Many carvings and images can be found on temple and tomb walls showing ancient Egyptian food from Egypt old kingdom and Egypt new kingdom. Most depictions were in the afternoon, men and women were separated in the images unless they were married. The seating positions varied according to social status with those in the higher status sitting on chairs while the middle class sat on stools and the lowest class sat on the raw floor. Before the food was passed basins were provided with perfume cones to spread pleasant smells. The dishes consisted of stews served with great amounts of bread, fresh vegetables, and fruit, and for dessert, there were cakes baked with dated and flavored with honey.
Food was made in stewing, boiling, baking, grilling, frying or roasting. Many spices and herbs were added for flavor, only to be found on the table of the wealthy as it was an expensive import. The Egyptians were able to preserve their food like meat by salting and dated & raisins were dried for long-term storage. The primary source of sweetener in ancient Egyptian food was honey which was highly expensive as it was collected from the wild or from domestic bees kept in pottery hives. Oils were used in cooking after being made from lettuce, safflower, bean, sesame, balanitis, and olive also animal fat was used for cooking as well and they all were stored in jars.
The staple of ancient Egyptian cuisine was bread which was eaten by both the rich and the poor. It was consumed on a daily basis and was made from wheat or barley. Making bread was a strenuous task were the grains first grounded into the floor by women through a grinding mill to form a flour. The sand was added into the grinder to speed up the process which means the bread has sand in it that was the cause of many dental problems like tooth decay as evident in the teeth of various mummies. When mixing the flour with water and yeast, the dough would be formed that then be placed in a clay mold before being cooked in a stone oven. There were fine dessert bread and cakes from high-grade flour. The bread came in different sizes and shapes like human figures, fish, and many animals; they were also seasoned with coriander seeds and dates.
The beer was the most common drink in ancient Egypt, the cornerstone of ancient Egyptian beverages. It was called "Beer Bread" was an important part of the Egyptian diet and was even used as a currency. Most of the ancient Egyptians did not drink water directly from the Nile as they observed that people got sick after it so they drank beer instead. The Ancient Egyptians made beer by half cooking barley then soaking it in water and leaving it to set, it was highly nutritious food containing high protein, minerals, and vitamins. It was the same thickness as a milkshake and contained a low level of alcoholic content. The ancient Egyptians also made white and red wine from grapes which were combined with spices and honey. They made many non-alcoholic drinks from fruits like dates.
Despite the fact that the Nile was not the main source of hydration, it was the main reason for the land fertile nature and the variety of ancient Egyptian food due to its annual flooding, this allowed the plantation of various crops of fruits and vegetables. The most common vegetables were green onions and garlic which were used for medical purposes plus leek, cucumber, lentils, lettuce, celery, beans, peas, lentils, radish, and turnip plus the papyrus which was used to create paper, was eaten raw, boiled, and even roasted. The most common fruit was Dates but they also consumed fruits like fig, grapes, melons, apple, and pomegranate.
In ancient Egypt, fish was the main source of the protein, they were often dried or salted to preserve them for a long period of time. There was also other sources of protein like chickens that were available for everyone, plus there were goose, duck, lamb, pigeon, and quail. The beef was expensive, available once or twice for the royalty. Everything in Egypt feels like heaven, so don't miss the chance to explore the beauty and wonder of this holy country by a magical Nile River cruise to the great cities of Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan.
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