83. Egyptian Dinners

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
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The ancient Egyptians had the beasts they desired for food slaughtered in the courtyard of the dwelling. While the monuments give representations of poulterers’ shops, they do not show any shops for the sale of butchers’ meat, but represent the slaying, in private houses, of quadrupeds intended for food. The cause of this is not positively known. As poultry, fish, and vegetables formed the principal food of the people, it may be that there was not sufficient demand for the flesh of beasts to warrant the establishing of butcher-shops, such flesh perhaps being reserved for great feasts. The slaughter of animals for the table is a common subject of representation on these monuments. The four legs of the animal were tied together, and it was then thrown to the ground. Here it was held by assistants while the butcher cut the throat from ear to ear. The blood was caught in vessels, and set aside for food. The animal was then flayed, and dressed, and cut into pieces, which were carried in trays to the kitchen, where the cook immediately began to get them ready for the table. In this text we find Joseph issuing his orders to “slay and make ready” for the noon-dinner; so that not much time elapsed between the slaughter of the victims and their appearance on the tables ready for eating. See also 1 Samuel 28:2424And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof: (1 Samuel 28:24).