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This scene from Shri Krishna shows the family eating food.

It looks like today's Indian food, i.e. Rice, Roti, Sabzi.

What food did they eat during Lord Krishna's time?

enter image description here

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  • During Krishna Yug they used to eat the same food as of ours. Basically they used Ghee more than oil. Fruits, all green and leafy Vegetables, roots. Roots where used most because during fasting boiled roots gives most energy to starve. Milk products like Ghee, butter, buttermilk etc. where used most.
    – user10237
    Jun 23, 2017 at 12:38
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    This is a question about culture and history not religion.
    – user1195
    Jun 23, 2017 at 13:26
  • Foods and Drinks in Ancient India (1961) by Dr. Om Prakash. You can refer to this publication where the author has chronologically listed all food items from the most ancient times in India upto medievel times, with references from scriptures at every point. Nov 6, 2021 at 9:20

3 Answers 3

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What food did they eat during Lord Krishna's time?

I am trying to answer your question not from Mahabharata itself , but a description of food items given in puranas.

We get a little idea about the food items people were preparing at the time of Krishna OR Mahabharata from description given in Shreemad Bhagavata Purana -

There is a story in Bhagavata Purana about Krishna lifting Govardhana parvata .In that chapter, we find below shloka/verse where Shree Krishna asks His father, Nanda and other senior residents of Vraja to perform sacrifice for the pleasure of the cows, the brāhmaṇas and Govardhana Hill.

पच्यन्तां विविधाः पाकाः सूपान्ताः पायसादयः
संयावापूप-शष्कुल्यः सर्व-दोहश् च गृह्यताम्

pacyantāṁ vividhāḥ pākāḥ sūpāntāḥ pāyasādayaḥ
saṁyāvāpūpa-śaṣkulyaḥ sarva-dohaś ca gṛhyatām

Let many different kinds of food be cooked, from sweet rice to vegetable soups! Many kinds of fancy cakes, both baked and fried, should be prepared. And all the available milk products should be taken for this sacrifice. SB 10.24.26


Purport: - The word sūpa indicates bean broth and also liquid vegetables. Thus to celebrate the Govardhana-pūjā, Lord Kṛṣṇa called for hot preparations such as soup, cold preparations like sweet rice, and all types of milk products.

Another translation from Gita Press version also mentions Dal (is an Indian dish made from pulses such as chick peas or lentils ).

Many kinds of cakes, both baked and fried could also include chapatis , Parathas etc. as shown in the videos provided by you.

Further the Purana also mentions items like curd rice and honey which Krishna and his friends used to eat during their child-hood.

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  • While the dishes are similar many of the vegetables, fruits, pulses and grains that we use now were not available in the past. Jul 12, 2017 at 19:42
  • Yes , Certainly ,Some vegetable , fruits , spicies and are later introduced by foreigners. Also some Vegetables were hybridized ,and now ate in different form.But I think pulses and grains are almost similar. Jul 13, 2017 at 6:09
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As you know Lord Krishna already mentioned in Bhgwat Geeta about food

  1. Saatvic Bhojan
  2. Raajsic Bhojan
  3. Tamsic Bhojan

Saatvic Bhojan

“Foods dear to those in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one’s existence, and give strength, health, happiness, and satisfaction.” The Gita says that such foods are “wholesome and pleasing to the heart.” [Reference: Bhagavad Gita 17.8] What more could one ask?

Raajsic Bhojan

“Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, hot, pungent, dry and burning are dear to those in the mode of passion. Such foods cause distress, misery and disease.” [Reference: Bhagavad Gita 17.9]

Tamsic Bhojan

“Food prepared more than three hours before being eaten, food that is tasteless, decomposed and putrid, and food consisting of remnants and untouchable things is dear to those in the mode of darkness.”

Here you can read

“The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.” (Bg.3.13)

The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [or outcaste].” (Bg.5.18) Thus, a wise person recognizes the value of life, the soul, within all species of living beings. Because he recognizes the soul in all bodies, he does not cause any cruelty to them. Cruelty or suffering inflicted on any living being will certainly cause harm to ourselves and regression in our own development, spiritual or otherwise. Compassion and kindness to all beings is how we make spiritual progress. Is there anything that is really more important that this? As Lord Krishna explains:

One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement with Me—he is very dear to Me.” (Bg.12.13-14)

The inference that can be made is that whatever kind of food was mentioned in the Gita, is the type of food that was prevalent during Krishna's time.

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  • -1 This inference is wrong. Krishna didn't say anything in Gita from his personal experience. What he said is universal truth. It doesn't change with time. Classification of food is generic one and applies to all times and he didn't mention specific foods.
    – The Destroyer
    Jun 25, 2017 at 14:21
  • @TheDestroyer Better read Gita one more time Where God mentioned about Category of food
    – subodh
    Jun 26, 2017 at 4:57
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    See, you misinterpreted it. Krishna mentions classification which is true for all times. But question is about specific foods available during Krishna time not about classification of those specific foods.
    – The Destroyer
    Jun 26, 2017 at 5:12
  • @TheDestroyer Now agree with your comment
    – subodh
    Jun 26, 2017 at 5:13
  • @KeshavSrinivasan How is it known that the food mentioned in the Bhagaad Gita is from Krishna's times? If that is true, whole Bhagavad Gita should be applicable to Krishna's time only. But it is applicable even today. Jul 10, 2017 at 9:21
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We can't know for sure what was eaten, but we do know many foods that were not available until relatively recently.

For instance, New World crops - Wikipedia lists the following crops that are native to the Americas and unknown elsewhere until the 16th century:

Type Plants
Cereal little barley, maize, maygrass, wild rice
Pseudocereal amaranth, chia, knotweed, goosefoot, quinoa, sunflower, sumpweed
Fruit açaí, acerola, avocado, American blueberry, cashew apple, chayote, cherimoya, American cranberry, curuba, custard apple, Virginia strawberry, feijoa, fox grape, guava, huckleberry, jabuticaba, jerivá, jurubeba, macaúba, naranjilla, papaya, pawpaw, passionfruit, peppers, American persimmon, pineapple, pitanga, pitaya, prickly pear, soursop, squashes and pumpkins, sugar-apple, tamarillo, tomato, tomatillo, tucum
Nuts American chestnut, Araucaria, black walnut, Brazil nut, cashew, hickory, pecan, shagbark hickory
Seed not from old world achiote, guaraná, cocoa bean, common bean, lima bean, peanut, scarlet runner bean, tepary bean, vanilla
Root arracacha, arrowroot, jicama, camas root, canna, cassava, hopniss, leren, mashua, oca, potato, sweet potato, ulluco, yacón, sunroot
Leaf agave, coca, tobacco, yerba mate, yucca
Fluid balsam of Peru, chicle, maple syrup, rubber
Wood logwood
Boll some cotton species

In particular, notice that the list includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, squashes, and beans.

The same article reports (emphasis added):

Food historian Lois Ellen Frank calls potatoes, tomatoes, corn, beans, squash, chili, cacao, and vanilla the "magic eight" ingredients that were found and used only in the Americas before 1492 and were taken via the Columbian Exchange back to the Old World, dramatically transforming the cuisine there. According to Frank,

If we deconstruct that these foods were inherently native, then that means that the Italians didn't have the tomato, the Irish didn't have the potato, half the British National Dish—Fish and Chips—didn't exist. The Russians didn't have the potato, nor did they have vodka from the potato. There were no chiles in any Asian cuisine anywhere in the world, nor were there any chiles in any East Indian cuisine dishes, including curries. And the French had no confection using either vanilla or chocolate. So the Old World was a completely different place.

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  • Welcome to Hinduism SE! Sources produced are not authentic. Please refer How do I write a good answer? to learn more,
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Nov 8, 2021 at 11:25
  • @TheLittleNaruto, I'm confused. What specifically in the link you provided applies to this answer? Are you saying that the facts it presents aren't true? Nov 8, 2021 at 13:41
  • read this meta answer: hinduism.meta.stackexchange.com/a/816/647
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Nov 9, 2021 at 1:30
  • @TheLittleNaruto, I know Wikipedia isn't reliable in general, but this is hardly a controversial topic. No one disputes that tomatoes etc. originated in the Americas. Wikipedia credits the above data to Jared Mason Diamond, an American geographer and historian who has published many science books, which is about as reliable source as there is. It's extremely unlikely that one could find an ancient Sanskrit document talking about events in the 16th century. Nov 9, 2021 at 1:55

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