What the World Eats, by Peter Menzel

1750 WordsJun 22, 20187 Pages
Four people sit kneeling around a small table in a small room laden with food. A room where a serious man in a black box holds out a can of something altered and edible, and a young girl perched near her mother clutches a bag of potato chips to her chest as if claiming it as solely her own. This is the scene depicted in a photograph of the Ukita family in Kodaira City, Japan as part of a series taken by Peter Menzel for the book “What the World Eats”. This series of photographs illustrates not only what people eat in different parts of the world, but also how their families, and lives as fellow humans can so closely resemble our own. The Ukita family is kneeling around a small table in a small room. The extent of the food they’ve…show more content…
But the presence of these foods is not necessarily the entire point of the image. It is true that Japan is currently the second largest packaged food market behind the United States, and is the third largest market for U.S. exports of food products such as red meats, processed fruits and vegetables, and snack foods (Japan country profile, 2011); however it is also true that Japan continues to be among the top ten countries with the lowest obesity rates with only 3.1% of people with a BMI over 30. Comparing this to the current obesity rate in the United States at 33.9% tells us that even if there has been an apparent increase of the consumption of junk food in Japan, the country is still not anywhere near partaking in the level of unhealthy eating seen in the U.S. (A spotlight on world obesity rates, 2013). As said by Naomichi Ishige in The Cambridge World History of Food, “Although there has been a rapid increase in the consumption of previously rare foods, such as meat, eggs, dairy products, and fats, the consumption of traditional foods, like fish and vegetables, has also increased.”(V.B.4-Japan, 2000). This is evident in the photograph of the Ukita family. Although there is a presence of unhealthy food in the form of the family’s chips and cake they are placed on the far edges of the image whereas the abundance of the family’s fish and vegetables are
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