Ok, so I saw this post over at FStoppers about What a Week of Groceries Looks Like Around the World, and I couldn’t help but mark it for a second look, and eventually an article here. Click on that link and go take a look. Look at what each picture contains and then come back and see if you come to the same conclusion that I do. I’ll wait.
Done? Ok, first, let’s talk about some “givens” that I found to be somewhat ironic, simply because they also could be considered stereotypes. I’ll start at the top.
- Mexico: OMG, you guys like Coke!
- Germany: First thing I noticed was all the beer and wine right up front.
- Italy: Lots of the expected breads and pastas
- Japan: Fish, noodles, and rice.
- Mali and Chad: That’s it?
Obviously, there are some things that we expect. Countries like Mali and Chad that we’re hearing about starvation or near starvation like conditions in sometimes have an obviously lesser pile of food. Japan is notorious for it’s high-fish diet. And Germany. Germany! I suppose I can’t expect much else from the country of Octoberfest.
A couple of surprises. I’m a little bit surprised by the lack of sausages in the Poland picture. For the number of Polish sausages we eat here in the states that is. (Ok, that’s kind of tongue in cheek.)
Now, let’s see if you noticed the same thing I noticed. Every single country on that list eats way more fresh food than the American family. Seriously. Look at that picture. There’s a little section of it that’s got some produce (a couple of tomatoes, some onions, and some grapes), and another small section of fresh meat. That’s it. The rest looks to be processed and packaged foods. The only other countries that appear to even be close are Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. Which is funny. In an ironic sad way.
All four of those countries are usually lumped together as “first-world” countries. We’re rich! We have everything we could ever want! And somehow, every other country on that list eats better than we do… Heck, let’s look at Mexico. Most Americans tend to think of Mexico as a drug addled, gang run, hovel. But, look at that food! Fresh herbs right off the plant! A whole table of fresh fruits and vegetables! Same story for India, Bhutan, Guatemala, and Equador!
Why is it that we all think that produce is so expensive, but we’ll gladly pay $10 for a large pizza? Or $10 for a burger and fries? It also makes me wonder just how much of that food those people grow themselves. It’s not that expensive to start a garden. Heck, even a container garden will do. We’re just getting ready to plant out our second season (see season one’s results) of container gardening. So far, I’ve spent about $2 on seeds. Buy a few pots, get some soil, and plant some plants. Fresh produce!
I’ve gotten a bit ranty, but it amazes me how poorly we eat in our “rich” country. You’d think we’d be smarter than that…
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Kurt @ Money Counselor says
Americans eat the most processed/packaged foods and have the highest obesity rate, hmmm….connection?
Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide says
WAY more women work in the US than in any other country, and we’re also significantly richer than any of those other countries–including Italy and Germany–and our food is also far cheaper. Germans and Italians are much more likely to have stay-at-home wives, and they also literally cannot afford the pre-processed food and restaurant meals that Americans eat.
I have to agree with Jenny. When I was able to stay home full time everything was made from scratch. There was minimal processed or pre packaged food including pizza, yogurts, bread etc. I made it all from scratch. Now my children are older and have doubled since then plus I work nights in my business so the only time I have to sleep is while the kids are at school. Dinner had to be quick and easy so we can eat before games, practices, and bible classes. We try to balance 2 veggies, a starch, a protein and a healthy sweet. That’s not always possible. We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for living in a well developed country. I am second generation American and would not want to live like my grandparents had to in either Lebanon or Mexico.
I recently saw a post on what different breakfasts look like around the world. That was an eye opener too.
I found it interesting that a food giant has a factory in Europe that does not use artificial coloring, but the one in the US does. (not sure if it is completely true or not) just what I heard. I would have to research it.