Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You Are What You Eat

I know we were all told not to judge a book by its cover, but I don't think we can help it at times. There's an opinion forming chip in our brains that makes us conjure up strong ideas about people, often with very little information. I read an article a while back in Cosmo or some other high-brow literary publication that shared pictures of three guys' grocery carts. They had a panel of women who analyzed the contents and made a hypothesis about the guy behind the cart. Total idiocy but I was totally intrigued. Of course you had some easy targets, like the yogi's cart filled with vegan stuff, but then there was the successful, married CEO whose cart was brimming with Fruity Pebbles, Chef Boyardee and Mac and Cheese. I would have pegged him as a single college boy (perhaps with some piercings and tats), but it turned out his wife was out of town for a week and he wasn't much of a cook. 

But really, can we form an accurate opinion about a person simply by looking at what's inside their shopping cart? What about by looking inside their refrigerator? In a series called You Are What You Eat, photographer Mark Menjivar has traveled across America taking photos of just that to paint a subtle portrait of their personal lives.  

The fridges are photographed as is, nothing added or taken away. Clearly people from all walks of life took part in this photographic adventure: the rich, the poor, vegetarians, Republicans, dreamers, those left out, and many more. But the reality is we never know the full story — even if we think we do. 

Take a peek . . . . The portraits are fascinating!

Carpenter & Photographer / San Antonio, TX / 3-Person Household / 12-Point Buck / 2008 
[Disclaimer: This has to be the manliest fridge/freezer I have ever seen — tequila and deer meat. I mean come on!] 

Bartender / San Antonio, TX / 1-Person Household / Goes to sleep at 8 AM and wakes up at 4 PM daily. / 2008

Community Volunteer / San Angelo, TX / 1-Person Household / Completely blind and lives alone. / 2007

Midwife & Middle School Science Teacher / San Antonio, TX / 3-Person Household (including dog) / First week after decided to eat locally grown vegetables. / 2008

Street Advertiser / San Antonio, TX / 1-Person Household / Lives on $432 fixed monthly income. / 2007

Mark hopes that by giving the public a backstage pass into the nutritional lives of your average Americans, people will think about how we fuel our bodies and the impact it has on others and our environment. "A refrigerator is both a private and shared space," he said. "One person likened the question, 'May I photograph the interior of your fridge?' to asking someone to pose nude for the camera.  My hope is that we will think deeply about how we care. How we care for our bodies. How we care for others. And how we care for the land."

With that thought, I'm off to go analyze my fridge. 


  1. You need to add a picture of your fridge so we can analyze you ;)

  2. Holley, I love that your posts are always thoughtful and insightful.

  3. such a fun post, keep em coming! I think I might need to change the focus of my blog, it seems so boring compared to yours!

  4. oh and just for fun, you should take a picture of your fridge (spontaneous) and get your friends to post theirs too.