Friday, May 29, 2009

What the World Eats*

My weekly food budget varies. I try for under $150 per week, (that's for 5 adult sized people) but if I am realistic and count in lunches and the occasional dinner date it's probably more like $175-200 per week. I don't really mind cooking if I have done the groundwork for it. That is - if I've really made a menu/shopping list on my paperwork day, and really done all the shopping on my errand day.

I like cooking, and the family is pretty good about cleaning up afterward, so it works out. I don't generally think about it too much, but today I found a photo essay about 15 families in different parts of the world and what they eat in a week's time. It absolutely fascinates me.



Of course it brought to mind how lucky we are to live where we live, and in the economic state we have.

But mainly I just enjoyed looking at the VAST differences in what is on the tables - or the lack of tables. How are things packaged? What are the different dollar amounts? Favorite foods?
How many people are there in the picture that eat from that amount of food? (And what size are they?).

Wow.



I love that the journalist took the pictures in the setting where the food would typically be eaten.

Anyway, I'm not sure why this fascinates me so much. I could spend a long time looking at these pictures. And well, I did.

See the whole photo essay here.
And do it when you have a few minutes to really look at them.

No guilt involved, this is purely for the interest factor.

(*repost from June 2007)

And PS- if that California lady really feeds her family for $159 per week - actually shopping IN CALIFORNIA - well, I'll eat that whole pizza in the picture there by myself.

I guess that's not really much of a threat, though, is it?

30 comments:

Dave said...

groceries are where i feel most out of control in my budget. i can't wait until i'm feeding 3 teenage boys.

Is it ok to charge your kids room and board?

Maybe I'll just but them in charge of the chickens, rabbits, goats, bees and garden and say "whatever you grow you can eat"

Yvonne said...

I remember when I read that before. I thought it was pretty fascinating, too.

I think it's fairly doubtful that the California lady feeds her family on that amount--not that I'm saying she's not being honest. Maybe they don't eat the portions this family here in Winnipeg eats ; )

LisAway said...

Interesting! I feel very strongly that groceries (especially including other stuff I get at the supermarket like soaps and detergents and toilet paper and. . .) should be something we don't have to worry about how much we spend on. Not that I want to go crazy, but I just want to buy what I need and not think "Why on Earth did that cost so much?" And I always have make a menu and then shopping list from that.

Emmy said...

Wow, that gets your thinking that is for sure. The lady could spend that much a week if she coupons, even in California. I am big into coupons and I spend around that much or sometimes less for my family of four.

Jan the crazy lady said...

I have always found those pictures of the family and food so interesting. We are so blessed. Those in the huts with such little to have for the month, is very humbling.

Barbaloot said...

That is an interesting essay. And I always feel guilty when I see the families with lots of fruits and veggies, and know my week doesn't contain quite that much...

Melissa said...

I haven't gone to look at what's on that California lady's table yet, but I really don't feel like grocieries are that much higher here. I can get milk at Costco 2 gallons for $3.15. Bread is about $1.40 for one of those big long loaves. I bought grapes for $.87 a pound. I guess it depends on where you shop and if you watch for sales... :)

Melissa said...

I checked out the California lady's table... honestly? I think it could be done... she had generic foods on there and if she shopped sales and used coupons... :)

Celeste said...

I can save lots of money on groceries...it just takes LOTS of time, prep and thinking ahead. I thought these pictures were so fascinating too!

Annette Lyon said...

I hate how much money goes to stuff like eating.

Fascinating post--I love those pictures. And somehow, I'm glad I can eat other things. :)

Lee said...

I just feel incredibly guilty. I look at the vast amounts of healthy foods that were there and thought about what my one week would look like, and I just don't think I make my family enough healthy stuff.

And don't get me into how I felt looking at the family that was sitting on a blanket with almost nothing there. Oh... my heart!

JustRandi said...

But Lee, don't you feel better after looking at that North Carolina family? I mean, if it wasn't for the grapes...

Don't you just love the kid in Bhutan running his fingers through that gigantic bag of rice?

I've wondered what that would look like for my family, too. Wouldn't that be an interesting experiment to try?
I'm pretty sure my Diet Coke drinkage is right up there with the Mexican family's pop consumption.

Definitely something to think about.

Sue Q said...

It is INSANE what it costs these days to feed a growing family. We used to be able to fill a grocery cart for $150, but the same grocery list now costs closer to $300!! We doubled our garden this year to try and compensate, but there's only so much you can preserve or freeze or can.

In the meantime, I have a friend who has started a coupon business where you can pay her to do your shopping for you. She is amazing -- last month, she bought over $800 worth of groceries for one family for only about $150! So even though you pay her, you're still saving money! (But she also spends about twenty hours a week scavenging coupons, and I don't have that kind of time!)

Tay said...

I coupon, so right now my budget is $50 a week including food storage. I know. I'm crazy and don't have teenagers. HOpefully we'll be making a little more money by that time...

mormonhermitmom said...

I do about $275.00 for each two week pay period, but then my husband raids the gas money for snacks so it's probably more. I wish I could do more fresh veggies, but we have an apt. with no garden space.. I haven't figured out how to make "healthy eating" and "frugal budget" work together yet.

Carrot Jello said...

Wow.
Cuernavacia? drinks a lot of pop.

Stacey said...

That is very interesting. I spend about $400 a month. I'm scared of what the grocery bill will look like when my 3 boys are teenagers.

Rachel O said...

This was a really fascinating photo essay!

And thanks for commenting on my blog... It will allow me to live under the delusion that people actually read what I write once in a while! Love your button!

goddessdivine said...

That CA lady could be the total coupon queen (I've heard of people saving total bucks doing that stuff).

This is a time when I'm glad to be single. My grocery bill is pretty small. But I guess when you live on smoothies, bagels, and Costco muffins.....

Heidi Ashworth said...

Clearly I spend way too much on groceries. I am so impressed that you can feed so many adult (sized people) on such a small amount. I can't do it.

Sue said...

Well, I survived feeding a family of 10 for all those years and learned to be really cheap with meat (steak? who buys steak?) and watched sales and did coupons and refunds like our lived depended on it (oh yeah, I guess they did). I would still use coupons but I send them to my young-married-still-students who can't even afford the news paper. I'm still frugal, some things just become habit.
Remember the need for constant nourishment for both body and spirit...

Heather said...

I'm glad you reposted this, it's just as fascinating to me as well. I won't tell you what our food budget is, because then you'll think I actually don't feed my family. ;)

Jenn said...

amazing how many of the pictures had coke in them.

Loralee and the gang... said...

That IS fascisnating. I am especially amazed at how little and how humble the "groceries" of the Aboubakar family from Chad are. Makes me sad -
:~D

Baby J said...

Hey. That's what Marissa or Tiffany had to do for a school project this year. It was quite the project emptying out all of our food and then putting it all back.

Jennifer said...

Marissa had to do this this year for her class. I will see if I can find our picture for you! It is really fascinating...

Jennifer said...

I almost cried when I looked at the African family eating for $5 a week. In our example photo we could have spread out our food better to see what we had. (If I had looked at the pictures of other families first I probably would have displayed the food a little better.) But it was really cool to think about how much we really do have, and to see people in their kitchens!

Brillig said...

Wow! These are really interesting! I'd like to do it for my family too. I honestly have no idea what our photo would look like. But I know that compared to a lot of these pictures, we're really spoiled. I take so much for granted!

Cherie said...

I have seen this before and it is kind of amazing how people eat so differently around the globe.

Nancy Face said...

Those pictures are cool! What a great idea! :)