Walden (Life in the Woods)

“I learned from my two year’s experience that it would cost incredibly little trouble to obtain one’s necessary food even in this latitude; that a man may use as simple a diet as the animals, and yet retain health and strength.  I have made a satisfactory dinner, satisfactory on several accounts, simply off a dish of purslane ( Portulaca oleracea) which I gathered in my cornfield, boiled and salted.  I give the Latin on account of the savouriness of the trivial name.

And pray what more can a reasonable man desire, in peaceful times, in ordinary noons, than a sufficient number of ears of green sweet-corn boiled, with the addition of salt?  Even the little variety which I used was a yielding to the demands of appetite, and not of health.

Yet men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not for want of necessaries, but for want of luxuries; and I know a good woman who thinks that her son lost his life because he took drinking water only. The reader will perceive that I am treating the subject rather from an economic than a dietetic point of view, and he will not venture to put my abstemiousness to the test unless he has a well stocked-larder.”

~Henry David Thoreau