A fascinating book just showed up at CHOW HQ called What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets. The big coffee table photo book profiles 80 people’s eating habits for a day, showing snapshots of them next to what they eat, but also delves deeper into who they are, how they get their food, how they prepare it, and how many calories they consume. The authors, Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio, did a similar project a few years ago, documenting photographically what they purchase to eat in a week. This book is more personal, and it’s hard to stop looking it.

There is Xu Zhipeng, the “Extreme Gamer” from China (1,600 calories a day) who lives in an Internet café in Shanghai and receives his meals via delivery. A Namibian trucker whose cans of food, a couple bags of chips, and three Red Bulls don’t seem like they could really add up to 8,400 calories a day. An Italian friar in Rome who’s living well on 4,000 calories a day including 12 ounces of wine at lunch and dinner.

It would be a great gift. Even if someone isn’t into food, the social, economic, and political implications of the photos are riveting.

What I Eat, retail $40

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