Living off the fat of the land.

I just got into an argument with someone at work about what it means to live off the fat of the land.

Context: I said I was done with this whole thing and was going to quit my job, sell my house, move to a little plot of land on a mountaintop and live off the fat of the land. Even though I suspect that means I’d have to give up lots of stuff, like electricity and chocolate and pedicures, it would be worth it. She said, “Yeah, and you’d have to eat rabbits.”

I don’t think so. Although I don’t really know what it means to live off the fat of the land, I’m pretty sure you don’t have to eat rabbits. Where do the rabbits even come from, in this living-off-the-fat-of-the-land scenario, anyway? And where is the land fat such that I could live off it?

But if I have to eat rabbits to live off the fat of the land, then that’s a deal-breaker.

Maybe because rabbits are one of the easiest meals on four legs?

If you’re swift enough you can run down a wild cottontail on foot and grab it with your bare hands.

The fat of the land generally means luxury. A life without electricity, chocolate, and pedicures doesn’t sound very luxurious.

And let’s not even get started on the rabbits. I’d have to be really hungry to hunt down Thumper for dinner.

From here:

Sooo… maybe the high class eat rabbit often? :smiley:

Casual Googling seems to tell us that the real meaning of this expression means only to be very wealthy/live a life of luxury and has nothing to do with the back-to-nature lifestyle.

Link 1
Link 2 (scroll down)
Link 3 (again, scroll a bit)

But then again, anyone can put anything on the Internet… :slight_smile:

If I had to take a WAG, I’d be willing to bet that the rabbit thing has something to do with a vague recollection of “Of Mice and Men”–you know, how Lenny wants to have a nice farm and be happy, yadda yadda yadda. The phrase “live off the fat of the land” might actually be used, but my copy isn’t handy–anyone? And of course poor Lenny wants rabbits…

from here

So eh. Maybe?

I always thought that it meant precicely what Lenny said. Live off the “fat” that the land provides, rather than making a living earning money or living off savings. Living off the fat of the land means that the land is rich and will provide all you need.

Rabbit, Raccoon, 'possum, groundhog… see there’s lots of choices. You don’t have to limit it to rabbit Campion. :smiley: Besides, maybe you’ll get lucky like Jed Clampett.

Then one day Campion was a’ shootin’ at some food,
When up through the ground come a’ bubblin’ crude…
Oil, that is, Black Gold, Texas Tea.

My great grandmother wrote a cookbook that includes recipes for all of the above, as well as squirrel. I have only ever used that cookbook to make her incredible one-pan brownies (yummy and only one pan to clean!). Perhaps it is time to expand my horizons?

Note to self: buy gun and book to identify rabbit, racoon, possum, squirrel, etc. and determine what’s good eatin’.

Oh, and as for the Jed Clampett bit, I will gnaw off my left arm before I move to the Hills of Beverly. The hills of San Marino, now, that I could get behind. I’m still not eating rabbit, though.

Won’t someone think of the widdle bunnies?

Yeah. *I’m * thinking of hassenpfeffer.

You don’t have to shoot them.

Just drive around until you see the sign that says:

Rabbits 4 Sale: Pets or Food

I know yer thinkin’ this is a Flint, MI kind of thing, but I saw it all over the south growin’ up.

I can get behind this slothful life of luxury thing. But I think living off the fat of the land is unfair. I think everyone should support me, fat and skinny alike!

When I lived in the foothills of the Cascades (on the wet side) there was a guy up in Index who had that very sign! And his rabbits were good eating!

Everyone I have known using the phrase has meant it to describe a homesteading/subsistence lifestyle. I have been/am living that lifestyle now, and we do eat well!

We also utilize many other daily “basics” which we glean from the wild. We use “scrubbers” for bathing from the roots of wild beach grass which have been exposed and toughened by winter storms and surf, and I know elders who still gather “stove rock” (pumice) from the beaches to scrub down their old timey oil cookstove tops. Plenty of other examples in my life as well, it’s nice to not hand the grocery store my cash!

Just my take on it!

Do be careful about Thumper, bunnies get tularemia…nasty nasty!

Actually, most wildlife can get many interesting parasites and diseases so you might want to google what is on the menu to check for things not to do [like no bear livers, toxic levels of some vitamine or another, and you should wear latex gloves when skinning and prepping bunnies in certain seasons to prevent yourself being exposed to tularemia…]

I personally prefer ranched bunnies bought in the grocery=) i am lazy=)

If this is a serious question, yes, you can live off the land without having to eat bunnies. You can live as a vegetarian, growing your own food, but it would be wise to raise animals you could trade for other goods, such as kerosene, clothing, tools, seeds, etc. Animals also provide items such as lard, skins, hides, teeth and bones that can be used in a variety of useful ways.

Perhaps it’s time to start posting great-granny’s recipes! (Mmm…gopher. And brownies for dessert!)

I’m more of a 'possum and sweet taters man myself. With the brownies for dessert, of course.

Maybe people think it means living off "fat farms:, like in that Gary Larson cartoon “Where Fat Comes From”

I’m an IT guy, does that mean I’m living off the fat of the LAN?