Food in Ancient Egypt – What Food Did Ancient Egyptians Eat
Apart from a few sacred animals, there was nothing to stop people from growing and gathering good food. In ancient Egypt no one went hungry. Food was roasted, boiled, cooked, dried and mixed. Thanks to the Nile, they had enough fresh food to keep them healthy.
The Nile flows north towards the Mediterranean Sea. Every year the Nile floods as it flows north from Egypt because the snow melts on the mountains to the south. When the floods receded, they left behind a rich, fertile and dark land. Farming was very easy because of the fertile soil made by the flooding of the Nile every year.
The ancient Egyptians liked a lot of garlic. They also ate green vegetables, lentils, figs, dates, onions, fish, birds, eggs, cheese and butter. Bread and beer were their staple foods.
Their bread was flavoured with dates, honey, figs or dates. They had flat bread. They even had yeast bread. Bread was made from barley and wheat.
Ancient Egyptians loved to drink beer
Beer was the most common drink in ancient Egypt. There were very few wells. Most ancient Egyptians did not want to drink water directly from the Nile. The Nile River provided fresh water, but the ancient Egyptians realised that people got sick after drinking it. So they drank beer made from barley. The beer was very thick, about the size of a milkshake. It was not high in alcohol, but it was very nutritious and was an important part of the daily diet of the ancient Egyptians. Beer was also safer than drinking Nile water. The Egyptians made white and red wine from grapes. Spices and honey were added to various wines to add flavour. Dates were used to make a non-alcoholic fruit drink.
Some fish were sacred. Some fish were eaten after being fried or dried and salted. Pigeons and waterfowl were eaten. The rich ate beef, but it was expensive. For a while they ate pork, but the priests decided that pork was not good to eat and pork was removed from their diet.
The ancient Egyptians loved sweets. A popular recipe was a rich dessert of bread, cream and honey. They would make a bread that looked like a cake.
In ancient Egypt, no one went hungry, except in times of drought when everyone suffered. Pharaoh did not forbid his people to eat. They were free to fish in the Nile and collect eggs. Grain was stored in a central place so that everyone could share. Food was dried and stored in sealed barrels.
Most ancient Egyptians ate two meals a day
Most ancient Egyptians ate two meals a day: bread and beer in the morning, then a hearty dinner of vegetables, meat and again bread and beer. Feasts usually began in the afternoon. Unmarried men and women were separated, and places were assigned according to social status.
Ancient Egyptian cuisine spans a period of more than 3000 years, but retained many constant features even into the Greco-Roman period. Bread and beer were the staple foods of the Egyptians, both poor and rich, often accompanied by green onions, other vegetables and, to a lesser extent, meat, game and fish.