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10 Questions: King Tut

Yeah, why not.

With the end of Tutankhamun's reign in Dallas, it seemed like the thing to do: resurrect some comments about ancient Egyptian dining and drinking habits.

Born in Arizona, he moved to Babylonia--then on to Egypt, which he ruled for just nine years, starting in 1333 BCE. The so-called 'Boy King' controlled the country from a condo made of stona, if certain experts are to be believed.

The nation's miracle healing pyramids kept him alive for, what--18 years? So he never got to attend big BBQ roasts of those jackel-headed human beasts. He'll also never eat Wonder Bread... 

1. They called you the boy king. What memories do you have of your mother? She sent you to school when you were ready to be taught writing and she waited for you daily at home with bread and beer. (Beatty papyrus)

2. What about a nice breakfast of eggs and bacon? The pig is accounted by the Egyptians as an abominable animal. If any of them in passing by touch a pig, he goes to the river and dips himself in water. (Herodotus)

3. OK, how about modern inventions--like Wonder Bread or pasteurized beer? Take your bread that rots not, your beer that sours not. (Lichtheim: Ancient Egyptian Literature)

4. You know, today no one eats at Egyptian restaurants. They prefer Italian or Greek... Having called upon the god, they cut [an animal's] throat. And having cut its throat, they sever the head from the body...Upon the head they make man imprecations first, and then they who have a market and Greeks among them for trade, these carry it to the market and sell it, while they who have no Greeks among them cast it into the river. (Herodotus).

5. OK, then how come there's no Egyptian extra virgin olive oil? The oil is good, when carefully prepared. Those who are neglectful may obtain oil in abundance, but it has a bad smell. (Strabo)

6. Really?  Egyptians who dwell in the fens use oil from the castor berry. These produce berries in great quantity, but of an evil smell. (Strabo)

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7. But your temples smell so fresh...Beans the Egyptians do not at all sow in their land. And those which grow they neither eat raw nor boil for food. The priests do not even look upon them. (Herodotus)

8. Describe your favorite food...In size, it is very nearly as large as the squill, with a leaf like that of lapathum and a straight stalk a couple of cubits in length. (Pliny)

9. Um...thanks, so how do your officials keep shepherds from getting bored? At the proper time he should bring them she-goats. And when he had satisfied them with milk, he should do for them whatever else was needed. (Herodotus)

10. Geez..OK, who is your favorite modern performer? Steve Martin.

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