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Oct 03 2013

The wicked part of this burger is…?

badburger

A burger joint in Chicago is slapping a communion wafer on a burger to honor some heavy metal band from Sweden. I say, “meh” — it’s a flavorless garnish that is just going to add a bit more starch to a meal that’s heavy in fats. But of course some Catholics are annoyed.

Tobias said Kuma’s phones have been ringing off the hook, with some saying that putting a Communion host on a burger is like waving the American flag over a fire.

Jeffrey Young, who runs a podcast and blog called "Catholic Foodie," called the Ghost burger "crass and offensive."

"For us, as Catholics, the Eucharist is the body and blood and soul of divinity itself," said Young. "Although the Communion wafer is not a consecrated host, it’s still symbolic, and symbols are important."

Errm, waving an American flag over a fire is legal. You can also set it on fire, or pee on it, anything you want, as long as you don’t compromise public safety — so that’s kind of a pointless complaint.

“Crass and offensive” is in the eye of the beholder. I find Catholicism itself crass and offensive — well, actually, I find that of all religions — but guess what? Being crass and offensive is also OK.

Worse than crass and offensive, I consider this nonsense about magic divinity to be stupid. But again, as long as you’re not harming anyone, you’re allowed to be stupid.

So why is this news? I don’t know.

Oh, wait, I know. Because serving up big greasy slabs of cow, rather than a bit of cardboard-flavored styrofoam, harms the environment and is ethically suspect? That’s the only part of that meal I’d consider a newsworthy source of argument.

48 comments

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  1. 1
    Atticus Dogsbody

    Unless that wafer has been blessed in the appropriate manner it is not the body of Christ, it’s just a wafer. These moronic Catholics don’t even understand their own faith. I’m glad I got out those 24 faithless years ago.

  2. 2
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Atticus, #1:

    Nope. They understand it’s not holy:

    “Although the Communion wafer is not a consecrated host, it’s still symbolic, and symbols are important.”

    But you see, it’s **potentially** holy. Supporting the eating of this wafer would be like supporting the abortion of a potential body of Christ. Of course they’re against it.

    They’re only *for* it’s gruesome, cannibalistic destruction when it has come to full jesus-life.

    Perfectly consistent: potential is inviolate. Living beings? Not so much.

  3. 3
    tashaturner

    It looks gross. Even I, a never practicing catholic, knows the wafer is not the bones of j until it’s gone through a magic process. Is the burger joint getting properly blessed wafers?

    But this is inline with lots of what’s been showing up on my Facebook wall during the shutdown where people can’t figure out the difference between the government paying for birth control if someone wants it & it forcing Catholics to use birth control.

  4. 4
    Inaji

    PZ:

    Oh, wait, I know. Because serving up big greasy slabs of cow, rather than a bit of cardboard-flavored styrofoam, harms the environment and is ethically suspect? That’s the only part of that meal I’d consider a newsworthy source of argument.

    Agreed. Looking at that photo makes me feel queasy, and it has nothing to do with the communion host.

  5. 5
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Gee, how can a non-recently consecrated cracker be anything other than a cracker? The delusions of True Believers™ are legendary.

  6. 6
    Kurt Doles

    I have been to Kuma’s, and that might be one of the least Satanic burgers they have on the menu. Their “Mastodon” and “Lair of the Minotaur” should be in the goddamned Smithsonian.

  7. 7
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    “Although the Communion wafer is not a consecrated host, it’s still symbolic, and symbols are important.”

    In this case, I guess the symbolic message is, “Catholicism is a tasteless, mass-produced product willing to sell itself to anybody for the right price.”

  8. 8
    AJ Milne

    I swear I felt discomfort in my left side just looking at that thing.

    (No, I don’t have a heart condition… So far as I know. Or didn’t before viewing the image.)

    Red wine reduction and ghost chili aioli, tho’? I is intrigued. Ditch the styrofoam Jesus disk and the slab o’ melted cheddar (old cheddar is good, but seems a bit much, here, and generally, I prefer mine not melted), swap in something a little less terrifying for the scary pile o’ greasy ground beef, I might sign up.

  9. 9
    carlie

    There are at least a billion people who would have more religious problems with the burger than the wafer, right?

  10. 10
    Acolyte of Sagan

    slab o’ melted cheddar

    Thank you, AJ Milne; I was just going to ask what that thing looking like a cellophane bag full of pus really was.

  11. 11
    throwaway

    Who is this unpatriotic jerkwad?! We need to find him so that we can chastise him well and good!

  12. 12
    throwaway

    From the article:

    Luke Tobias, director of operations for Kuma’s, said the restaurant’s Communion wafers are not consecrated, and thus, not really holy.

    Not even consecrated crackers are holy. There’s no such thing in reality as consecrations or holiness.

  13. 13
    Endorkened

    My gyroscopic steam-driven colonial oppression monocle is fogging up. Great scott, that looks good.

  14. 14
    Rob

    Ditch the styrofoam Jesus disk and the slab o’ melted cheddar (old cheddar is good, but seems a bit much, here, and generally, I prefer mine not melted), swap in something a little less terrifying for the scary pile o’ greasy ground beef, I might sign up.

    So, in other words, you’d like a completely different burger ;-)

    On a more serious note. I agree that symbols are important. However, until that cracker has had some Harry Potteresque spell chanted over it, it is just a cracker. It only become a symbol and therefore symbolic afterwards. Good grief, next they’ll be wanting the box the crackers came in treated with deference rather than tossed in the garbage or preferably the recycling.

  15. 15
    erikschepers

    Having seen that burger, I feel like listening to these guys once more:

    http://www.hell-metal-band.com

    \m/

  16. 16
    IngisKahn

    If burgers aren’t your thing, they also offer this:
    http://shop.ghost-official.com/index.php/ritual-set/phallos-mortuus-ritual-box-set.html

  17. 17
    Weed(less) Monkey

    Ghost chili aioli sounds terrifying. In a place as stereotypically macho as a heavy metal themed restaurant that must mean half an hour of mind numbing pain and being afraid to go to the bathroom, ever.

  18. 18
    rodriguez

    This coincides with me trying to go vegan for the first time this week. I’m hoping I can make it work 5 days a week. I’m sure I’ll backslide. But this post makes me think the critical mass is starting to build in the culture. Hopefully there will be more public vegan options in the future.

  19. 19
    Jim Phynn

    Quick point about setting the flag on fire. You missed a pretty important part over and above the public safety issue: it would only be legal if it was your flag to begin with. It’s destruction of property and theft if it belonged to someone else…

  20. 20
    johnmckay

    Have they asked for your endorsement? If not, why not?

  21. 21
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    @Jim Phynn: Yeah, that’s true of pretty much anything you may want to set on fire.

  22. 22
    AJ Milne

    … I was just going to ask what that thing looking like a cellophane bag full of pus really was.

    Oh, no, that’s a cellophane bag of pus, all right. I think the cheddar is beneath the patty, on the other bun.

    … S’all good… I’m sure you can just ask them to hold either.

    Seriously, peeps, have a professional do your food photography.

    (/… and this is an oldie, now, but still, just so long as we’re talking about disturbing meat dishes… )

  23. 23
    rorschach

    Fair enough to serve that abomination with JC’s calling card. Looks like it might increase your chances to shake his hand real soon.

  24. 24
    ck

    Although the Communion wafer is not a consecrated host, it’s still symbolic, and symbols are important.

    “I leave symbols for the symbol minded” -George Carlin

    It’s always a little amazing how people treat symbols as if they have some magic properties or something.

  25. 25
    Reptile Dysfunction

    A Presbyterian minister who ate the burger
    yesterday posted a message on facebook
    saying that “sacrilege never tasted so good,”…

    –from the article.

  26. 26
    Sandy Small

    The real crime here is dedicating a burger to Ghost. I saw them opening for Opeth last spring, and they sucked.

  27. 27
    goverd

    That poor cow died for our sins.

  28. 28
    birgerjohansson

    Going off on a tangent a bit: Man injured by half-tonne of falling bacon http://www.thelocal.se/50584/20131003/ -This is actually a cool way to get hurt.

  29. 29
    Sili

    If they’d been the least bit clever about it, they’d have emphasised that the killing of cows is “crass and offensive.{sic!}” to Hindus.

    Bacon is “crass and offensive.{sic!}” to Muslims, and cooking a calf in its mothers milk is “crass and offensive.{sic!}” to Jews.

    And of course the whole meat and excessive consumption is “crass and offensive.{sic!}” to Buddhists.

    But no, this is all about “symbols are important”.

    Fuckbrained idiots.

  30. 30
    Rip Steakface

    I’ll admit, I would totally go to a heavy metal burger place. For the meat disinclined, they may have a Cynic salad!

    And hell, let’s add in an Atheist burger, because why not.

  31. 31
    tsig

    I see vegi-righoutness is becoming the norm here. It’s a common affliction of vegetarians to look down their noses at all those who haven’t seen the light and given up meat.

  32. 32
    Larry

    Ummm, I’ll have a double jesus burger, extra onions, small holy ghost fries, and a chalice of diet coke, no ice. Hold the cracker.

  33. 33
    luckyluke

    Unconsecrated “ostie” (communion wafers) are sold in most grocery stores in Quebec. Quebec is so entrenched in Catholicism that it’s trying to ban the wearing of non-Catholic symbols by public employees right now in the name of secularism (Catholic symbols are fine, because they are “historical”). But the “ostie” are sold as snacks, and no one thinks it’s sacrilegious because they are Catholic enough to know what “unconsecrated” means.

  34. 34
    Reginald Selkirk

    Because serving up big greasy slabs of cow

    Read the fine print: it contains both a beef patty and goat meat.

  35. 35
    Phillip Helbig

    Death by torture, rising from the dead, cannibalism—very heavy metal. :-)

  36. 36
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @tsig:

    Vegi-righteousness? You mean this post of Rodriguez’s? (the only one mentioning vegetarianism or veganism)

    This coincides with me trying to go vegan for the first time this week. I’m hoping I can make it work 5 days a week. I’m sure I’ll backslide. But this post makes me think the critical mass is starting to build in the culture. Hopefully there will be more public vegan options in the future.

    Wow, so self-righteous.

  37. 37
    David Marjanović

    Supporting the eating of this wafer would be like supporting the abortion of a potential body of Christ.

    *chortle*

  38. 38
    jeffj

    @36
    Of all the crackpot freethinking ideas I lug around, *nothing* raises hackles like vegetarianism. It really stirs up the ol’ cognitive dissonance.

  39. 39
    tsig

    To FFC @ 36

    This bit:

    Because serving up big greasy slabs of cow, rather than a bit of cardboard-flavored styrofoam, harms the environment and is ethically suspect? That’s the only part of that meal I’d consider a newsworthy source of argument.

    Calling a hamburger ethically suspect is pure holier than thou behavior.

  40. 40
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I’m not even of vegan/vegetarian persuasion, and this looks gross to me. Well, mostly that not-really-cheese-like substance on top that has been bathed in raspberry sirup.

  41. 41
    Trebuchet

    I see your Jesusburger and raise you this:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/todaysepicfail/best-baby-shaped-meatloaf-ever-20rr

    Is that actually cheese on top? I took it to be some form of bacon.

  42. 42
    ledasmom

    Huh. I wonder what the people objecting to this burger would think of the time in college when we crucified Gumby and hung him over the fireplace. I think he stayed there for most of a semester.

  43. 43
    Howard Bannister

    @36

    Actually, I’m pretty sure the “vegi-righoutness” that he was decrying was from the OP.

    Because serving up big greasy slabs of cow, rather than a bit of cardboard-flavored styrofoam, harms the environment and is ethically suspect?

    Because even acknowledging that much is probably just WAAAAAAAY too much. Deep schisms! Haters! Etc.

  44. 44
    eveningchaos

    I’m a huge fan of the Swedish heavy metal band, Ghost, who this burger pays homage to. I’ve seen them live numerous times now. Having been raised Catholic, their brand of sacrilegious retro-metal really resonates with me. Here are a few lines from their song Body and Blood…

    His body and blood
    Sharing in common
    His body and blood
    His body and blood
    Serving Messiah

    Receive, consume
    Receive, consume
    Digest
    Defecate

    PZ did bring up a good point at the end of his post. I’m not telling anyone what they should or shouldn’t eat, but there is some pretty strong empirical evidence that supports a plant based diet being better for the environment and your health. I’m open to anyone presenting evidence that refutes this. Just as I’m open to people giving evidence of the existence of gods or the supernatural. Meat consumption doesn’t have to be a binary decision. Just eat less of the large mammals and you will help reduce the pressures on the environment. I now await the accusations of sanctimony with great anticipation.

  45. 45
    ericoehler

    That’s a lousy picture of what’s probably a pretty great burger.

    I have eaten at Kuma’s a few times and they are astonishingly good. They come up with flavor pairings that you wouldn’t expect to work on a burger, but somehow do…and then they name them after metal bands (although the “Slayer” is basically an assault on your gastrointestinal tract). I had one that had smoked gouda, roasted red peppers and slices of poached pear on it, with a seasoned mayo, and it was amazing.

    They also offer vegetarian substitutions. So you could get a veggieburger patty with a communion wafer on it, I would imagine.

  46. 46
    rodriguez

    It’s so interesting that we’ve just mentioned, possibly discussing, ever so slowly, the ethical considerations about food. And just that mention makes people itch and complain.

    Customs and opinions around food are so so similar, and sometimes are identical, to customs and opinions about religion. It’s no surprise that a big portion of religion is built up from rules around food. It gets right to the heart of what people think about themselves and how they relate to others.

    Even if you leave religion or don’t have one, you still have your relationship to food.

    So if PZ says (eat a burger) == (maybe ethically dubious, let’s talk) and you automatically shout “you’re not holier than me”, consider that you may be thinking about food in a way that some people think about religion.

  47. 47
    nkrishna

    It’s not even a consecrated wafer. Even according to Catholic doctrine, that makes it just a cracker.

    Kuma’s Corner isn’t far from where I used to live in Chicago. As a metal fan, I can’t believe I never visited.

    This supposed outrage is probably just going to up sales of the burger, and hopefully the band it pays tribute to. I did my own little post about this here. People are failing to understand how metalheads, even the Catholics, simply will not care about people getting butthurt over an unblessed wafer.

  48. 48
    mykroft

    Holy heart attack, Batman!

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