One week’s food is another week’s treasure

If there’s any tool that has the ability to make boredom a thing of the past, it’s StumbleUpon – a browser application that randomly finds websites that you may like based on your chosen preferences. I’ve had it on my computer for years, and I still find myself, in times of spaced-out computer boredom, clicking on the StumbleUpon button and finding a website I never before knew existed.

My personal topic choices include things I feel passionate about (writing and books, indie rock, camping, biology and evolution) and wouldn’t normally seek out on my own (history, advertising, logic, journalism and politics, beer). No matter what, I find something interesting.

So every third Wednesday (when I’m not late, of course) I’ll be clicking StumbleUpon through five sites. The best site I’ll stop and talk about for a little while. It’s a random link post with even more randomness (and more explanation).

Today’s Random StumbleUpon: One Week’s Worth of Food from Around the Planet (Fixing the

I’m fascinated by these pictures, illustrating a week of food in several countries – including Japan, United States, Nigeria and more – by spreading that food out in front of a typical family.

Through each picture, the differences in culture are evident, strikingly so – the American dependence on fast food and pre-packaged foods, the European’s penchant for weird vegetables and breads, the stereotypes being illustrated right there in person: Italians like bread, Americans like pizza, Germans like beer, African countries have no food to like.

If I could dive into any of the pictures and eat for a week, I’d certainly have a tough time choosing between the Italians and the Mexicans. Both are filled with healthy looking fruits and vegetables, so it could come down to whether or not I wanted Italian bread – and lots of it – or twelve bottles of Coke. It would be a hard decision, granted.

Ultimately, the most striking images are those that show the simplest means: Ecuador’s $31.55 of food – mainly grains and plantains, it looks like – and Chad’s $1.23 of Breidjing Camp food. For one week, these families eat less than most first-world countries eat in one day.

Is it a case of our excess or their modesty? Chad’s meager week long groceries seem to be near-starvation level fare, while Ecuador seems to merely live modestly – choosing to eat fresh foods because that’s what they know and what comes easy. In this case, the prices don’t matter as much as the amount – and you can’t deny that Chad’s small amount is frightening.

My favorite picture? England. How bored do they look with their pre-packaged Weetabix and Mars candy bars? I also love the precision with which the Germans’ food is organized. How stereotypical.

This was lovingly handwritten on September 28th, 2007