Food availability was a complaint of B’nei Yisrael when traveling
through the desert. “We remember the fish that we ate in
Egypt free of charge; the cucumbers and the melons (Rashi: watermelons), the leeks, the onions, and the garlic” (Bamidbar
11:5). Interestingly, thousands of years later, Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura (i.e., the “Jewish Marco Polo”) arrived in Cairo and
noted, “The only inexpensive foods I saw in Cairo were fish from
the Nile, onions, leeks, cucumbers, melons, and vegetables” .
Apparently, the Egyptian agricultural economy remained stagnant
from when B’nei Yisroel was enslaved in Egypt to Bartenura’s visit
Babich, H. (2012-2013). Small fish, watermelon, cucumber, leek,onion, and garlic. Derech HaTeva, 17, 49-53.
*This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise.