DCSIMG

Eating can be a religious experience

Richard Ord column

Richard Ord column

CONCERN is growing about halal meat being sold, unlabelled, in certain supermarkets.

Naturally, I’m worried. When I tuck into my beefburger, I want to know that the horse has been humanely killed.

In our house, we’re lucky that our two boys, Isaac, 10, and Bradley, 13, are not fussy eaters.

There are only two foods out of bounds for them – mushrooms and onion.

Isaac will not knowingly eat either. ‘Knowingly’ being the key word.

Chop the mushroom or onion finely enough, bury it in a stew and he’ll stuff it down his gullet in blissful ignorance. But if he finds either in recognisable form there’s hell on.

He has the annoying habit of digging out half mushrooms from his food, leaning across the dinner table and dropping them onto my plate. Or worse, pulling out of his mouth and dropping on my plate.

The only way he’ll consume onion is if it arrives in crisp format.

I think that’s the norm for most kids. Coat it in chocolate or turn it into a packet of Pringles and they’ll eat anything.

It’s why hedgehog-flavoured crisps were such a hit in the ’80s.

Not sure where the boys stand on halal meat, but halal crisps would be no problem. They wouldn’t care how the potato had been picked, sliced or fried.

Food and religion are usually quite a good mix. I’ve always been partial to a hot cross bun myself.

The boys’ religious food of choice would have to be the Easter egg.

Nothing symbolises the miracle of Jesus rising from the grave better than a milk chocolate Cornetto Easter egg with four vanilla cones. I believe it’s mentioned in the New Testament.

Not being particularly religious (hot cross buns aside), I’ve always struggled to explain to our kids how Easter eggs have come to symbolise Christ coming back to life after being crucified.

The onion would probably have been a better symbol, certainly in our house.

No sooner is it popped into our Isaac’s mouth, than it’s back out again … and onto my plate! A bit like Jesus.

Fortunately, unlike Christ, the onion is not resurrected three days later.

As the symbolism is lost on me (I think it’s got something to do with the empty tombs and rebirth) I always tell the boys Easter eggs is what Jesus and his mates ate at the last supper.

That seems to satisfy their curiosity. Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story – I’ve built a career on that maxim.

I mention all this food and religion nonsense because I caught my boys performing a funeral service in the kitchen! Their heads bowed, solemnly standing around the kitchen bin.

“What you doing?” I asked.

“Egg funeral,” my Isaac informed me.

The pair of them had been holding little send-offs for their Easter eggs after they’d eaten them. The coffins (empty Easter egg boxes) were being despatched into the bin with a few words of comfort for the bereaved (the boys).

“What do you say?” I asked.

“Nothing much,” said Isaac. “He was a good egg!”

Just like Jesus.

n Do your kids hold any other bizarre quasi-religious ceremonies for confectionery? If so, after their visit to the child psychologist, I’d love to hear about them. Send your stories to richard.ord@jpress.co.uk or tweet them on Twitter to me @DickyO. Alternatively, post them to Richard Ord, Northeast Press, Pennywell, Sunderland SR4 9ER.

 

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