I’ve been loving the flurry of food writing that has taken over the publishing industry – think Michael Pollan, Margaret Webb, Marion Nestle, Nina Planck, Wayne Roberts, Thomas Pawlick, Paul Roberts, Carol Off and of course, Raj Patel.
Raj Patel’s Stuffed and Starved is the foodie version of Naomi Klein’s No Logo. It is part of a larger trend of “sky is falling” books on food politics, which makes it both a fascinating and aggravating read. Why?
In the end, Mr. Patel leaves the story half-told. How could he omit China’s entry into the global food chain? Can he really believe that food in developing countries was affordable for all even before the recent crisis? Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio’s dramatic 2005 book, The Hungry Planet, tells the more complete story. The photographs and essays of The Hungry Planet show families with a week’s worth of food, and include statistics on calorie intake and grocery costs. The stark disparity between the UN rations belonging to Sudanese refugees in Chad and the bounty-laden table of an Australian family is unforgettable. Unlike Mr. Patel, Mr. Menzel and Ms. D’Aluisio successfully shine a light on the difference between the world’s stuffed and starved.
Also, check out Raj Patel’s website.