The Mysterious Dining Habits of History's Great Geniuses

Mar 14, 2016

Credit Katharine Du / NPR

NPR.org recently took a look at the connection between genius and food. And they discovered that some of history’s greatest minds had some very peculiar dining habits. The French writer Honore de Balzac, for example, drank 50 cups of espresso a day. He died at age 51 . . . of caffeine poisoning. The Greek mathematician Pythagoras hated beans so much that he forbade his followers from even touching them. As a broke student in Paris, Marie Curie, survived only on bread and butter—a meager diet for a future Nobel Laureate.

Steve Jobs subsisted mostly on dates and carrots. So many carrots, in fact, that he sometimes took on an orange hue. Michelangelo was indifferent to food and ate "more out of necessity than pleasure.” And Charles Darwin, at one time or another, ingested owls, hawks, armadillos, iguanas and giant tortoises.