Growing up, I attended a day and weekend morning Hebrew school, typically 3 days a week. We learned about various facets of Jewish religion and culture, not the smallest amount of 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 could relate.
One particular story from the book of Exodus was the Israelites eating manna in the desert. I remember learning that manna tasted like “the maximum food มานาประจําวัน imaginable,” which devolved into manna tasting like “whatever you want it to.” I distinctly remember a question being asked of my class: “What you think manna tastes like?” Numerous predictable answers came up: cake, candy, cookies, quail (in reference to some other divine food source in the desert.) I believe my answer was pizza.
Now we know a lot more accurately what manna is and what really tastes like. Manna is normally based on dried plant sap processed by insects, or even a “honydew” that is expelled by the bugs who eat the sap (think the origin of honey, nothing worse.)
Along with its source, manna also offers distinctive flavors. They aren’t tomato sauce and cheese. Like a fine whiskey or wine, manna has subtle notes and variations. In reality, there are lots of forms of manna, some which are increasingly being utilized 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 aftereffect of menthol minus the mint flavor) and also offers “notes of honey and herb, and a faint little citrus peel.”