What did the ancient Egyptians eat and drink?


Quick Answer

Ancient Egyptians' diet varied depending upon their social status, but it was likely that the ancient Egyptians all consumed the staples of bread and beer. Dates, vegetables, and pickled and salted fish were also available to the peasants, whereas a wider range of food was consumed by the wealthier citizens. Wine and meat were enjoyed by everyone on special feast days, although the wealthy were able to indulge more often.

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Full Answer

Fertile soil and the yearly flood cycle of the Nile River created favorable conditions for growing crops in ancient Egypt, resulting in an abundance and variety of available foods. Farmers cultivated cereal grains, including emmer, spelt and barley, to create the staples of beer and bread. They also grew a variety of vegetables for consumption, including leeks, garlic, squashes, pulses and lettuce. Popular fruits included melons, figs, apples and pomegranates. Grapes were used to produce wines.

The Nile provided plentiful fish to eat, and bees provided ample honey. The ancient Egyptians also kept domesticated animals for meat and animal products. Cattle, goats, sheep and swine were raised in herds. Poultry such as geese, ducks and pigeons were captured and bred on farms for meat and eggs. The fish, meat and fowl were salted, brined or cooked in stews.

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