The cuisine of Ancient Egypt

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Egyptian cuisine contained many ingredients that became famous in the Mediterranean diet as well as two very particular elements: bread and beer.

The fruits of the Nile

Egyptian cuisine was very strongly linked to the Nile, an element so central to these lands that it was sometimes considered as a god. Thanks to the fertile silt and the constant supply of water, the Egyptian people were able to develop advanced agriculture, which allowed them to have a great variety of fruits and vegetables at their disposal. Among these we can mention: celery, onions, garlic, pumpkins, dates, lentils, figs and vines; moreover, the consumption of the papyrus plant was also widespread, often boiled but not only.

egyptian cuisine

The waters of the Nile then led the Egyptians to feed often and willingly on fish, ducks and game, while, as often happens, red meat was mainly the preserve of the wealthier social classes. Goose meat was also particularly popular, so much so that the Egyptians invented foie gras.

Bread and beer

Essential elements were however bread and beer, produced through 2 of the most common cereals at the time: spelled and barley. With the first of the two a bread was made, with a taste very similar to the whole one, which represented the staple food of the Egyptian diet, thanks also to its ease of production. In Ancient Egypt, in fact, most of the families had all the tools at home to create it independently, but even when they were willing to buy it, the price made it so low that it was the prerogative of everyone.

egyptian cuisine

The beer, on the other hand, was barley but with a very different taste and properties than those seen today in the supermarket. Like the dark one in Ireland, it was much more similar to a sort of “alcoholic soup”, with a lot of unrefined barley inside and therefore actually more related to “a dish” rather than a drink. The wealthy classes, who had less need to feed on this course, preferred wine, the central element to reinvigorate frequent banquets of the palaces.

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