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Cow Blood

The traditional diet of the Masai (also spelled Maasai) people in Kenya and Tanzania is derived mostly from their cattle, though they do not often eat beef; rather, they eat milk and blood which is harvested by puncturing the loose flesh on the cow's neck with an arrow. The wound is closed after a gourdfull of blood is obtained. This operation can be repeated every month or so with no harm to the cow. The Masai typically drink blood mixed with milk.

masai herder in tanzania

Cow blood is also consumed by other rural people, usually to avoid wasting it when a cow is butchered. (Europeans also use blood in black pudding, boudin noir and blutwurst.) Cow blood can be cooked with fresh or sour milk as follows: Pour the fresh blood through a sieve to separate it from the clots. Mix three parts liquid blood to one part milk (or equal parts blood and sour milk). Cook over low heat, stirring often, for twenty to thirty minutes. The mixture should thicken like scrambled eggs. If desired, butter, fried chopped onions, or salt can be added during cooking. Serve with Ugali, Fufu, or boiled Plantains, or Rice.

Ernest Hemingway

I had heard and read that the Masai subsisted only on the blood of their cattle mixed with milk

Ernest Hemingway described the changing Masai diet he encountered on his 1933 trip through Eastern Africa in Green Hills of Africa (New York: Scribner Classic; MacMillan Publishing Company).

... They [the Masai people in a village Hemingway visited] all seemed to be our great friends and we gave a very successful party with refreshments in the shape of our bread which they all ate with much laughing, the men first, then the women. Then I had M'Cola open the two cans of mince meat and the plum pudding and I cut these into rations and passed them out. I had heard and read that the Masai subsisted only on the blood of their cattle mixed with milk, drawing the blood off from a wound in a vein of the neck made by shooting an arrow at close range. These Masai, however, ate bread, cold mince meat, and plum pudding with great relish and much laughter and joking. (Chapter Thirteen)

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