Category: Ancient Egyptian Party (Page 2 of 3)

Menu for Ancient Egyptian party

This post might be better suited for my Food Blog BUT I figured I’d included here for anyone who is searching for ideas of what to serve at an Ancient Egyptian party.
While we know in general what the Ancient Egyptians ate (a lot of bread and beer, complemented with the vegetables they could grow in their gardens – onions were very popular – as well as the fish they could get from the Nile and the birds they could hunt), we don’t really have much in the way of recipes, and it’s not necessarily easy (or practical) to get their staples here. For example, where would I find a tiger nut?
The following menu for my kids slumber party is as authentic as I could get it to be. I’m basing some of the ingredients on what has been available in Egypt from Coptic times on.
Snack: Baby carrots, cucumber slices, celery and pita bread with hummus and babaganoush. Grapes and watermelon, if I find it.
Dinner: Chicken kebabs, with cucumber-yogurt salad
Breakfast: Egyptian pancakes* with honey & walnuts and eggs a la carte
Lunch: Pizza (I know, I know, but that’s what Mika wanted) and same things as snacks
Cake: Homemade, with light brown frosting (to look like sand), decorated with these Ancient Egyptian figurines
I had wanted to make a pyramid cake, but my trial efforts at it were pathetic. I hope this cake will turn out (I’m planning on using mix and store-bought frosting) and won’t look too bad.

* I don’t know if the Ancient Egyptians ate pancakes or feteer, but when I lived in Egypt there were several shops (specially one in Khan el Khalili) serving them – they were delicious. Given the simplicity of the recipes, I would imagine they are very old. I’ll give them a trial run tomorrow, to see if they come out. If not I’m not sure what I’ll do. I have a recipe for ataif, arab pancakes which date to medieval times, but it looks even harder.

Fun with Hieroglyphs Stamp Kit

Fun with Hieroglyphs Stamp KitI got the Fun with Hieroglyphs Stamp Kit many years ago, at the same time I got the Fun with Egyptian Amulets kit, both at the British Museum store at Heathrow. I gave it to my sister, who apparently had no interest in it as she didn’t even open it. This Christmas she gave it to Mika as a present.
The kit is pretty cool, I was surprised that the ink was not dried after so many years. The images are not perfectly clear (specially using their ink), but they are understandable enough. Pretty much the whole basic alphabet is included, though I would have liked other common stamps as well (the ones of a man and a woman and the ankh one, for example). Still, it’s quite nice.
My biggest complain is with the sounds they assign to some hieroglyphs, in particular to the bowels. I did not like arguing with Mika about how the vulture hieroglyph, equivalent to a glottal stop, is transliterated as an “a” and not an “e” or “o” – and that we should probably use the chick hieroglyph (a “w”) to render “o”.
For some reason they assign the sound “th” (as in thin) to the animal belly and “th” (as in “the”) to the placenta, but those have been usually understood to be hard “h” sounds (as in the German “ich”). Now their assigment may be because, as far as I know, there are not “th” sounds in ancient Egyptian – but really, why not just convert them into “s” and “d” – as those of us who are native Spanish speakers do before we learn the correct pronunciation of these sounds?
Of course, perhaps my knowledge of Middle Egyptian sounds is out of date, but I don’t think that’s the case.
The booklet that comes with the kit has some interesting information and activities, but I think they are beyond my 8 year old, at least she hasn’t seem interested in them.
This kit is out of print right now, but you still can find them through Amazon.com sellers, starting at $7 including shipping – a bargain, as I’m sure I paid much more than that. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has issued a new Fun with Hieroglyphs kit which seems very similar to the one we have. If you order either used, make sure it comes with the stamps and it’s not just the booklet, though.
As a final note I should say that while the booklet provides information about basic information about hieroglyphs, it does not teach how to read more than a few Egyptian words. So don’t buy the kit hoping to learn ancient Egyptian. If you buy it, just buy it for fun.
As for us, Mika used the stamp kit to stamp paper bags (which we’ll use as goody bags) with the names of her friends. We will also use them for the kids to make bookmarks (with the papyrus paper I bought) – though I would like to get more colorful ink, as the black ink is quite boring. All in all, I think it’s a fun kit and I’m glad we have it.
hierostampnames.jpg
Mika & Camila’s name written in hieroglyphs. The color in the picture is somewhat off – the top row should be black.

Stories from Ancient Egypt book review (sort of)

egyptstories.jpgI got this Stories from Ancient Egypt book at the British Museum a number of years ago, and while we read a couple of the stories a year or two ago, Mika is only now (at almost 8 yo) getting really into it. She’s enjoying the stories, though not immensely. Even though they are not very long, she sort of grows bored with them by the middle.
I think the problem is twofold. The main one is that they are not told in the most interesting manner. The author, Joyce A. Tyldesley, is an Egyptologist – and while she has penned many pop-books on Ancient Egyptian subjects, writing for children requires different skills. The language, in particular, is sort of dry. The other problem is that, IMHO, Ancient Egyptian literature is not particularly compelling. As a student, I particularly enjoyed the Tale of the Two Brothers, in particular for its similarities with the much later story of Joseph from the Bible. I also liked the intriguing harem conspiracy, but looking through my Lichtheim books, I can’t find it – so I’m not sure where I read it. But really, most stories are not that great.
That said, I’m glad I have one book of Ancient Egyptian stories to tell my daughter (I’m sure she would not enjoy my reading directly from Lichtheim). One word of warning, while the stories are dumb down for the kids, and sexual contents are cleaned up, there is a still a fair amount of violence to this book. The book includes its version of the book of the heavenly cow (or the “holy cow”, as my friend Lola and I liked to call it), in which the goddess Hathor grows bloodthirsty and kills a large part of mankind. That may be a bit too scary for younger kids.
As an aside, I’m planning to get the book Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green (who’s written a bunch of children version of ancient stories/myths). The book is just $5 on Amazon and it gets pretty good reviews – plus it has some stories not present in the book I have.

Exploring Ancient Egypt Fun Kit – Review

Exploring Ancient Egypt Fun Kit
I got the Exploring Ancient Egypt Fun Kit for Mika’s birthday party, and while I haven’t used it yet, I’m pretty happy with the purchase. The kit is a very good value. It comes with two coloring books (King Tut Coloring Book, 32 pages and Life in Ancient Egypt Coloring Book, 48 pages). The books have very complex drawings, with a lot of detail, which may be too challenging for kids aged like mine (5 and 8) – but I think would be great for older kids and adults who like to color. Each scene has an explanation underneath it. Each book retails for $4 – so it’d be $8 for both of them.
The kit also comes with 3 sticker booklets (Shiny King Tut Treasure Stickers, about 10 stickers, King Tut: With 44 Stickers, which is actually a “dress King Tut” set and Egyptian Life Stickers, which I think also has 10 stickers), one booklet of stencils
(about 10) and one of tattoos
(id). Each of these booklets is a little bit smaller than 4″ x 6″. They cost $1.50 each – so just the coloring books and the booklets would be $14 together – the kit is $11.50 by itself.
The kit also comes with three colorful Egyptian masks: Nefertiti, Tutankhamon and some animal, a small poster of Tuthankamon and 4 stained glass coloring sheets.
So in all, if you want all this stuff, it’s a good deal. The jury is still out on how good the stickers, tattoos and stencils are.

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