Nälkä on paras mauste.
Traditional Finnish proverb
...or, to put it another way, food tastes better when
you're hungry. Innocent enough an observation,
you might think, but like many old Finnish proverbs
this takes on a bit of extra meaning in the light of
history. Famine was not an uncommon occurrence
in the bad old days, e.g. in the years 1695-1697 over
one third of Finland's population starved to death.
The 1868 famine killed about 10% (some 270,000 people),
and even as late as 1941-42 (during World War II) malnutrition due to extreme food
rationing killed off the weak, the sick and not a few
prisoners of war. The rationing continued for years
after the war as Finland struggled to rebuild its
devastated economy, and luxuries such as spices and
meat were way down on the priority list: kids might
complain about cabbage soup 7 times a week, but their parents
knew that it still beat the alternative.
Another frugal people, the Japanese, have a similar
saying: Kuufuku ni mazui mono nashi ("with an empty stomach nothing tastes bad"). SharQ informs me that
the Dutch version is Honger maakt rouwe bonen zoet ("Hunger makes raw beans taste sweet").
Since I'm sure just about every language on the planet has its own version of this proverb, no further additions will be accepted unless I feel like it.