Manna was a supernatural food given to the Israelites during their 40-year trek through the desert. It brings up images of divine bread and even Jesus’ miracle with the loaves and fishes. In the Bible it’s called the “Bread of Heaven,” “Angel’s Food,” and “Spiritual Meat.”
The World’s First Instant Meals
When the Jews set out from Egypt, they very quickly ran out of food. God sent a magical dew to the desert floor and when it evaporated, it left a flaky substance on the ground (resembling frost).
The raw manna tasted like water made with honey. The Israelites ground these flakes with hand mills. They boiled the manna in pots to create flat cakes, which tasted like pasties baked with olive oil.
The manna continued to appear on the ground each morning (except Sabbath, where they collected a double portion the day before). The Jews consumed this angelic food for 40 years until they crossed the border of Canaan. Once returned to the promised land, the divine foodstuffs vanished forever.
Constant Whining for Better Food
Eating the same thing day after day can get monotonous. Soon, people pined for the tastes and textures of food back in Egypt — yearning for cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. They also wanted to nosh on some fresh meat.
God compiled and sent an enormous flock of quail along with the manna. The people greedily collected days worth of quail. This so angered God, that he struck the Israelites with a plague.
The First Superfood
As a divine food, manna was made up of only nutritious matter. The body absorbed every morsel and the Israelites expelled no waste. Additionally, manna had a fragrant smell that women would use as a perfume.
The Jewish people had only four hours to collect the manna before it melted under the scorching desert sun. The melted manna created streams, giving sustenance to deer and other wildlife. Should a foreigner eat an animal who drank of these streams, they would taste the divine food. Otherwise, tradition states, that manna tasted bitter to gentiles.