From Did You Ever ...
I offer for your consideration the observation that in times past people were really really really really hungry in a way that most humans living now can not imaging. I say this not because I have pictures or scary drawings of starving plague ridden masses. No. I say that with confidence because of some of the food that we now consider indulgences which - except for starvation - would never have been consumed by human beings.
Exhibit 1: artichokes.
Examine a picture of an artichoke. I apologize to Castroville California, the artichoke capitol of the world but honestly, when you look at that thing does your mouth start to water and you feel the urge to hunt for a pot of boiling water and some melted butter? I think not. Can you imagine how hungry the first human being had to have been who started chewing on one of these things? Why would you ever think to yourself as you traversed the sands of the desert that "Gee, I'm gonna pick me a mess of these things, set up camp, boil the last quart of water that stands between me and dehydration and steam these suckers up. Some day some body's gonna charge a lot of money for these things and sell them at high-end restaurants". No, I tell you. Ancient man was thinking "Damn I am hungry and there's nothing here but these crappy thistle things. I guess I will chew on the leaves for a while. Maybe I wont die.
Don't get me wrong, I like artichokes. But seriously, if you had never been exposed to these and someone invited you over for dinner and plopped a steamed artichoke on your plate, would you really feel like an honored guest or would you think "jeez what a cheap s.o.b. serving me weeds. where's the steak?"