· By Mitchell Sweeting
Manna All Started With Matzo Ball Soup
I'm 32, from NYC and I grew up with the impossible choice of Katz vs. 2nd Ave Deli. I eat bagels more often than I should; they're a crucial part of my self-care ritual. I love to take a solo Sunday walk to Prospect Park and chow down on an everything bagel loaded with lox, scallion cream cheese, tomatoes and onions. In fact, that's exactly how my business started...
I'm the Co-Founder of Manna Cooking, a new recipe and grocery shopping app. Manna is about making food easier, no matter your desire, lifestyle or dietary needs. It's a platform where home cooks, chefs and creators can customize recipes, share food and shop for ingredients – all in one place.
I started this business with my brother Josh Abady (CEO) and our best friend Guy Greenstein (CTO), sitting in Prospect Park, thinking about ways to make food – an essential, universal, yet distinctly personal part of daily life – easier and more accessible. Josh and Guy both have severe dietary restrictions and nothing out there serves their needs. Plus, recipes always felt intimidating and prescriptive to me. I wanted to start cooking my own food with agency and flexibility. We started this company to provide accessible, customizable & shoppable recipes and to connect people through food.
As I started to teach myself to cook, I kept craving a very specific Jewish comfort of my childhood: matzah ball soup. I have always loved soup. In middle school, I would force ask my mom to read my school books aloud while I ate matzah ball soup straight from the pot. Sometimes with a ladle, sometimes a spoon. Always on the couch and always from a box Manischewitz Matzo Ball & Soup Mix (Streit's is also top notch).
My first-ever recipe for Manna – Rotisserie Chicken Matzah Ball Soup – holds the spirit of what we’re trying to do: You get the ineffable nostalgic flavor from the box mix paired with the convenience of shredded rotisserie chicken and easy veggies to soak up all the brothy goodness.
I also strongly believe in eating holiday foods year round. I love a latke in July and turkey with cranberry sauce in April. If a recipe doesn’t work for you, make a copy and put your own spin on it. The beauty of having a digital sandbox to discover and experiment with food means anyone (with an iPhone, Android soon!) can use it.
Go enjoy your matzah ball soup.