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Kitchen Connection Goes to: Egypt


Kitchen Connection Goes to: Egypt

For thousands of years, Egyptian culture has inspired imagination, created greatness and shaped the world as we know it today.  From the Great Pyramids to the larger than life rulers of the time, the colorful history and diverse Egyptian culture evokes feelings of innovation while maintaining a deep reverence for the past.   To experience these seemingly conflicting concepts, one must look no further than in Egypt’s cuisine. 

Egypt as a country has a rich history of food and cuisine that not only define the culture but also the historical aspect of the country. The most prominent cuisine of the Egyptian people is, always characterized with vegetables, fruits, and beans. The availability of water from Nile Valley and Delta Valley makes it easy produce foods such vegetables, legumes, and fruits. The foods are available in large quantities as locals can easily afford water for irrigation. Egyptian food has a rich history dating back in ancient times. Ancient archaeological elements of Egyptian history show that workers on the Great pyramids of Giza were actually paid wages in form of onions and bread. Bread holds a significant place in the Egyptian culture as it is seen as a source of life. Therefore, bread symbolizes life in Egypt the core reason workers viewed bread as their customary diet; to the extent of accepting it as a form of payment. 

Ancient Egyptian bread was, made from emmer wheat and flour. The recipes that constituted production of bread involved simple recipes easily available in the community. Bread is the leading Egyptian cuisine. Bread appears in all meals that Egyptians consumes on a daily basis. Both rural and urban Egyptian family maintains the same eating styles that encapsulate culture and history of Egypt. Their foods consist of mainly bread and beans among other foods as the main dish for a family.

Egyptians calls their local bread Eish Masri, defining the thick, glutinous pita kind of bread. Bread serves different purpose in the Egyptian cuisines, whereas it comes across as a staple food for Egyptians, bread also used as a utensil and the source of proteins and carbohydrates in the diet. Bread forms the backdrop, where Egyptians use dip up food, and even sauces, and scoops and wraps either kebab or falafel as a sandwich. The bread is, backed under high temperatures of most 232 degrees Celsius, which enables the dough to puff up and make delicious bread. 

Being a desert nation might dissuade other cultures from creating exciting or rich meals, but not so the Egyptians.  While the environment was dry and hot the majority of the year, it was during the annual flooding of the Nile that crops such as legumes, wheat, and barley.  Wheat was utilized for bread making, and the barley?  Why, beer of course!  Vegetables such as leeks, onions, and cabbage were grown during the flooding.  Ancient Egyptians also were known as being one of the first cultures to maintain livestock for the purpose of meat.  Wealthy Egyptians would enjoy meals of goat and beef regularly, while the poorer individuals would enjoy meat much more sparingly.  Egyptians also preserved and cured meats that could not be eaten quickly.  It was a cuisine borne from necessity and perfected through perseverance.

Today, many traditional meals such as Ful Medames date back to the time of the Pharaohs, a bean dish that was traditionally cooked slowly in a pot that had been buried in hot sand or coals.  Some dishes were inspired by more recent history, such as the national dish, Kushari.  Kushari is a chickpea, tomato, and lentil dish that was brought over by the British Army in the 19th century.  Sure, the 19th century might seem like a long time ago, but when you consider that Egypt has been around for over 5,000 years, the introduction of Kushari into the culture is relatively new.

Regardless of the meal you find, you would do well to brush up on your hieroglyphics, drink a beer, and honor the long standing greatness (both culturally and culinary) of Egypt. 

Egyptian Spices

Egyptian Spices

I. Insider "Foodage":

Egypt as a country has a rich history of food and cuisine that not only define the culture but also the historical aspect of the country. The most prominent cuisine of the Egyptian people is, always characterized with vegetables, fruits, and beans.

Country: Egypt

Continent: Africa

Capital: Cairo

Largest City(ies): Cairo, Alexandria, Giza, Subra al-Haymah, & Port Said

Culinary travel destination(s): Sinai, Siwa Oasis, Cairo, Luxor, 7 Aswan

Primary Language(s): Arabic, English, & French

% Urban vs. % Rural: 51% Egyptians live in rural areas, while 49% live in urban area. Poverty is associated with rural population compared to urban dwellers

Primary Agricultural Exports: Cotton, Rice & Wheat

Population: 85, 294, 388

The availability of water from Nile Valley and Delta Valley makes it easy to produce foods such vegetables, legumes, and fruits. The foods are available in large quantities as locals can easily afford water for irrigation.  Ancient archaeological elements of Egyptian history show that workers on the Great pyramids of Giza were actually paid wages in form of onions and bread. Bread holds a significant place in the Egyptian culture as it is, seen as a source of life. Therefore, bread symbolizes life in Egypt, the core reason workers viewed bread as their customary diet; to the extent of accepting it as a form of payment.

*Food expenditure for one week: A typical Egyptian family spends at least 70 US. dollars or 400 Egyptian pounds

*Caloric intake available daily per person: 3,160 above the expectations of the United Nations of 1,800 per person

*Alcohol consumption per person: On average, an Egyptian citizen can drink 0.20litres of pure alcohol per year.

*Obese population, male/female: 62.7% of Egyptian female are obese, while 27.9% of male Egyptians are obese

*Big Mac Price: Retails at 2.16 U.S. Dollars from McDonald

*Meat consumption per person per year: An average Egyptian eats at least 22.5 kilograms of meat per year

  Prevalence of Hunger: Very High (Via World Food Programme)

Shwarma 

Shwarma

II. Culture: 

National Dish(es): Legumes, vegetables, & fruit

National Drink(s): Barley Beer

Special Holiday Foods: Kushari, Ful Medames, Feseekh, Fatta, & Mulukhiya among others

Regional food differences: Affluent cities such as Cairo and Alexandria receive more food compared to rural areas such as Damietta, which receives at least 1.8 percept of food subsidy

Fun foodie facts: contemporary food in Egypt reflects cultural crossroads in the immense history of Egypt. Beer originated and invented in Egypt. Did you know that pyramid workers were paid in bread, onions, and beer as salary? Bread comes across as the main staple food of Egyptians made from emmer wheat and barley. 

 

***Facts and Figures Via Hungry Planet 

Hummus and Falafel

Hummus & Falafel



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