We know a lot about the Ancient Egyptians, thanks to this great ancient civilisation. Their desire and propagandist need to disclose what they did was paramount, especially for the pharaohs. They made sure their successes were touted everywhere. Rameses II was particularly good at promoting what a powerful and good ruler he was, even when the war he waged on the Hittites wasn’t a victorious campaign. If it wasn’t for the first pharaoh, Menes, of the 1st Dynasty to the Ptolemaic period, the last ruling pharaoh Cleopatra, who recorded everything, we’d know very little about this dynamic civilisation. Thank goodness, they did!
The Ancient Egyptians had a very healthy diet; it was low-fat and high in fibre that included a lot of grains. During my research, I came across surprising information. The Egyptians made hard lollies (candy) from honey, spices and citrus fruits and along with their counterparts in India, they made ice! They discovered this as early as 3,000 BCE and realised water would freeze during evaporation when temperatures dropped suddenly. This is a natural occurring phenomenon in dry climates.
While travelling through Egypt in the 6th century BCE, Evan and his companions would have eaten a lot of fish, especially as they used a barge to get from Memphis to Thebes. Other items they’d have purchased at the markets. Here’s what Evan and his companions would have seen at the markets: bread, lentils, cakes, meat, melons, dates, figs, ostrich eggs, olives, pomegranates, honey, onions, pistachios, vegetables, milk, almonds, peas, beans, radishes, and garlic. This is a grocery list that would not look out of place today. For a more comprehensive listing go here.
What type of meats were available? Besides fish, which the Egyptians consumed the most, and if they could afford it, there was meat from cattle, sheep and goats, ducks, pigeons, antelopes. Veal and goose were eaten by the more affluent citizens. Pork was also eaten for a time but from the New Kingdom on, the animal was associated with Seth, the god who chopped up his brother Osiris and hence, the Egyptians regarded pigs as unclean.
Egyptian food was flavoured with sea salt, thyme, marjoram, olive oil, and juice extracted from fruits and nuts. Saffron was also used, and produce such as olives, melons, saffron, cucumbers were imported going back as far as 4,000 BCE.
As to beverages, Evan was impressed with the local beers, and there were 5 types with alcohol content higher than today. And not to be out done was the wine that was made from the natural yeast of the grape’s skin and fermented. To sweeten the wine, they used figs.
Food was either baked, stewed, boiled, fried, grilled or roasted (somethings never change).
Here’s recipe from Ancient Egyptian date candy. The recipe was found on a 1600 BCE ostraca. Other Ancient Egyptian recipes, Ta’amia and Ma’moul which are recognisable. (Note: the website has a few spelling errors) And if you want to cook like the Ancient Egyptians, here’s the site for you. Just as a side note: the Ancient Egyptians had bad teeth and dental issues due to the wheat ground by stone mill and the fine particles were mixed in with the flour.
Thank you for your continued support and as always, I look forward to your comments and will respond.
Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, burnt out but not done… yet. Subscribe and receive a free eBook Top 10 Blog Posts http://eepurl.com/brIbFf