Announcing Volume 173 in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley

Several years ago I fell asleep reading Nibley’s Abraham in Egypt, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Volume 14, and had the following dream that appeared to be a future FARMS press conference, circa 2063 AD. [1] I hope it is prophetic.

With great excitement I am happy to announce on behalf of FARMS the long-awaited publication of volume 173 in the best selling series “The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley” titled Hugh W. Nibley’s Favorite Ancient Near Eastern Recipes. Unlike other previously published versions of ancient recipes collected by Hugh Nibley, such as the coffee table volume from Deseret Book under the title The Illustrated Keeping the Word of Wisdom with Brother Hugh’s Restored and Correlated Ancient Recipes, this new FARMS volume contains all 947 unexpurgated ancient Near Eastern recipes for meals known to have been transcribed, collected or eaten by Professor Nibley and includes his own personal favorites, such as: Esau’s Minute Lentils and Savory Venison, King Lamoni’s “to me it doth not stink” Mackerel & Kidney Bean Salad, Osiris’s Potion Magique Unfermented Egyptian Beer, and Ezekiel’s Bread of Humiliation.

To give you a taste and whet your appetite for this book and its recipes, listen to the mouth-watering Ezekiel’s Bread of Humiliation recipe:

9 Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, [according] to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. . (Ezekiel 4:9)

I should point out that this collection of Nibley recipes, unlike its competitor, also contains copious footnotes with exclusive excerpts from Nibley family member diaries and journals that further elucidate the recipe texts. As a matter of fact, let me share with you the following interesting footnoted anecdote about the first time Sister Nibley prepared Ezekiel’s Bread of Humiliation for a family meal and misread Hugh’s handwriting thinking the word “fitches” was “finches.”

She wrote down the ingredients “wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and finches” and went grocery shopping. In spite of the difficulty of locating finches in Provo in the 1960s and the laborious task of grinding and kneading them into a dough mixture–remember, this was in the days before electric grain grinders–Phyllis had two loaves ready for dinner that night. By eating Ezekiel’s Bread of Humiliation, the whole family was excited to play a small part in the restoration of all things. This first batch was met with several compliments. Someone noted how light and airy the bread was, another its special feathery quality, although they all agreed there was an unusal aftertaste that caused Phyllis and Hugh to take a closer look at the recipe after the meal. That’s when they discovered their mistake.

After pondering the meaning of “fitch” for some time, Brother Nibley remembered from his recent reading of the entire Oxford English Dictionary (which incidentally, sat on the bookshelves in the kitchen) that the term “fitch” referred to the mustela putorius, also known as the common polecat. Although he did not voice his concerns to his family immediately, he was fairly sure that skunks were not indigenous to the Ancient Near East. But rather than doubt the historicity of this biblical recipe, Professor Nibley considered all of his interpretive options.

While sitting and pondering more about this delicate issue, in a moment of insight Brother Hugh pulled a copy of the Masoretic Hebrew text of the Old Testament from the bookshelves in the bathroom to double check the King James translation, just in case. And, as he was beginning to suspect, the translators had been mistaken. It turned out the Hebrew word they had translated was kuccemeth (koos-seh’-meth), now known to be the Middle Eastern grain spelt, rather than a skunk. Again, this faith promoting incident is found exclusively in Hugh W. Nibley’s Favorite Ancient Near Eastern Recipes.

Well, that’s a preview of what you have in store next year. And, oh yes, to answer those of you who keep asking when Brother Nibley’s hypocephalus book will be released–it is anticipated to finally be ready in year 2065–so please stop pestering us.

Thank you.

[1] Actually, I read this at the Sunstone roast of Hugh Nibley several years ago.


  1. Jared E. says:

    Pure comedy

  2. Ed,
    You are too funny for us. Cease!

  3. Ed Snow says:

    Here’s a quiz (forgot to add this):

    Which of these recipes are actual dishes Hugh Nibley used to eat (hint–2 of them are authentic):

    1. Esau’s Minute Lentils and Savory Venison

    2. King Lamoni’s “to me it doth not stink” Mackerel & Kidney Bean Salad

    3. Osiris’s Potion Magique Unfermented Egyptian Beer

    4. Ezekiel’s Bread of Humiliation

  4. Mark IV says:

    I’ll bet he enjoyed your roast/tribute.

    Nibley had a taste for parody, even self-parody.

  5. Ed Snow says:

    Mark, thanks for the link to “Bird Island”–knee slapping stuff. I think some of this article was slanted toward Ross Christianson in particular, as I recall.

    As for the Sunstone roast, his family came and it was a big dinner event, lot’s of speakers (including many of his children), lots of fun. However, Hugh got dehydrated that day and had to go to the hospital and missed it, although I understand from Boyd Peterson he got to watch it later on video tape and seemed to enjoy it. I was actually afraid he might have heart attack while I was speaking and have that on my conscience, so I was actually relieved when he missed it.

  6. Ezekiel’s bread? Possibly the beer? (I once imbibed a bit of home-brew Sumerian beer. ‘Twas OK, Josef.)

  7. Ed Snow says:


    2. King Lamoni’s “to me it doth not stink” Mackerel & Kidney Bean Salad

    What’s controversial about this recipe is whether it is potentially damaging to one’s spiritual and physical health since the use of canned mackerel in the preparation and consumption of it (i) arguably violates the Word of Wisdom just from the smell of it alone, and (ii) does not give one sufficient confidence that he/she is avoiding the very appearance of evil when eating it in front of others, especially new converts.

    3. Osiris’s Potion Magique Unfermented Egyptian Beer

    This apparently came from an actual translation of an Egyptian document:

    “Hor-Osiris, brewer of beer (hnkt). Instructions from Isis for the making of beer. Crumble brewer’s yeast into warm dishwater. Add apple vinegar, oil of fish, malt, hops and mouldy peat moss to taste. Strain with a sieve into a vat and wait no more than many days. Flavor with juice or honey.”

  8. Ed Snow says:

    I almost forgot about these “Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar/Kirtland Egyptian Papers Soup Recipes.”

    *Khepera Lepew moo: a soup made with rice, herbs, crushed dung beetles, and milk

    *Enish go on dosh Lethair: a soup made with rice, herbs, and tooled leather

    *Gnolaum Salamee nos: a soup made with rice, herbs, posterior of camel, and sugar beets

    *Kyleenos ex Lax nos: a soup made with prunes

  9. ElouiseBell says:


    Your dreamworks are filling in glaring gaps in the Nibley canon! Do let us know when we may expect to see Nibley’s as-yet unpublished ME AND MY HOUSE: Hugh Nibley’s Hieratic Hints on Higher Housekeeping. Perhaps it will settle once and for all the old contention about whether Jell-o made from the unsplit hooves of the hyrax violates the Word of Wisdom.


  10. Ed Snow says:

    Elouise, I figure half of the stories we tell about Nibley aren’t true, so I’m trying to make up for the other 50%.

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