Find a partner and discuss the following questions. Be prepared to share what you and your partner said.

  • Everyone needs to eat, but what other roles does food play in our cultures?
  • What’s your favorite meal and why?
  • When you choose food, what is more important? Taste or healthiness?
  • How often do you eat at restaurants? How often do you eat at home?
  • Do you think the cuisine of your country is healthy? Why?
  • Can you cook? If so, who taught you? If not, why not?
  • Should men and women both know how to cook?
  • Should countries try to grow all their own food, or is it better to depend on trade to meet your food needs?

A World of Food

Look at the pictures of what families around the world eat over a week. Click the photos to see them better.

Source: What A Week Of Groceries Looks Like Around The World.

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Egypt, Cairo

Egyptian family

The Ahmed family from Egypt spends around $78 per week to feed their entire family! You may have noticed from this photograph that Egyptian cuisine involves large quantities of legumes and vegetables and this is due to Egypt's rich Nile Valley and Delta producing large quantities of excellent crops. Egyptian cuisine is based on foods that grow out of the ground, and you may notice only small quantities of meat. This is due to the fact that throughout Egypt's history, meat has always been very expensive to purchase.

Egyptians also love their flat bread (as pictured) and it is consumed at almost all Egyptian meals. Egyptian meals also commonly involve stuffing vegetables such as capsicum, zucchini and eggplant with rice. Kebab, Falafel and baklava may be known as Eastern Mediterranean dishes, however they are also widely consumed in Egypt!

Ecuador, Tingo

Ecuadorian family

The Ayme family from Ecuador only spends around $32 per week on their groceries. It is interesting to note that the poorer families are often the ones eating the most healthy food. There isn't one processed food in sight in this photograph!

Ecuadorian cuisine varies with altitude and agricultural conditions. For example, pork, chicken, beef, and guinea pig are popular ingredients in the mountainous regions, and these are served with rice, corn, and potatoes. A wide variety of fresh fruit is eaten, including granadilla, passionfruit, naranjilla, several types of bananas, uvilla, taxo, and tree tomato.

People living along the coast of the country often eat fish, beans, and unripened bananas. In the rainforest, a dietary staple is a starchy root which is then peeled and boiled, fried, or used in a variety of other dishes.

United States, North Carolina

American family

The Revis family from the United States spends around $342 per week on groceries for their family of four. A lot of dishes that are typically considered American have actually been developed from other cuisines. For example, hot dogs and hamburgers are both based on traditional German dishes, and pizza is based on the traditional Italian dish!

Americans are widely known to love fast food, and judging by this family's groceries, that is highly evident - We can spot McDonald's, pizza, fried chicken, a hot dog, nachos, and some Burger King among the other food! Some American families like to make breakfast a large meal, often consisting of cereal, eggs, toast, pancakes, coffee, and fruit juice.

Did you know that the ice-cream sundae was born in America? As a result, Americans are huge fans of ice-cream, and eat it more than other countries. Americans are also lovers of smoothies and coffee-blended drinks, so we're surprised we can't see any in this photograph!

China, Weitaiwu

Cinese family

The Cui family from China spends around $65 per week on their groceries! China is a vast country, so naturally there are many different cooking methods and ingredients. For example, Sichuan cooking is well known for its hot and spicy flavors, and Cantonese cooking is famous for its sweet and sour style.

The most common ingredients in Chinese cooking are all pictured in this family's weekly groceries, and they include shallots, ginger, garlic and soy sauce. Meals in China usually consist of either rice or noodles.

Although both the northern and southern regions of China enjoy plenty of fresh vegetables in their diet, the regions also have some differences in their cuisine. For example, in the northern part of China, people like to eat dumplings with meat, steamed buns and noodles. In the southern part of the country, people eat dumplings with traditional Chinese sugar sauce and noodles.

Mexico, Cuernavaca

Mexican family

The Casales family from Mexico spends around $189 per week on their groceries. We cannot help but notice how much this family loves Coca Cola! The basic staples of Mexican food include native corn, beans, chili peppers, tomatoes, squashes, avocados, cocoa and vanilla.

Mexican cuisine also uses a lot of beef, pork, chicken, goat and sheep meat, as well as cheese and herbs and spices. Did you know that Mexican cuisine also uses rare or unique ingredients in their cooking such as edible flowers?

Tropical fruits such as prickly pear, sapote, guava, mangoes, bananas, pineapple and custard apple are extremely popular. Mexicans also enjoy drinking alcoholic beverages such as tequila, pulque, brandy, wine, beer and rum.

Mali, Kouakourou

Malian family

The Natomo family from Mali spends just $30 per week on groceries to feed their very large family. Although Malian dishes vary from region to region, rice, millet, sorghum and fonio all provide staple ingredients. Meals are commonly served with sauces of fish, meat or vegetables, and grains are often used to make porridge.

A healthy juice made from hibiscus, ginger or the fruit of the baobab tree is a Malian specialty! Many Malians also enjoy drinking millet beer. Fish, including the capitaine fish or Tinani fish, are also commonly barbecued or grilled over an open fire.

Kuwait, Kuwait City

Kuwaiti family

The Al-Haggan family from Kuwait spends around $252 per week in order to feed their whole family! The national dish of Kuwait consists of mutton, chicken, or fish placed over or mixed into a large amount of rice. Food is very important to the people and culture of Kuwait, and this is why it is often prepared in large amounts and shared with many family members and friends.

Indian, Persian, and Mediterranean cuisines have all had a significant impact on the food of Kuwait. Did you know that a meal is never complete in Kuwait unless it is accompanied by dates and either a side of yoghurt or tahini? Sounds delicious, right? While most meals involve meat and cheese, other popular dishes also include pickled turnips and tabouleh.

Japan, Kodaira City

Japanese family

The Ukita family from Japan spends around $361 per week on their groceries. The traditional food of Japan includes rice and miso soup. Side dishes often consist of pickled vegetables, fish, and vegetables cooked in broth.

The Japanese particularly love fish, and it is often grilled or served raw as sashimi or in sushi. If you've ever eaten in a Japanese restaurant, you will have also noticed that seafood and vegetables are commonly deep-fried in a light tempura batter.

Apart from rice, Japanese cuisine also includes many noodle dishes, and Japanese food is traditionally flavored using a combination of dashi, soy sauce, sake and mirin, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Japanese cuisine commonly uses seafood as they like to take advantage of the country's bountiful, surrounding ocean.

Italy, Palermo

Italian family

This is the Manzo family from Italy, and they spend around $295 per week on their groceries. Although Italian cuisine is influenced by Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, and Jewish cuisine, the food of Italy is also well-known for its simplicity and use of very few ingredients. Traditional Central Italian cuisine commonly uses ingredients such as tomatoes, meat, fish, and pecorino cheese.

Cheese, wine and espresso coffee are all treasured elements of Italian cuisine. Italians are also well-known for their love of pasta, including penne, macaroni, spaghetti, linguine, fusilli, lasagne, ravioli and tortellini. Basil, nuts and olive oil are also popular ingredients used in Italian cooking, and in case you didn't already notice from this photograph, Italians absolutely love their bread!

India, Ujjain

Indian family

The Patkar family from India spends around $45 per week on their groceries. You may notice a lack of red meat, and this is because Indian cuisine has been shaped by Hindu and Jain beliefs, and in particular by vegetarianism. Staple foods of Indian cuisine include pearl millet, rice, whole-wheat flour, and a variety of lentils.

Indians also love to use a range of spices in their cooking, and the most popular of these are whole or powdered chilli pepper, black mustard seed, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, ginger, coriander and garlic. Desserts and sweeter dishes are seasoned with cardamom, saffron, nutmeg, and rose petal essences - Delicious!

Indians also prefer to drink tea or coffee with breakfast. Roti is a common and popular flat bread eaten with most meals, and this is clearly evident from the photograph - Just look at that tower of bread!

Germany, Bargteheide

German family

The Melander family from Germany spends a whopping $568 per week on groceries and that's just for a family of four! The first thing we noticed were all of those drinks - Either this is one thirsty family or they're preparing for the apocalypse... Both beer and wine are extremely popular in Germany, and beer is even mixed with other beverages in order to create numerous different types of the beverage.

The average person in Germany will consume up to 61 kg of meat in a single year! Pork, beef, and poultry are the main varieties of meat consumed in Germany, with pork being the most popular, and chicken, duck, goose, and turkey are also widely consumed across the country. Germans also enjoy a range of cold meats (such as salami, ham etc.), as well as sausages.

You may also notice a lot of vegetables in this photograph and that is because they are used in stews or vegetable soups and are also served as side dishes. Carrots, turnips, spinach, peas, beans, broccoli, potatoes, cabbage and onions are very common additions to meals. Germans also love to eat bread rolls with their meals, and these are often cut in half and spread with condiments such as cheese, honey, jam, Nutella, butter, margarine, or even filled with cold meats or fish.

Cuba, Havana

Cuban family

Similarly to the family in China, the Costa family from Cuba spends around $64 per week on their groceries. Cuba is the largest country in the Caribbean, and while it is believed that Spain and Africa contributed most to Cuban cuisine, the French, Arabic, Chinese, and Portuguese cultures were also highly influential!

Traditional Cuban dishes generally lack seasonings and sauces and this is particularly evident from looking at this family's weekly groceries. Did you know that black beans, stews, and meats are the most popular foods in Cuba, and that root vegetables are often flavored with a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, onions, garlic, and cumin? Yum!

The most common meals eaten in Cuba are those made with pork, chicken, rice, beans, tomatoes, and lettuce. Contrary to popular belief, hot spices are rarely used in Cuban cooking!

Canada, Iqaluit

Canadian family

The Melanson family from Canada spends around $392 per week on groceries! When it comes to what Canadians love to eat and drink the most, the answers might shock you! Did you know that Canada drinks 8.64 times more Americano than any other city in the world, or that Canadians eat 6.19 times more Maple-flavoured foods than other cities around the world? Crazy!

Canadians also love eating ribs and bacon (as featured in this photograph), as well as other foods such as raspberries, waffles, muffins and flax. When it comes to common meals in Canada, stew is a favorite during the colder months. Canadians also like to opt for healthy options from time to time, and they consume 1.55 times more quinoa than other countries - Impressive!

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo

Bosnian family

The Dudo family from Bosnia and Herzegovina spends around $90 per week on groceries to feed their entire family. As evident in this photograph, meals from Bosnia and Herzegovina use a lot of fresh ingredients such as fruit and vegetables.

Breakfast in this region usually includes foods such as scrambled eggs or bread with a spread such as jam, butter, honey, or a soft white cheese. Entrees in this country usually consist of a meat or potato dish. Lunch is the largest meal of the day, and common meals include bosanki lonac (a slow-roasted pot of meat and vegetables) or japrak (cabbage rolls stuffed with a savory filling).

Pita bread called somun filled with small sausages and chopped onions is also a specialty of this region. Desserts commonly contain fruit, and this is especially evident looking at this family's week of groceries! Perhaps that's the secret to being able to enjoy dessert whilst avoiding gaining weight?

Australia, Riverview

Australian family

The Brown family from Australia spends around $428 per week on groceries for their entire family! When studying the eating habits of Australians, it is evident that they consume a lot of potatoes, however this is mostly in the form of chips. Over the last few years, Australians have began eating more dairy products such as yogurt and cheese.

On the increase in Australia is the number of coffee, pies, donuts and hamburgers consumed by the average Australian, all of which aren't too great for overall health! Like most Western countries, foods that were once "party foods", such as candy, soda and crisps have now become "everyday foods" for many households.

The four most common dishes being cooked in Australian households for dinner are: Steak and vegetables, roast chicken and vegetables, spaghetti bolognaise and beef casserole - Delicious! Australians also love a BBQ, as evident in this photograph with the large quantities of red meat such as sausages and steak.


  • Which country is closest to the food that you usually eat?
  • Which country or countries have healthy diets? Which are unhealthy?
  • Which families have balanced diets?
  • Who spends the most on food? Who spends the least?
  • Which family has the most delicious food? Which does not look so delicious?
  • Look at the difference between the Canadian family and the family from Mali. How do the two compare? Does this tell us anything about the world?