Egyptian cuisine goes back 5000 years to the time of the pharaohs. The pyramid builders survived on a diet of onions, garlic, coarse bread and beer. Beer is now out of the picture, but those other basic ingredients, supplemented by tomatoes, okra, eggplant, favas, lentils, pasta and rice, still form the foundation of Egyptian food today. Meat has always been spare for Egyptians, given the small sliver of grazable land either side of the Nile. But dairy cattle provide a variety of farmer-style cheeses, and dishes using domesticated pigeon are favorites.