Ancient Egyptian Food

     In Ancient Egyptian times, food was quite scarce because of the extreme heat and intense dryness. These two obstacles made it quite difficult to collect and grow crops so the Egyptians always relied on the Nile River. The Nile River was used as a source of drinking water and was also used to water the farmers crops.      

     The Egyptians could only grow certain plants. Some of these include wheat, flax and barley. The wheat would be made into loaves of bread*, soup and porridge. Flax was used to make linen, rope and straw mats (see clothes page). Barley would be mixed with hops** to create beer. In fact, it is said that the original reason for planting wheat and barley was to make beer! Egyptians would make beer jars and store the beer in them. Also, when someone would die, the Egyptians would fill up a jar of beer and put it in your grave so that you would have beer in your next world.

Egyptian beer jars A picture of Ancient Egyptian beer bottles.


      Another commonly eaten food was meat. The meat would be sold at butcher shops just as people do today.  The only meat Egyptians would eat though were beef, mutton, duck, goose and/or fish. They would not eat pig because they believed pig meat (bacon, ham, pork or salami) contained leprosy. However, most of the meat they did eat was either raw and sundried in salt or hunted. The Egyptians rarely raised their own animals because it was (and still is) expensive.

Egyptian model butcher shop egyptThis is a model of a butcher shop in Ancient Egyptian times. Can you see the various pieces of meat? The bottom piece is that of a whole leg of mutton.


     The Ancient Egyptians also had dessert. Their favorite desserts were dates. Dates were put in peoples graves when they died as well. The dates the Egyptians had were preserved for up to three thousand years until archaeologists dug them up in peoples graves.  

egyptian dates This is a picture of some real Ancient Egyptian dates.


     All of this was common throughout Egypt, but when it came down to the royal folk, raw fish, dates, bread and porridge just wouldn’t do. Roasted meat, fresh water, fowls, vegetables, fruit and wine were all part of the rich folk’s diet. Even after all of their delectable food, Egyptians were still remarkably fit!


*loaves of bread – in Ancient Egyptian times, loaves of bread was called cyllestis. 

**hops – a hop is a specific herb that is especially used when brewing beer. Hops were commonly available to Ancient Egyptians.

leprosy – leprosy is an infectious disease caused by a mycobacterium discovered by Gerhard Hansen, a Norwegian scientist in 1873. Leprosy affects your skin and can lead to a variety of skin problems,  loss of feeling and paralysis of the hands and feet.

Written by…Bhavan Panghali


1 Comment

  1. Brianna & Jenelle said,

    March 1, 2007 at 9:38 am

    We like food tooo !!!! 😛

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