While present-day Egypt has an array of delectable dishes, its ancient counterpart had simpler versions and practiced completely different ways of preparing meals. Some dishes survived the test of time and are still enjoyed the old-fashioned way. Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization that aligned itself along the Nile river.
It was first under the Ptolemaic Dynasty during the rule of Ptolemy Soter post Alexander the Great's demise. It soon became a Roman province after it changed hands and fell into the grasp of the Roman Empire.
Ancient Egypt was taken care of by the Nile, where abundant water propelled surplus produce because of the valley's fertile soils. As a result, the development of the land was mercurial, causing ancient Egypt to experience a rapid rise in culture, harvested produce, and social betterment.
History of Ancient Egyptian Food
The rich even drank wine. Beer was prepared using emmer wheat or barley, and went through an archaic brewing process that is still practiced in some parts of Africa.
A preparation known as 'beer bread' was made, using well-leavened, semi-baked bread that was crumbled and passed through a sieve, where it was then fermented after it was washed in a vat with water. They would use either honey or dates to flavor the beer, where wine was made using plums, grapes, or even pomegranates - it was usually enjoyed by the elite.
Foods were preserved by brining and salting, smoking, or drying in order to lengthen their shelf life. Honey and beer were also used as preservative agents.
Honey was an expensive ingredient therefore the poor used dates or carob (sweet pulp from the pods) as substitutes. The rich of course had no problem getting their hands on the best condiments and ingredients, including the finest that livestock could offer.
Vegetables that were common as part of a dish were, onion, turnip, radish, cabbage, cucumber, papyrus root, endive, garlic, coriander, celery, and seed types like linseed, sesame seeds etc. Fruits were given equal importance - olives, plums, melons, mandrakes, figs, dates, and the like, were given equal emphasis as part of the common man's meal.
Sweets were made using the finest ingredients, where honey, dates and nuts were the primary add-ons. For cakes and other baked goodies, high-grade flour was used (if, you could afford it) in the bakeries of ancient Egypt.
Large open-topped clay ovens were using to bake the bread, where they were placed in a cylindrical-shaped enclosure and then carefully peeled off once they were cooked through. The breads were an interesting assortment of shapes that resembled animals, humans, and fish.
Ancient Egyptians used what they could in order to have a hot meal ready for consumption. While the rich were busy having three main course meals a day, the poor managed to get by with two or even one meal, with fruit making up the last of the day's grub.
Special foods like walnuts, plums, filberts, apples, pistachios, coconuts, and such were imported. While the culture is a rich amalgamation of what was, the food preparations have evolved through leaps and bounds with many dishes retaining their classic charm even today.