DAILY BREAD: WHAT KIDS EAT AROUND THE WORLD by Gregg Segal -Book Review – Food for Thought

Take one hurried glance at your new coffee table book Daily Bread: What Kids Eat Around the World by Gregg Segal, and you will likely feel compelled to slow down and give it a more thoughtful chew—all pun intended.  Children from all corners of the globe—most seeming to be 8+ years old—are each displayed in an aerial view on a colorful background, surrounded by the food they ate over the last week, as they chronicled in food journals.  These posed shots are colorful, busy and thoughtfully arranged; they are not images of their everyday lives.  The children look directly at the camera, many taking a bite of one of their favorite dishes. Apparently, a love of French fries, fried chicken and Nutella spans across many cultures! There is a noticeable lack of vegetables, a point the author seems to be making intentionally.

Alexandra (9, left) and Jessica (8, right) Lewis

We meet children from a wide array of ethnic backgrounds and hometowns, surrounded by the meals and snacks they ate over the course of one week. Alongside each photo is a bit of information about each child, culled from interviews where each was seemingly asked the same questions.

The pictures grab your attention—though to this reviewer did begin to feel a bit repetitive. What really keeps your attention, and in some cases pierces your heart, are the short vignettes via interviews with the children about their lives and their family’s approach to making and eating food.  Particularly interesting are the juxtapositions between one child and another. For example, Jesus, whose mother came to the US as an undocumented immigrant as a teenager, only has enough time and money to eat one meal a day. On another page you meet Daria, a six-year-old from Los Angeles whose parents have received warnings from her pediatrician about her low weight, a result of her picky eating habits.

Tharkish Sri Ganesh (10) and Mierra Sri Varrsha (8)

In his passionate introduction, the photographer describes his goals with the project.  He decries modern diets, particularly those of children, but doesn’t lose sight of the fact that the parents typically set the table. A large number of the children pictured are from the Los Angeles, CA area, where the author started by photographing the friends of his own kids, then launched a Kickstarter campaign that took him across the globe. The book features kids from across Europe as well as Mumbai, India, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Senegal, most of whom indulge in packaged snack foods and candies. He also photographed two children from communities in Brazil who have little contact with modern, Western culture. Their plates are filled with fruits and vegetables they grow themselves, and fish from nearby streams.

Some will likely recognize these as the same photos that were recently circulating on the Internet and social media. While the images are beautifully staged, they start to blend together after a while, at least for this reviewer. On the other hand, the interviews printed alongside each photograph continue to engage, page after page. Each child’s likes and dislikes, fears and dreams for the future are conveyed in simple, but poignant ways.  Their personalities come through, and provide an interesting context for each child’s story.

Despite its title, this is not especially a book for foodies.  Rather, the book is an interesting perspective on the variety of our world: the way we live, eat and approach life.  If you have an interest in anthropology and social structures, and love photography, this book will likely have special appeal.


To order  visit the Daily Bread: What Kids Eat Around the World by Gregg Segal page on Amazon.


Elizabeth Lovelady
Elizabeth Lovelady Photo: Ingrid Bonne Photography.

About the Author: Elizabeth Lovelady

Elizabeth is a Chicago-based director, playwright and arts administrator. Companies she has worked with as a director include Strawdog Theatre, Babes with Blades, Wildclaw and Red Theater Chicago, where she is also a Board Member. Her adaptation of the noir film DOA, which she also directed, won the 2016 Non-Equity Jeff Award for Best Adaptation. It has since been published by Dramatic Publishing, and is regularly produced across North America. As an arts administrator, Elizabeth has worked in fundraising and development for The House Theatre
of Chicago and Theater Wit. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Directing at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Learn more at Elizabeth Lovelady website

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