Bear cubs: Some assembly necessary?

“In the Colonial era, as in every era, natural history information was, in part,  passed along in what are known as travelers’ tales. These tales could be quite astonishing.

“In one, John Brickell, an Irish physician living in North Carolina, described how bear cubs were initially lumps of white flesh, ‘void of form,’ and only took on the shape of a bear as the result of their mother licking them, essentially molding a cub from a lump of formless flesh. For good measure… the same description noted that ‘the young cubs are a most delicious dish.’  ”

— From “Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose: Natural History in Early America” (2009) by Lee Alan Dugatkin

One thought on “Bear cubs: Some assembly necessary?”

  1. Brickell goes on from there, spending nearly a whole page describing the joys of eating bear. Here’s the rest of the description Lew cites, an appetizing section to read over breakfast: “The young Cubs are a most delicious Dish, as most of the Planters testifie, who prefer their Flesh before Beef, Pork, Veal or Mutton, and it looks as well as it eats, their Fat being as white as Snow, and the sweetest of any Creature in the World; for, if any Person drinks a Quart of it melted, it never rises in the Stomach, as other Oils and Fats are subject to do, and is preferr’d above all things for frying Fish, &c.”

    The Duke University Library has digitized their copy of the 1737 edition, available online here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *