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Elayne Boosler

Elayne Boosler

Posted: April 1, 2007 05:21 PM

Worshipping Food


My brilliant colleagues Lizz Winstead and others have covered this topic head to toe, but sometimes you just have to weigh in anyway.


I've worshipped food my whole life, so it makes perfect sense to me to combine two of the most worshipped things in America: Jesus and chocolate. If we could only fit large breasts and/or some cash into the equation, you'd have the American trifecta of worship.


As many of the commenters noted, Catholics are upset about a chocolate Jesus when at mass they feed people the "body" and "blood" of Jesus. I always thought that sounded very 1939 Tarzan movie anyway. If it's respectful to eat the person you're supposed to be worshipping in order to become "part" of him, then let's take a page from Stranger in a Strange Land and make soup out of our loved ones and drink them so they are with us always. That I grok, so the chocolate Jesus makes sense to me. Serve the Lord ("It's a cookbook!") Isn't it in the spirit of Jesus? Loaves and fishes, so why is dessert blasphemy? People are upset because the chocolate Jesus had a penis. So is it the penis or the chocolate? Because in my opinion, a penis just means - yay! More chocolate!


The concept of communion first appeared in the texts of the Second Vatican Council, in the Church on earth. The church itself is a communion, "whose nature is such that it always admits new and deeper exploring". Not sure if we see much of that anymore. Since it is the "Mystery of the personal union of each human being with the divine Trinity and with the rest of mankind", couldn't chocolate be even more of a bonding tool? Within the teaching of the bible and the patristic tradition, communion always involves a double dimension: communion with god and communion among men (Three Musketeers bars anyone? Advent calendars? How about Valentine, Xmas, and Easter chocolate? Is there any food that exemplifies more communion?). Chocolate serves to enhance both. It boosts endorphins, it mimics what the body feels like when it's in love; it's the perfect tonic to put you in an open and receiving state. Why the resistance? Does Halliburton supply the wafers? Liquer chocolates for communion cover two birds with one stone not thrown first. Unless it's all about the suffering, in which case, "Death by Chocolate". Half the world is starving; the church could do a lot worse than feed it in the shape of the guy they're selling. It's the Flintstone Vitamins principle. How about Prozac in the shape of your parents? Lavender scented tax forms? Mortuaries already offer your favorite teams logo painted inside the lid of your coffin. I have Spongebob band-aids. It all makes everything just a little better.


Bar Mitzvah's are the holiest of rites, and they have all sorts of images made out of edibles; chopped liver swans, ice temples. No one would bat an eye if they showed up for the party and were faced with a camembert Moses leading a tribe of baked matzoh Jews (sesame, poppy, and onion) through a parted red sea of horseradish and radicchio. It would probably get applause. One platter of a brisket Cain and Abel fighting to the death in a field of baby greens and broccoli and that caterer would be booked through the next century. Throw in some macaroon horses and we're talking sainthood.


Commenters bring up a marshmallow Peeps Jesus. No, too rap group sounding, "Straight outta Compton, Peeps Jesus." This year a hardware store had a window display of gingerbread nazis surrounding gingerbread Jews. Not one person was upset about the Jews being made out of gingerbread, just the inappropriateness of the gingerbread nazis threatening some lovely baked goods who happened to be minding their own business. Anyway, the nazis should have been made out of German chocolate cake, or at least black forest cake. Then they could have claimed they were "Swiss". Gingerbread seems a little, well, ginger, for mass murderers.


As for the commenters who take the artist to task for not making a Muhammed out of pork, where is the logical connection there? Chocolate isn't something Jesus was forbidden, as far as we know. Gandhi out of beef, Muhammed out of pork, Moses out of ham, that's a different message. As for making those other religious leaders out of chocolate, well, there are more pictures and statues of Jesus throughout the world than there are currently zeroes in the deficit, so another interpretation does not seem that heinous to me. The others are never portrayed in art in any way, as the religions do not worship images, so you're twisting the artist's concept here. If he put a chocolate Muhammed in a New York window, most passersby would probably think it was a Disney promo for Aladdin. And just a wild guess, but a huge chocolate Buddha would probably have Buddhists smiling. If true believers find newly "holy" foods offensive to their religion, who paid thirteen thousand dollars on ebay for a grilled cheese sandwich with the "Virgin Mary's face" on it? How come nobody ever sees Moses in a reuben?

So many people have turned away from god, but America is a big fat nation, already worshipping food. Churches wish they could open at the rate of new restaurants. We have restaurant reviewers, millions of cookbooks sold, the Zagat guide where the people themselves can alert other people to food, food sections in the newspapers, food magazines, food vacations, food fairs, specialty supermarkets, and a whole 24-hour tv Food Channel. People actually call themselves Foodies! When was the last time religion had that kind of a run? Don't let this opportunity get away-take the food worship and jump on. And if there's any way to let the congregation vote on the choir, you've got em for life.