Almost five thousand years ago, ancient Egyptians left evidence of their love for food. Wall paintings and carvings discovered on tombs and temples showed large feasts and a wide variety of foods. Many bowls filled with different kinds of dried seeds were also found in those tombs. Most of these ancient foods are still eaten in Egyptian households today.

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An ancient Egyptian hieroglyph depicting a recipe for baking bread.

Popular fruits and vegetables in ancient Egypt were: peas, beans, cucumbers, dates, figs, and grapes. Wheat and barley were ancient staple crops that were used to make bread and beer. Fish and poultry were also popular. Dried fish was prepared by cleaning the fish, coating it with salt, and placing it to dry in the sun.

The unique Egyptian cuisine has been influenced throughout history, particularly by its neighbours from the Middle East. Persians (today is Iraq and Iran), Greeks and Romans (today is Italy and Greece), and Ottomans (today is Turkey) first influenced Egyptian cuisine a longtime ago. So the cuisine is all of these amazing cuisines combined.

Recently, some foods from countries in Europe like Spain and France were integrated in the Egyptian cuisine; however, Egyptian cuisine still maintains its uniqueness with all its aromatic spices and flavours.

After thousands of years, rice and bread remain staple foods on any breakfast, lunch and dinner Egyptian table.

Written by Maha Barsoom, Head Chef at Maha’s

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