Comfort Food & Living Below the Line

Food is more than just nutrients: it’s also a way to celebrate with loved ones and share parts of our cultural heritage.


Italy: Marisa Batini, 80 years old. Swiss chard and ricotta Ravioli with meat sauce


Malawi: Regina Lifumbo, 53 years old. Finkubala (Caterpillar in tomato sauce)


Lebanon: Wadad Achi, 66 years old. Mjadara (rice and lentils cream)


 Zimbabwe: Flatar Ncube, 52 years old. Sadza (white maize flour) and pumpkin leaves cooked in peanut butter


Bolivia: Julia Enaigua, 71 years old. Queso Humacha (vegetables and fresh cheese soup)

And what better way for a grandmother to bring her family together then cooking up some of her family’s favorite comfort food? The joyful expressions on their faces (captured by Gabriele Galimberti in his “Delicatessen with love” project) only gives us an idea of how much love was put into these traditional dishes. So many of my childhood memories are tied to the feasts that my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother would prepare.


Kuwait: The Al Haggan family of Kuwait City
Food expenditure for one week: 63.63 dinar or $221.45
Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
Mongolia: The Batsuuri family of Ulaanbaatar
Food expenditure for one week: 41,985.85 togrogs or $40.02
Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55
United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week: $341.98

Interested to discover similar photoessays, I stumbled across this feature from Peter Menzel’s 2007 book “Hungry Planet“. It really got me thinking: Is it true that we are what we eat? What does a country’s main dish tell about its people and culture?

One can’t help but notice that some countries give the sense of abundance while others give a hint of scarceness, whether it be for a special meal or a typical week of groceries. Live Below the Line is trying to bridge that gap, challenging participants worldwide to live on just $1.25 food each day for five days. $1.25 is a significant amount – it represents the equivalent of extreme poverty. They  have already raised well over $400,000 and are accepting donations until May 31. Although the five day challenge was from April 29 – May 3rd, it would still be interesting to give it a try on your own! read the rules here.

photo 2.47.31 PM

Yesterday, as I was pondering how a similar project would go over in Italy, I came across this ad on the tram! Althea, an Italian company that produces products like tomato sauce, is sponsoring a digital  initiative that donates a meal to a child in Kenya for each picture uploaded to Instagram featuring a kiss with a loved one (#altheakiss). Social and giving back – can’t get any better than that! Now you can put your cheesy kissy pictures to good use 😉

Eidos Tweet:  Much more than “a substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body”.