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What's on the menu, Pharaoh?


Ancient Egypt is one of those magnificent cultures that contained many historical events throughout our long history, from how they dressed to what they ate on a daily basis, Ancient Egyptians did everything in style. Let us discuss today on the beauty of Ancient Egyptian cuisine and how some of these dishes are still alive with us to this day.

Bread is always a staple in every cuisine, Ancient Egyptians didn’t use bread just for it’s nutritional values, they also used it in many rituals and funeral traditions, it was the central to the economy in Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians used emmer wheat was the primary cereal used in making bread back then, they also used barley as low gluten cereal for making bread. This shows how important bread was in Ancient Egypt, bread was found in many tombs like the tomb of Kha.

Side dishes were also there back then, vegetables & pulses were an important nutritional secondary to bread. Onions, especially spring onions were always part of the standard tomb offerings and was included in a meal depicted on a tomb wall. Mallow aka khobeza is a field weed that has grown alongside cereals. The most famous dish nowadays was present back then too, yes, you guessed it right. Fava beans were not consumed until later on though, in the Graeco-Roman period. Fun fact, it is believed that priests may have been forbidden from eating them, but how far this taboo would have gone down the hierarchy of Egyptian society is not known.

Beef was like today, the most prized source of meat, followed by mutton, goat & pork. There was also finds of cows with their skulls split open, giving access to their brains, suggested that Egyptians enjoyed that delicacy as much as modern day Egyptians that still enjoys this meal of brains, offal, trotters, lungs, spleen, liver, kidney, calf’s foot soup, sausages, tripe & testicles, yup, you read that right. Ducks, geese & quails were eaten in addition to wild birds too.

As for condiments, little was known about it, spices such as coriander, fenugreek, dill & cumin. Ancient Egyptians enjoyed varies drinks, cow milk was certainly consumed, since we have many milking scenes. From tomb scenes we can also know that beer and wine production was well known, finds about juice have less evidence to it, however, fruit juices were common, and drinks from carob and dom may have been consumed. Carob actually may have been used as a sweetener in beverages but finds are rare. There is no evidence of warm drinks, which were certainly also available.

Lastly, sweets and treats were a highly expensive commodity only accessible to the wealthy, just to give you an example, honey was believed to have been created when the god Ra’s tears turned into bees. They used it in various ways as they not only used it as a sweetener but also for it’s medicinal and antibacterial properties. A variety of cakes and pastry types were also known, many of which were sweetened using dried fruits like raisins, dried figs, dates or even honey. Porridges with wheat or barley sweetened with honey or dried fruits might also have been available. So we can gladly confirm that Ancient Egyptians didn’t just eat food for survival rather adding an element of enjoyment to their day to day food.


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