Never. Never in all the food, all the hamburgers and malts, all the fries or meals at home, never in all the candy or pies or cakes, never in all the roasts or steaks or pizzas, never in all the submarine sandwiches, never never never had he tasted anything as fine as that first bite.

This quote comes at the end of Chapter 15, when Brian sits down to reap the reward of his first successful foolbird hunting expedition. It speaks to the value of self-sufficiency. Brian compares all the meals he has ever had to this one, and finds that they pale in comparison. Food had been so easily accessible in the city and at home that it almost never occurred to him to concern himself about it. In the wilderness, on the other hand, finding food was the central concern for both Brian and the many animals with which he shared the wilderness. With this new need to survive and to make a life for himself, Brian became skilled and determined in providing for himself. This self-sufficiency meant that every accomplishment had significance, was genuinely an accomplishment rather than a convenience. As a result the food had a uniquely satisfying and delicious flavor—the sweet reward of hard work.