Critics say a Chicago restaurant is pushing the boundaries of poor taste with its October Burger of the Month.
Kuma’s Corner, a heavy-metal themed joint with an “Eat beef; bang your head” ethos, says its new burger is an homage to GHOST, a Swedish band that performs in Catholic clerical garb.
“The Ghost” burger features a “Communion wafer garnish,” a white, unleavened disc bearing the imprint of a cross and a crown.
GHOST’s new album comes complete with grape juice and a mock Communion wafer. Not coincidentally, the Communion burger at Kuma’s comes with a red wine reduction.
For those unfamiliar with the Christian sacrament, Holy Communion commemorates Jesus’ Last Supper. The bread represents his body, Jesus says in the Bible, and the wine his blood. In many Christian traditions, a priest or minister will consecrate the wafers and wine before sharing them with the congregation.
Luke Tobias, director of operations for Kuma’s, said the restaurant’s Communion wafers are not consecrated, and thus, not really holy.
“It’s more or less a cracker with a cross on it,” he said.
The restaurant bought the wafers online from an eBay-type website.
They’re not trying to make a big religious statement, Tobias said, just trying to have fun honoring a band they like.
“If there is a God, I’m sure he has a sense of humor,” Tobias said.
Some of God’s peoples seem to get the joke, according to Kuma’s. A Presbyterian minister who ate the burger yesterday posted a message on Facebook saying that “sacrilege never tasted so good,” Tobias said.
But other Christians have a beef with Kuma’s burger.
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.”
There’s one thing that Tobias and Young agree on, however: Communion wafers are not particularly tasty.
“From a culinary standpoint,” Young said, “it’s kind of worthless.”
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