistical table could ever do." We also enjoyed the four pages of collective wisdom about food and essays by Michael Pollan, Lisa Young, Wendell Berry, and others.