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Cross-cultural Activities

World Meal

Description of a Cross-Cultural Activity

James Neill
Last updated:
20 Mar 2005


World Meal

  • The goal of this activity is to experientially heighten awareness about the overabundance of food in Western society, particularly in comparison with how much the majority of the world eats.
  • Cook a World Meal and share it with a group of people.
  • A World Meal is the average meal for the average person on the planet.  It consists of a limited amount of rice and beans.
  • Herbs and spices are optional; as is anything you can forage from the local natural environment.
  • Encourage the group to, in turn, to cook a World Meal for a different group of people and thereby spread experiential awareness of how much we overconsume in Western society.
  • Continue cooking World Meals for groups of people at least until you've activated a critical mass of awareness for a snowball effect.

  • If you want exact the World Facts for exact calorie proportions, here's some starting figures, plus see figures below:

    • UN recommends 2350 calories per day.

      • Low income countries ~2100 calories per day.

      • Middle income countries ~2700 calories per day.

      • US, UK, Europe, etc. ~3700 calories per day.

 

 

 

 

Equipment
Rice, beans and spices (optional), plus basic cooking equipment, and eating utensils (e.g., bowls and chopsticks).  Make chopsticks from nature for extra touch.

Time
~30-60 mins cooking time. Beans should be presoaked for 12 hours.  Plus eating and cleanup time.

Brief description

A World Meal consists of a limited amount of rice and beans.  This is the average meal for the average person on the planet.  Cook this for a group of others and encourage them in turn to cook a World Meal for others.

 

Links

(Source: Clive Offley, Food - The Facts, New Internationalist, Issue 225, November, 1991)


Histogram of Country Average per person Caloric Intake (1995)

Note: This histogram should be interpreted carefully.  The y-axis represents the number of countries.  If the number of people was graphed, the proportion of cases in the lower calorie range would be greater, because there are more people living in low calorie than high calorie countries.

Table of Average per Person Caloric Intake by Country (1995)

Rank

Country

Daily calorie intake

1

Ethiopia

1667

2

Somalia

1906

3

Bolivia

1916

4

Burundi

1932

5

Rwanda

1971

6

Haiti

2013

7

Bangladesh

2021

8

Cent. Afri.R

2036

9

Zambia

2077

10

Uganda

2153

11

Kenya

2163

12

Cambodia

2166

13

Peru

2186

14

Tanzania

2206

15

Cameroon

2217

16

India

2229

17

Vietnam

2233

18

Guatemala

2235

19

Honduras

2247

20

Nicaragua

2265

21

Burkina Faso

2288

22

Nigeria

2312

23

Thailand

2316

24

El Salvador

2317

25

Domincan R.

2359

26

Senegal

2369

27

Botswana

2375

28

Philippines

2375

29

Liberia

2382

30

Gabon

2383

31

Ecuador

2531

32

Panama

2539

33

Chile

2581

34

Venezuela

2582

35

Colombia

2598

36

Jordan

2634

37

China

2639

38

Uruguay

2653

39

Indonesia

2750

40

Brazil

2751

41

Paraguay

2757

42

Malaysia

2774

43

Costa Rica

2808

44

Saudi Arabia

2874

45

Iraq

2887

46

Japan

2956

47

Sweden

2960

48

Mexico

3052

49

Argentina

3113

50

UK

3149

51

Netherlands

3151

52

Romania

3155

53

Iran

3181

54

Kuwait

3195

55

Singapore

3198

56

Australia

3216

57

Turkey

3236

58

Finland

3253

59

Libya

3324

60

Norway

3326

61

Egypt

3336

62

New Zealand

3362

63

Germany

3443

64

France

3465

65

Canada

3482

66

Austria

3495

(Source: The data for Table 1 and Figure 1 were derived from the World95.sav dataset supplied as part of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), 2005.)