A stunning photographic collection featuring portraits of people from 30 countries and the food they eat in one day. In this fascinating study of people and their diets, 80 profiles are organized by the total number of calories each person puts away in a day. Featuring a Japanese sumo wrestler, a Massai herdswoman, world-renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adria, an American competitive eater, and more, these compulsively readable personal stories also include demographic particulars, including age, activity level, height, and weight. Essays from Harvard primatologist Richard Wrangham, journalist Michael Pollan, and others discuss the implications of our modern diets for our health and for the planet. This compelling blend of photography and investigative reportage expands our understanding of the complex relationships among individuals, culture, and food.
Oswaldo Gutierrez, Chief of the PDVSA Oil Platform GP 19 in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela with his typical day's worth of food. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day's worth of food on a day in December was 6000 kcals. He is 52 years of age; 5 feet, 7 inches tall; and 220 pounds. Gutierrez works on the platform for seven days then is off at home for seven days. While on the platform he jogs on its helipad, practices karate, lifts weights, and jumps rope to keep fit. His food for the seven days comes from the platform cafeteria which, though plagued with cockroaches, turns out food choices that run from healthful to greasy-fried. Fresh squeezed orange juice is on the menu as well and Gutierrez drinks three liters of it a day himself. His diet changed about ten years ago when he decided that he'd rather be more fit than fat like many of his platform colleagues. PDVSA is the state oil company of Venezuela.
Conrad Tolby, a long-distance truck driver and ex-biker, with his typical day’s worth of food on the cab hood of his semi tractor trailer at the Flying J truck stop in Effingham, Illinois. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his typical day's worth of food in June was 5,400 kcals. He is 54 years of age; 6 feet, 2 inches tall; and 260 pounds. “Those big trucks on the road with all the lights on them? Those are chicken haulers,” says Conrad. “I used to be on the road 24-7, 300 days a year, hauling fresh-killed chickens packed in ice. I’d leave Mississippi and haul a*s to California. You’ve only got so much time to deliver or you get fined big time.” After two heart attacks, both of them in the cab of his truck, and a divorce back in Mississippi, Conrad now travels with his best friend and constant companion, a five-year-old shar pei dog, named Imperial Fancy Pants, who gets his own McDonald’s burger and splits the fries with Conrad.
Bob Sorensen, a golf course assistant superintendent, with his typical day’s worth of food overlooking the of the twelfth hole tee-off area at the Golf Club at Redlands Mesa, Grand Junction, Colorado. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day's worth of food on a day in the month of September was 3,600 kcals. He is 25 years old; 5 feet, 11 inches tall; and 175 pounds. Switching career paths from criminal justice to turf maintenance enabled Bob to escape a desk job and work outdoors in a picturesque Western landscape. Some of his work is physical, but technology makes his irrigation chores easier. From one of many rock outcrops overlooking the lush fairways and greens in the dry, high desert valley, he can control a matrix of sprinklers with a single radio controller. At left: In his backyard garden, Bob picks vegetables while his dog romps with a friend.
Faith D'Aluisio, journalist and co-author of the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets, with her typical day's worth of food at her home in Napa, California. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of her day's worth of food in the month of September was 1,500 kcals. She is 52 years of age; 5 feet, 8 inches tall; and 135 pounds.
Joey Chestnut, the world’s most successful competitive eater, with 66 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and a gallon of water at Coney Island, New York City. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) This represents what Joey ate (and drank) in 12 minutes on July 4, 2007, to claim the title of world champion hot dog eater. The 66 hot dogs weighed 14.5 pounds and totaled 19,602 calories.
Carson 'Collard Green' Hughes eating at an all you can eat seafood buffet in Newport News, Virginia, in preparation for a contest. He died at 44 in December 2008.
Saada Haidar, a housewife, with her typical day's worth of food at her home in the city of Sanaa, Yemen. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of her day's worth of food in the month of April was 2700 kcals. She is 27 years of age; 4 feet, 11 inches tall; and 98 pounds. In public, Saada and most Yemeni women cover themselves for modesty, in accordance with tradition.
Nguyê˜n Va˘n Thuan, a war veteran, with his wife in their studio apartment with his typical day’s worth of food. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day's worth of food on a typical day in December was 2100 kcals. He is 60 years old, 5 feet, 6 inches tall; and 123 pounds. Although he is completely healed, his war injuries strengthen his camaraderie with other wounded soldiers; Thuan’s fellow delivery cart drivers are all wounded vets who have been given exclusive licenses by the government to operate in Hanoi traffic. While waiting for clients, they often rehash their war experiences. When asked about American soldiers, he says they didn’t know the purpose of the war: “They didn’t know why they were coming to this land. That’s why they failed.”
Ahmed Ahmed Swaid, a qat merchant, sits on a rooftop in the old Yemeni city of Sanaa with his typical day’s worth of food. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his typical day's worth of food in the month of April was 3300 kcals. He is 50 years of age; 5 feet, 7 inches tall; and 148 pounds. Ahmed, who wears a jambiya dagger as many Yemeni men do, has been a qat dealer in the old city souk for eight years. Although qat chewing isn’t as severe a health hazard as smoking tobacco, it has drastic social, economic, and environmental consequences. When chewed, the leaves release a mild stimulant related to amphetamines. Qat is chewed several times a week by a large percentage of the population: 90 percent of Yemen’s men and 25 percent of its women. Because growing qat is 10 to 20 times more profitable than other crops, scarce groundwater is being depleted to irrigate it, to the detriment of food crops and agricultural exports.
Ted Sikorski, an unemployed resident of the streets of Manhattan with his typical day’s worth of food at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in New York. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his typical day's worth of food in June was 2,300 kcals. He 5 feet, 8 inches tall; and 168 pounds. Although Ted spends many hours a day walking, he admits to having to watch his weight, adding that many of his “residentially challenged” friends have the same problem. Over 1 million low-income residents use more than 1,200 nonprofit soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City. Some of the soup kitchens offer other benefits, such as showers, counseling, and entertainment. As in most big U.S. cities, it’s easier to find a free meal in New York City than a place to sleep. Each night, more than 39,000 people sleep in the city’s municipal shelter system, while thousands more sleep on the street.
Felipe Adams, a 30-year-old Iraq war veteran, with his parents and his typical day’s worth of food at their home in Inglewood, California. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day's worth of food on a day in the month of September was 2100 kcals. He is 30 years of age; 5 feet 10 inches tall; and 135 pounds. Adams was paralyzed by a sniper’s bullet while serving in Baghdad, Iraq. Damaged nerves that normally enervate a missing or paralyzed body part can trigger the body’s most basic warning that something isn’t right: pain. Felipe experiences these phantom pains, which feel like stabbing electric shocks, dozens of times a day; they cause him to grip his leg tightly for a moment or two until the sensation subsides.
Vyacheslav “Slava” Grankovskiy art restorer in his studio workshop behind his home in Shlisselburg, near St. Petersburg, Russia, with his typical day’s worth of food. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day's worth of food in the month of October was 3900 kcals. He is 53 years of age; 6 feet, 2 inches tall; and 184 pounds. The son of a Soviet-era collective farm leader, he was raised near the Black Sea and originally worked as an artist and engineer. Over the years, he’s learned a few dozen crafts, which eventually enabled him to restore a vast number of objects, build his own house, and be his own boss. His travel adventures have included crossing the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan, where he spent time with a blind hermit and dined with a Mongol woman who hunted bears and treated him to groundhog soup. His favorite drink: Cognac. Does he ever drink soda? “No, I use cola in restoration to remove rust, not to drink,” he says.
Kelvin Lester, a floor supervisor at a meat processing company with his typical day’s worth of food at his kitchen table in Grand Meadow, Minnesota. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his typical day's worth of food in June was 2,600 kcals. He is 44 years of age; 5 feet, 11 inches tall; and 195 pounds. The hands on the right belong to Kiara, his four-year-old adopted daughter. Several times a week, hamburger patties that he purchases with an employee discount wind up on his dinner table, and then go into his lunch box, along with his wife’s homemade potato salad. With more than 20 years of experience grinding beef at the Rochester Meat Company, Kelvin says he always grills hamburgers—no matter who has ground them—until they are well-done, because any contamination is most easily rendered harmless by thorough cooking, meaning cooking them to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
John Opris, a wind farm operations manager for enXco, with 265-foot wind turbines and his typical day’s worth of food in Birds Landing, California. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day's worth of food in July was 3700 kcals. He is 50 years of age; 5 feet, 10 inches tall; and 180 pounds. Each 265-foot wind turbine produces enough electricity per year to power 350 average-size California homes.
Tersius “Teri” Bezuidenhout, a long-haul trucker delayed by paperwork at the Botswana-Namibia border stands next to his truck with his typical day’s worth of road food. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day's worth of food is 8400 kcals. He is 25 years of age; 5 feet, 2 inches tall; and 191 pounds. Compared to highways in North America and Europe, African highways have more dangers and fewer services. Beyond wildly varying road conditions, hazards include cattle and wild animals wandering into the road at will. To make better time, he eats from cans, boxes, and jars while he drives—food very different from the simple porridge and boiled meat he eats at home with his girlfriend and children. His girlfriend, who still works at the slaughterhouse where Teri used to work, is jealous. She tells him, “You don’t spend this much money in your own home, but for your truck you buy so much good food!”
Abdul-Baset Razem, a Palestinian guide and driver in his extended family's backyard olive orchard with his day's worth of food in the Palestinian village of Abu Dis in East Jerusalem. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his typical day's worth of food on a day in the month of October was 3000 kcals. He is 40 years of age; 5 feet, 6 inches tall; and 204 pounds. On the hilltop in the distance, Israel’s 25-foot-high concrete security barrier cuts off this Abu Dis neighborhood from Jerusalem, turning a short trip into the city into an extremely long and circuitous journey requiring passage through an Israeli checkpoint on the highway. Constructed by the Israeli government to cut down on attacks and suicide bombings, the highly controversial 436-mile-long barrier was 60 percent complete at the time of this photo. For the majority of Palestinians, travel to and from East Jerusalem now requires special permits from the Israeli government—often difficult or impossible to obtain.
Aivars Radziņš, a forester and beekeeper, with his typical day’s worth of food in a traditional Latvian outfit, in his backyard in Vecpiebalga, Latvia. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) Last summer at the Latvian Song and Dance Festival, Aivar's traditional dress took first prize and he wears it when selling honey at local festivals and markets. Since Aivars’s government salary and his wife’s pay as a rural doctor are both very low in this former Soviet republic, he used inherited beehives to create a home business producing honey to supplement their income. Although rich in culture and architecture, Latvia is among the poorest and least populated members of the European Union; its population has declined since gaining independence in 1991.
José Angel Galaviz Carrillo, a rancher of Pima heritage living in the Sierra Mountains near Maycoba, Sonora, Mexico, with one day's worth of food. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his day's worth of food in August was 2900 kcals. He is 33 years of age; 5 feet, 8 inches tall; and 167 pounds.
Riccardo Casagrande, a Roman Catholic friar and gastronome, in the San Marcello al Corso church dining hall in Rome, Italy, with his typical day’s worth of food. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his typical day's worth of food on a day in July was 4000 kcals. He is 63 years of age; 5 feet, 8.5 inches tall; and 140 pounds. For over 20 years he has overseen the kitchen, the rooftop garden, and the basement wine cellar for the friars and priests living in the church complex near Rome’s Spanish Steps. Between stints saying mass in the beautiful San Marcello al Corso in Rome, he is in charge of his fellow brothers' wine cellar, and oversees the cooks. Traditional Italian food is served family style in the brothers' large dining room.
Atefeh Fotowat, a high school student and aspiring fashion designer with her typical day’s worth of food at her home in the city of Isfahan, Iran. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of her typical day's worth of food in December was 2400 kcals. She is 17 years of age; 5 feet, 4.5 inches tall; and 121 pounds. Her father, a renowned miniaturist painter, is seated on the couch, along with her mother and her brother, a university student. Together, they exemplify the educated Iranian upper middle class in Isfahan, Iran’s third largest city, famous for art and Islamic architecture. Atefeh’s relaxed repose and her attire, combining jeans and headscarf, show her ease with foreigners yet respect for tradition. She aspires to turn her fashion designing avocation into a vocation by becoming a designer after college.
Masako Mizuhashi, a plastic food artist, eats at home during a lunch break in suburban Tokyo, Japan, with her typical day's worth of food (made of plastic) on the table. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) Most workdays occasional dance instructor Masako Mizuhashi, 60, can be found airbrushing plastic fish in her third floor work station at the Maiduru Plastic Food company in suburban Tokyo. Her preference in real food is for fresh, seasonal foods—fruit in particular—and she nibbles all day long. Fermented bean curd is a favorite breakfast dish and she orders spaghetti vongole when she goes out to eat with her husband at a local restaurant. All of the food in the portrait of her with her day's worth of food is of the plastic variety, with the exception of the miso soup, the natto, and the green tea. All of the plastic food shown was created by Masako Mizuhashi and her colleagues. Many restaurants in Japan display plastic food models in front of their shops to show what kind of food they serve.
Ofer Sabath Beit-Halachmi, a Reform rabbi wearing a tall (prayer shawl), on the balcony of his home in Tzur Hadassah with his typical day’s worth of food. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his typical day's worth of food in the month of October was 3100 Kcals. He is 43 years of age; 6 feet, 1 inch tall and 165 pounds. Ofer’s town in the Judean Hills about 15 minutes southwest of Jerusalem is a communal settlement where residents lease land and houses from the state of Israel for a 99-year period. On Friday evenings Ofer leads the Shabbat service in a small portable building that is kindergarten by day and synagogue at night and on weekends.
Takeuchi Masato, a professional sumo wrestler whose ring name is Miyabiyama (meaning “Graceful Mountain”), with his day's worth of food in the team’s practice ring in Nagoya, Japan. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his typical day's worth of food in June was 3500 kcals. He is 29 years of age; 6 feet, 2 inches tall; and 400 pounds. Miyabiyama’s stable runs through a brutal three-hour practice—sweaty, combative, and silent. Miyabiyama wears the white mawashi (at left) denoting his sekitori status during practice. His food may not look like much for a 400-pound man, but it’s enough to maintain his weight and give him energy for the ring. When he isn’t in intensive training before a match, he is wined and dined nightly by sponsors. The portrait above is a composite, taken on two consecutive days: the sumo association wouldn’t allow Miyabiyama to be photographed during practice. Miyabiyama (His ring name—Masato Takeuchi is his given name), 29, a sumo wrestler with the Musashigawa Beya of Tokyo is that stable's (beya's) premier wrestler and is currently at the sekiwake (junior champion) level. He is one of the largest of the Japanese sumos and would probably have moved up even further in the ranks had he not suffered a severe shoulder injury. He is only just now returning to matches. Sumos cook and eat chanko nabe—a stew pot of vegetable and meat or fish at nearly every meal. It is eaten with copious amounts of rice and numerous side dishes. Miyabiyama eats now to maintain his weight rather than to gain it, unlike the younger less gargantuan wrestlers in his stable who are eating a lot to pack on weight. Although he is wined and dined by the sponsors of his team, during the period of these photographs he was training for the next matches in Nagoya, and therefore he wasn't eating out in restaurants nor drinking alcohol.
Akbar Zareh with his typical day’s worth of food at his bakery in the province of Yazd, Iran. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) The caloric value of his typical day's worth of food in December was 4900 kcals. He is 48 years of age; 5 feet. 3 inches tall; and 143 pounds. The son of a baker, he began working full-time at age 10 and regrets that he didn’t attend school and learn how to read and write. By working 10 hours a day, every day of the week, he has sent his four children to school so they don’t have to toil as hard as he does. The product of his daily labor is something to savor—his fresh, hot loaves are as mouthwatering and tasty as any in the world. After baking in the tandoor clay ovens, most of the rounds of fresh bread are dried and broken into bits and sold as cracker bread.
Robina Weiser-Linnartz, a master baker and confectioner with her typical day’s worth of food in her parent’s bakery in Cologne, Germany. (From the book What I Eat; Around the World ion 80 Diets.) The caloric value of her day's worth of food in March was 3700 kcals. She is 28 years of age; 5 feet, 6 inches tall; and 144 pounds. She’s wearing her Bread Queen sash and crown, which she dons whenever she appears at festivals, trade shows, and educational events, representing the baker’s guild of Germany’s greater Cologne region. At the age of three, she started her career in her father’s bakery, helping her parents with simple chores like sorting nuts. Her career plan is to return to this bakery, which has been in the family for four generations, in a few years. She will remodel the old premises slightly to allow customers the opportunity to watch the baking process, but plans to keep the old traditions of her forebears alive.