As a young man studying in Amsterdam, Vincent van Gogh on August 18, 1877, wrote to his brother Theo, “I breakfasted on a piece of dry bread and a glass of beer—that is what Dickens advises for those who are on the point of committing suicide, as being a good way to keep them, at least for some time, from their purpose.”
The G8 met in Hokkaido, Japan, in July 2008 to address the global food crisis. Over an eighteen-course meal—including truffles, caviar, conger eel, Kyoto beef, and champagne—prepared by sixty chefs, the world leaders came to a consensus: “We are deeply concerned that the steep rise in global food prices coupled with availability problems in a number of developing countries is threatening global food security.”
Breaking the necks of pigeons in the Luxembourg Gardens while the gendarme went for a glass of wine was supposedly how Ernest Hemingway on occasion fed his family in Paris in the 1920s. He hid the bodies in his son Bumby’s stroller. Sometimes when he went without, the novelist studied the paintings by Paul Cézanne, which “looked more beautiful if you were belly empty, hollow hungry.”
Charles Lindbergh bought five sandwiches for his flight across the Atlantic in 1927, saying, “If I get to Paris, I won’t need any more, and if I don’t get to Paris, I won’t need any more either.” It took him thirty-three and a half hours. Amelia Earhart in 1932 flew across the Atlantic in fourteen hours and fifty-six minutes, during which she drank chicken soup from a thermos, and a can of tomato juice—opened with an ice pick.