Ancient Egyptian Foods.

The Nile river provided bountiful supplies and wide varieties of ancient Egyptian foods. There is no doubt, the Egyptians sure knew how to eat.


In today's world carbohydrates seem to carry negative connotations. You even have carb-limited diets such as the Atkins diet.

The ancient Egyptians were not fussed about their carbohydrate intake as their main foods were bread and beer.

Theirs was a strong agricultural society bought about by regular inundations and flooding of the Nile over fertile soils. Wheat and Barley crops were the lifeblood of their carb-fuelled diets.

The simplicity of their beer making meant it was widely available to all classes. By breaking up bread that contained barley and mixing it with dry grains and water it was left to ferment.


* Beef - was reserved mainly for the rich. Evidence does suggest that on festive occasions the poor would partake in this luxury food.

* Pork - the ancient Egyptians seem to have an on again off again relationship with pigs. Different periods reflect different attitudes towards them.

* Fish - The Nile provided a smörgåsbord of edible species. While some fish may have been sacred most were eaten by just about everyone. They were eaten fresh as well as preserved through brine, dried out or pickled.

* Birds - No caged hens here. Battery eggs were non-existent in ancient Egypt. In fact, there is little mention of eating eggs at all. The eggs were allowed to hatch and the bird grew to be slaughtered and eaten.

* Game - Although hunting was not a necessity for the most part, wild animals were killed and eaten. Unsuccessful attempts at domesticating some birds, such as ducks, did not stop the Egyptians appetite for them.

Gazelle frequently found it's way onto the dinner table in upper Egyptian society.

Fruit and Veg

Once again the Nile worked its magic. Fertile soils produced lentils, chick peas, beans and green peas. Leeks and lettuce were also included in the ancient Egyptian diet.

The fruit that seems to stick it's head up as being the most popular is the date. Full of energy boosting sugar and protein as well it was a popular substitute for honey by the poorer classes.

Grapes were dried to make raisins and utilized by the wealthy for wine.

Pomegranates have been found in tombs from early times.


Unfortunately, although the written records of Egypt are plentiful, there has been no recipe books left behind for us to try. With all that food it would surely be fantastic to have some sample meals to try and emulate.

We do know that ancient Egyptian foods were enhanced in the following ways:

* Honey - mainly for the rich man, this sweetener was great for giving bread a boost.

* Garlic - used for flavouring food as well as being medicinal and a repellent for insects.

* Salt - was used to flavour foods, although it was obtained from an oasis rather than from the sea as sea salt was associated with Seth who was considered an evil god.

* Herbs and spices - some of these include aniseed, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, marjoram, and thyme.

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