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Friday, July 22, 2016

Eat Like an Egyptian


We don't have a whole lot of recipes from Ancient Egypt.

There's one that was actually written down on a tablet, that we do have a record of (and we'll share that one here).  But what we do know, are the crops the Ancient Egyptians grew, and with this knowledge in hand, we can recreate a pretty fun Egyptian Feast.

Dried figs and melon
What crops do we know for sure?   

The Egyptians grew wheat, barley, cucumbers, leeks, garlic, figs, melons, pomegranates and watermelon.  We know the Middle East also offers quantities of dates, olives and honey. Add to this the fish they caught from the Nile, and the dairy they probably enjoyed from their livestock, and you have quite a bit to choose from to create your own feast.   

Broiled fish, olives, cucumbers and beans (we used garbanzo)


We also know some of the herbs that Egyptians would have had access to, so to season our fish, I smoothed olive oil on the surface and then sprinkled it with dill and garlic.  Mmmmmm.  

Hibiscus Tea and broiled fish with olive oil, dill and garlic

In my research for our Egyptian feast, I found the fascinating information that the Pharaohs loved to drink hibiscus tea.  I had never tried hibiscus tea so this was a new one for me, and I have to give the pharaohs credit for their tastes:  Hibiscus tea is delicious!  To be historically accurate, sweeten it with honey.  





We also attempted a flatbread out of whole wheat flour (the Egyptians used Kamut Wheat), that was pretty tasty.  

But what about that recipe I mentioned earlier that was actually written down on a clay tablet sometime back in Ancient Egyptian time periods?  Here it is:


For a sweet treat from ancient times, I thought these were pretty dang yummy.  You can find this recipe in several places on the internet, and most give "nuts" as an ingredient.  But I read that the original recipe actually used something called "Tiger nuts", hence the name of the recipe.  I'd never heard of tiger nuts, but apparently they are a small tuber that grows underground and are quite healthy for you.  I searched a bit more and found that, lo and behold, you can buy these little gems off Amazon!



Yep, there they are.  The taste of the tiger nut is reminiscent of a pecan, though slightly sweeter.  But as far as texture goes, they are much tougher.  You really need to use your grinders.  

Now you can use pecans in place of the tiger nuts, and if I make them again, that's what I'd do.  We also made them using walnuts, but walnuts have a bitter tinge that change the taste of the final sweet.  Use tiger nuts or pecans, don't use walnuts, that's my best advice.  

I blended our tiger nuts in the blender and added the dates.  (I think the tiger nuts actually damaged my blender, so if you wish to use tiger nuts in your recipe, I recommend letting them soak in water for 24 hours, prior to blending.) 

I cannot imagine trying to chop those tiger nuts by hand.  Those ancient Egyptians were an impressive crew. 



Here's the basic recipe:



                             Tiger Nut Sweets

3/4 c. dates (chopped)
1/3 c. tiger nuts or pecans (chopped)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp water

Roll into balls (we made 6)
Roll in honey first
Then roll in ground almonds




 



We made a Recipe page in our Egyptian Activity Kit which includes a Hieroglyph translation page, and the translation reveals this very recipe. 

Don't worry, the Heiroglyph Translation Sheet AND the Answer Key are both included in our Ancient Egypt Activity Kit in our store.



 If you end up doing an Egyptian feast of your own, we would LOVE it if you shared photos of your completed meal.  




If you enjoyed this activity, don't forget to check out our other posts about suggested supplemental activities for Story of the World, Volume 1 here:

Don't forget to check out our other "Story of the World" posts, here:

#1: Staging an Archeological Dig



#2:  An Inside Archeological Dig


 #3  Foraging with Story of the World


#4  Operating an Egyptian Shaduf


#5  Egypt's Ancient Gods Activity

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