As Christmas approaches I have begun to prepare our traditional Christmas dinner, which is a far cry from the turkey and dressing which will grace many a North American table in ten days time. Anyone who's suffered through this blog for more than a year or two know that Christmas dinner in our house is Tex-Mex, that blend of indigenous Indian, Spanish food with an Anglo twist found along the Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California borders with Mexico.
But as I looked at the food bulging from pantry and fridge I was reminded of a photo essay I'd seen earlier by Photojournalist Peter Menzel called, What the World Eats.
In 16 photos Menzel moves across the globe, from Japan to North Carolina, from an African refugee camp to a mountain village in Peru and a dozen places in between. In each photo Menzel shows a family in their home, with the week's food arrayed around them. The weekly food budget is given, and the families favorite foods are listed.
It's a fascinating look at global cultures, and at how ubiquitous some items are. Some families eat almost nothing except processed, packaged foods, some eat no packaged or processed food at all. There are very few families who do not have at least one or two bottles of Coca Cola among the week's provender, and sometimes there's a pyramid of the stuff.
As I make my tamales, mole negro and carne adovada, preparing dishes for loved ones who gather at our table, I will think of other families around the globe, and the foods on their tables as we bring this tumultuous year to an end.