By Don “Doc” Sanders
One of my veterinary colleagues always signs off his emails with “Healthy cows through better nutrition.” I agree with his motto. And I believe we all should apply it to ourselves — not just our cows.
We humans have a variety of nutrition plans to choose from, such as the South Beach, Mayo Clinic, Flexitarian, Low Glycemic, DASH, Arthritis and Mediterranean diets, to name a few. And, of course, there is my Oreo diet (preferably double stuffed).
Most of you know, or ignore, that Americans have gradually become obese because of our sedentary lifestyle and love for fast food, sodas, ice cream and other sugary snacks. This behavior has attracted entrepreneurial diet companies like ants to a picnic — Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Medifast, Atkins and Nutrisystem.
Now there is a new dietary fad just starting in Washington, DC., in a restaurant, that recently opened at the Museum of the Bible. According to an article by Dan Murphy in the beef production publication Drovers (https://www.drovers.com/article/dan-murphy-diet-thats-just-heavenly), the husband-and-wife restaurant owners want to recreate the divinely provided food you may remember that was described in the Bible, and for which they named their restaurant, Manna.
You can read in Exodus, the second book of the Bible and the Jewish Torah, how manna saved the Israelites from starving in the desert after they fled Egypt. Before fleeing, the Israelites had become slaves to the Egyptians. The Pharaoh (king) felt threatened by the Israelites’ increasing population (they reproduced like rabbits), so he made them slave laborers.
Under backbreaking conditions, the Israelites made bricks for palace construction projects and performed other menial tasks under the mean-spirited direction of the Pharaoh and his foremen. The Israelites were desperate to escape these harsh conditions, so on their behalf, Moses attempted a number of times to negotiate with the Pharaoh, who just blew him off.
But after Yahweh (Jewish name for God) performed a number of miracles and inflicted the Egyptians with 10 plagues (from turning water into blood to deaths of their firstborn), Moses and the Israelites (all 643,000 of them) escaped, with the Egyptians on their heels. They made it out, thanks to God parting the Red Sea so they could safely cross. And the pursuing Egyptian army and horses drowned as the waters closed in on them once the Israelites were safe on the other side.
But once free, the Israelites found themselves in the desert and started grumbling about being hungry. They complained bitterly to Moses for leading them into the desert only to die of starvation. Many of them were ready to go back to Egypt, even though that would mean returning to slavery.
Again, Yahweh came through for them. Manna appeared each morning thereafter, so the Israelites would get their carbs. And after a lot of carping by the Israelites, He provided them doves to eat with it.
Just what is manna? Is there such a thing? I am pretty certain the manna in the Old Testament accounts wasn’t supplied by a Washington, D.C. eatery and that you couldn’t order it off a papyrus menu.
Instead, the manna appeared on the ground, every day before dawn. From heaven, the Israelites believed. Apparently, it tasted like coriander seed wafers, faintly flavored with honey.
It had to be scooped from the ground before the sun came up, as it quickly melted away. But they could pick up only what they could eat that day, because it would spoil if kept longer. Except in preparation for their holy day, Saturday, they could pick up two days’ worth.
Scholars report that even today little icy, berry-like droplets appear in the desert early in the morning after a cold night. Scholars believe this might be what was referred to as manna in the Bible. When the sun comes up, it doesn’t take long for these droplets to disappear.
The Israelites, as they often did, complained again, this time about having to eat the same thing day after day. Personally, I can’t imagine eating doves and manna for the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the desert.
I think the Manna restaurant should plan on pressing its manna into the shape of a frozen doughnut so customers can dunk it in their coffee. I hope Kroger doesn’t read my commentary. They might very well develop a method to package manna, perhaps with pigeon fillets and drum sticks in a quick pack. I could see myself getting in trouble bellyaching to my wife, Kris, “Not manna and pigeon again!”