Source:Nibley:CW06:Ch18:8:Eating raw meat in the desert

Parent page: Book of Mormon/Anthropology/Culture/Old World

Eating raw meat in the desert

Nephi vividly remembers the eating of raw meat by his people in the desert and its salutary effect on the women, who "did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men" (1 Nephi 17:2). "Throughout the desert," writes Burckhardt "when a sheep or goat is killed, the persons present often eat the liver and kidney raw, adding to it a little salt. Some Arabs of Yemen are said to eat raw not only those parts, but likewise whole slices of flesh; thus resembling the Abyssinians and the Druses of Libanon, who frequently indulge in raw meat, the latter to my own certain knowledge."45 Nilus, writing fourteen centuries earlier, tells how the Bedouin of the Tih live on the flesh of wild animals, failing which "they slaughter a camel, one of their beasts of burden, and nourish themselves like animals from the raw meat," or else scorch the flesh quickly in a small fire to soften it sufficiently not to have to gnaw it "like dogs." 46 Only too well does this state of things match the grim economy of Lehi: "They did suffer much for the want of food" (1 Nephi 16:19); "we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness" (1 Nephi 17:2).[1]


  1. Hugh W. Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, 3rd edition, (Vol. 6 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988), Chapter 18, references silently removed—consult original for citations.