Growing up, I attended an afternoon and weekend morning Hebrew school, typically 3 days a week. We learned all about various areas of Jewish religion and culture, not the least of which was the Bible. In younger years, we learned simplified (but hopefully not critically altered) versions of key Bible stories, and we discussed some pieces to which we will relate.
One such story from the book of Exodus was the Israelites eating manna in the desert. From the learning that manna tasted like “the best food มานาประจําวัน you can imagine,” which devolved into manna tasting like “whatever you are interested to.” I distinctly remember a question being asked of my class: “What do you consider manna tastes like?” Several predictable answers came out: cake, candy, cookies, quail (in reference to some other divine food source in the desert.) I think my answer was pizza.
Now we all know a lot more accurately what manna is and what really tastes like. Manna is typically based on dried plant sap processed by insects, or perhaps a “honydew” that’s expelled by the bugs who eat the sap (think the foundation of honey, nothing worse.)
Along with its source, manna also has distinctive flavors. They aren’t tomato sauce and cheese. Such as for instance a fine whiskey or wine, manna has subtle notes and variations. In reality, there are many types of manna, some that are now used in cooking. New York Times Food writer David Arnold says that Hedysarum manna’s flavor is reminiscent of “maple syrup, brown sugar, blackstrap molasses, honey, and nuts.” Shir-khesht manna contains mannitol (a sugar alcohol that’s the cooling effect of menthol without the mint flavor) and also has “notes of honey and herb, and a light little bit of citrus peel.”