Introduction - Ancient Egyptian FoodAncient Egypt was the world's first great civilization. What enabled these ancient people to focus on the great achievements they are now known for, like building the pyramids and other great structures, and creating a written language, was their access to an abundant food supply. The hunter gatherers that came before them had no time for building complex structures or inventing a written language; they were too busy obtaining food in order to survive. The Nile River, upon which this great civilization grew around, provided fertile soil ideal for farming and fishing. When the people who lived around the Nile River learned to farm efficiently they freed up time to pursue great things. On this page of the section on Ancient Egyptian Culture Facts you will find a list of interesting facts about ancient Egyptian food. This kid-friendly information includes what types of foods the ancient Egyptians ate, and where and how they obtained their food.
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Interesting Ancient Egyptian Food Facts
- Ancient Egypt depended on farming to produce most of its food. The Nile River produced very fertile soil ideal for farming.
- Due to its hot desert climate it was hard to raise livestock in ancient Egypt; therefore meats from livestock were not a major food source for ancient Egypt.
- The ancient Egyptians ate their food with their hands; there was no silverware or any other type of eating utensils.
- The type of food an individual in this ancient society ate depended on their social status and wealth. The wealthy and those in the upper tiers of society had access to a greater variety of foods.
- Ancient Egyptians often dried and salted their food; for example grapes were dried to make raisins. Drying and salting food helps preserve it so that it last longer. The army often dried and salted foods to take on long military campaigns.
- Their meals were usually eaten the same day it was cooked. This was necessary due to the difficulty of storing food in the hot weather of ancient Egypt. Sometimes food was stored; usually in clay jars. Some Egyptians had basements where they stored food, where the cooler temperature below ground helped preserve it.
Ancient Egyptian Food Types
- Bread was an important part of their diet; with the main ingredients being wheat and barley. Many different types of breads were produced and consumed by these people.
- The wealthy had access to numerous types of bread whereas the choices for the poor were limited.
- Barley, used for making bread and beer, was perhaps their main crop.
- The Nile River, around which this ancient civilization was centered, provided an abundance of fish which was a major food source for the ancient Egyptians.
- Common game that was hunted and found in their diet included ducks, geese, quail, and pigeons. Later in their history the ancient Egyptians domesticated fowl and used them for food.
- The most common drinks were beer and wine, beer was available to everyone regardless of social status or wealth, wine was usually only available to the wealthy.
- Fruits and vegetables consumed by this society included apricots, lettuce, grapes, radishes, lentils, dates, cucumbers, melons, onions, and peas.
- To sweeten their food the ancient Egyptians used honey; sugar was not available. Dates were also used as a sweetener.
- Dairy products such as milk were sometimes used in their cooking.