Tag Archives: Maasai

A Classic Maasai Dish

“The Maasai tribe have a traditional dish where they carefully take blood that they cut from the jugular vein of a cow and mix it with milk. They slowly do this so that they don’t kill the cow. They then boil the mixture and eat and drink the coagulated mixture. Nowadays, it is only done as a delicacy, but before, they only ate this when they didn’t have a choice of what to eat except by cutting their livestock”.

Within the Maasai tribe, eating a coagulated mixture of cow milk and blood is considered a tasty meal. Although the tradition originated out of a need to get edible food from their cows without killing them, the dish is still eaten today by some Maasai tribe members.

The informant, Alastair Odhiambo, is a 19-year-old international student who was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. Alistair and his family have deep roots in the country, so he is confident that he knows a great deal about Kenyan folklore. He was taught this tradition by his mother, who comes from the Maasai tribe herself. Alastair also grew up near the Maasai homeland territory, so he has seen many people eat this dish. To Alastair, this dish represents a method of survival that was necessary in Kenya before modernity made food much easier to procure. Neither he nor his mother would ever eat the dish because they find it unappetizing, but he does respect it due to his reverence for his heritage.

Life before Kenya was modernized was clearly very different from how it is today. This dish was the perfect way to efficiently get the sustenance one needed, as it produced food while still allowing the livestock to stay alive for their future farming needs. Although many modern Kenyans like Alastair and his mother would never eat the dish themselves, the fact that it is still eaten occasionally as a delicacy shows that because the practice was so important, it became an essential part of the Maasai way of life.