Food for thought: 'Hungry Planet' exhibition in Norman examines what the world eats

What people eat worldwide and how they acquire their food are the focuses of a new exhibition called “Hungry Planet: What the World Eats,” now open at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman.
BY SARAH LOBBAN, FOR THE OKLAHOMAN Published: May 8, 2014

The spicy scent of tandoori chicken mixed with the rich aroma of fresh mozzarella and decadent lemon cake greeted visitors to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History for the opening of its newest exhibition, aptly titled “Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.”

Restaurants and caterers — including the Indian restaurant Himalayas and Legend’s Restaurant of Norman — provided the snacks for the opening reception Friday. The treats represented a variety of countries and regions.

“Hungry Planet: What the World Eats” features 40 color photographs from an award-winning book of the same name by Faith D’Alusio and Peter Menzel.

The exhibition looks at the weekly food intake of 10 families from different countries, as well as snapshots of food culture around the world, bringing the similarities and differences of what people eat to the table.

Lindsey Johnson, of Norman, and her husband, Jay, went to the opening with their daughters Nola, 9, and Lila, 7. Lindsey Johnson has owned a copy of the “Hungry Planet” book for years and was intrigued at the idea of seeing it as a full-scale exhibition.

“The extra information is really nice,” Johnson said. “It’s interesting to see what’s grown and eaten around the world. It was a little bit shocking to see the typical United States family and their food for the week compared to other countries.”

In the photo of the American family, pizzas and takeaways are prominent. In sharp contrast, a photo of an Ecuadorian family’s weekly diet of grains, root vegetables and plantains shows the food items laid out on the floor or in burlap bags.

Cultural disparities

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IF YOU GO

‘Hungry Planet’ exhibition

Where: Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, 2401 Chautauqua Ave., Norman.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, through Aug. 31.

Admission: $5 for adults; $4 for seniors; $3 for ages 6 to 17; free for children younger than 6 and OU students.

Information: www.snomnh.ou.edu.

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