Welcome back to Dining through Time, for our second trip around the World! This time, we are eating seasonally for select regions around the world, focusing on pre-1492 c.e. trade routes. This week, we’re starting with Region 1 – Northern Africa, specifically, Ancient Egypt.
We have talked about Ancient Egypt before, focusing on different classes and time periods. This time, we kept things simple. We wanted to think more on what would be a reasonable expectation on dishes and the ingredients used. This meant focusing on crops that would be an autumn harvest, in the Northern Hemisphere, which would have been accessible to the Ancient Egyptians.
This gave us access to some of our favorite ingredients: Barley, Lentils, Carrots and Onion – With a newcomer, Ostrich.
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt
Ostriches, in Ancient Egypt, were domesticated for food and ceremonial goods. From Archaeological records, we can find evidence of them being brought or hunted from as early as the prehistoric.
Ostriches were not seen as being sacred, but had a critical role in Egyptian culture, to provide food, ceremonial goods (feathers for fans, headdresses, amulets) and domestic goods (Eggs were used as containers and things like baby feeders).
September in Ancient Egypt
September in Ancient Egypt was the end of the harvest season, known as Shemu, was the end of their year, also known as “Low Water”. This correlated to when the nile receded and farming was ending, running from May through early September. The month of September was known as “Mesori”, which is tied to the Birth of Ra. It led to the “New Year” for their culture, being seen as the season of rebirth.
4 out of 5 stars
I loved this recipe! The dish was so easy to make, with the curveball of Ostrich. My only issue with it, may be a bit weird – I thought it looked bland. It’s very beige. This would have been heavily complemented with something like collard greens. Next time we make this, I definitely want to do it and pair it with one of the breads like Emmer Flatbreads.
4 out of 5 stars
New set of adventures in food and a new recipe. And I just have to say, we started off strong with this one! It all smelled amazing when it was being cooked and all the flavours complemented each other so well. But the one part of the meal that I was the most worried about was the ostrich. I had never had it before and was a little afraid it was going to be like the kangaroo – smelled bad and was ok in taste. But the ostrich was amazing! The flavour surprised me the most, for me it tasted like a mixture between beef and venison (and they say everything tastes like chicken). All in all, what really made the recipe for me was the fennel. Every so often you would get a fennel seed in a bite and when it “popped” in your mouth, it really helped to tie all the flavours together. I would give it a 4 out of 5 running ostriches, and that is only because some bites where a little more plain than would have been desirable.