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In today's Media Mix, restaurant menus not getting healthier, plus more energy drink drama
Kuma's Corner in Chicago has a new burger that some are calling "sacrilegious."
Check out these headlines you may have missed.
Communion Wafer Burger: Chicago favorite Kuma's Corner has released a new burger, titled The Ghost, with braised goat shoulder, a red wine reduction, and an unconsecrated communion wafer. Some folks are not happy. [Chicago Tribune]
How to Check If Restaurants Are Clean: After this week's Mission Chinese scandal, here are some tips to check for yourself how clean your favorite restaurant is. [ABC News]
Energy Drink Warning: France's food safety agency ANSES has told citizens that they probably shouldn't drink energy drinks with alcohol while exercising. Yep, sounds about right. [Food Navigator]
Restaurant Menus Not Changing: Despite a higher emphasis on food and food quality, a new study found that American chain restaurants are still offering entrées with the same number of calories and sodium in the last two years. [RedOrbit]
Hooters: Then and Now: And now, a brief history lesson about Hooters through the ages as the restaurant chain turns 30. [Huff Po]
Caramelized Almond Wafers
Legend has it that his dessert was born in 1600 in the monastery of Clarisse Monte Sant’Angelo where there is a sanctuary dedicated to the archangel Michael. As the story goes, while the nuns in the monastery were preparing the dough for the ostie—the Communion wafer or host—some of the almonds fell in the hot honey. Not having anything close by to pick them out, they used the hosts they were making, and so the dessert was born. In this simple dessert, two wafers are filled like a sandwich with almonds caramelized in honey. It is a treat for the faithful on the special holiday on St Michael the Archangel on Sept 29th—and even non-believers will love them.
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A Chicago burger joint known as Kuma's Corner has caused quite a stir with its communion wafer burger. The burger features a communion wafer and a red wine reduction sauce. The restaurant says that the burger was created to honor the Swedish metal band Ghost. Ghost is known for dressing up in religious outfits, thereby warranting the wafers and wine.
Wafers and red wine are more commonly associated with the Catholic practice of communion in which churchgoers eat a wafer and drink a small amount of red wine. Whether this association is merely coincidental is debatable. What isn't debatable is the fact that the communion wafer burger may well be the very first religious burger ever created. The burger itself sells for $17 and you can get as many wafers as you want or none at all.
Is the ‘Communion burger’ in poor taste?
CHICAGO, IL – Mmm — sacralicious? 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 e-Bay-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.”
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.
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor
The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
Chicago burger garnished with Communion wafer
Kuma's Corner Restaurant's October burger of the month is named "Ghost" after the Swedish heavy metal band whose members dress in religious robes and wear skeleton face makeup. (Photo: Kuma's Corner Restaurant via AP)
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago restaurant has cooked up a controversial burger of the month for October, garnishing it with an unconsecrated Communion wafer and a red wine reduction sauce.
Kuma's Corner, a foodie destination with just a few tables, names its hamburgers after heavy metal bands. For October, the restaurant chose to name the burger after the Swedish band Ghost. Members of the band dress in religious robes and wear skeleton face makeup.
It's in poor taste, said Jeff Young of New Orleans who runs the blog Catholic Foodie.
"It's not, for us, the Eucharist," Young said. "However this wafer is a symbol. There's a cross on it. It's like taking a flag and burning a flag."
Luke Tobias, Kuma's Corner director of operations, said the restaurant never wanted to offend anyone. He said reaction has been a "mixed bag," but more positive than negative.
"There are people who are offended by it, but we're delighted to see that generally people seem to have a sense of humor," Tobias said.
The restaurant, which often plays loud heavy metal music, is a fan of Ghost, Tobias said. Young said he realizes that and knows Kuma's Corner didn't intentionally want to make anyone mad.
"The Ghost" burger is selling well, Tobias said, because customers are curious about it.
"Hopefully people will have a good time with it — that's certainly what we're trying to do," Tobias said.
Kuma's Controversial "Ghost" Burger Features Beef, Cheddar, and a Communion Wafer (Video)
Kuma’s Corner, a burger joint in Avondale, Chicago, is famous for its themed burgers, many named after heavy metal bands including the Black Sabbath (Blackening spice, housemade chili, pepperjack cheese, red onion) and the Metallica (bacon, blue cheese dressing, buffalo sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion). Kuma’s latest concoction, the Ghost Burger, is attracting the scrutinizing eye of major media networks like NBC and CBS.
The burger, named after the Swedish heavy metal band of the same name, is made from 10 oz. of beef, slow braised goat shoulder, aged white cheddar, ghost chile aioli, red wine reduction, and an unconsecrated Communion wafer as garnish.
The restaurant describes the burger as follows:
The band traditionally appears onstage in hooded robes, with the lead singer appearing in full Roman Catholic Cardinal apparel and skull facepaint. The lead singer’s name is “Papa Emeritus” and all other band members are referred to only as “Nameless Ghouls.”
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Director of Operations Luke Tobias said, “People have been kind of upset. The thing with this is, the communion wafer is unconsecrated, so until that happens, it’s really just a cracker.”
Reactions have been mixed, but either way Kuma’s Corner is getting a significant amount of attention from their daring burger. The Facebook post announcing the news was shared 780 times.
Click to watch Kuma’s make the unholy burger. Would you eat it or is the Communion wafer a step to far?
This Communion Burger is Both Sacrilegious and Tasty
Kuma's Corner, a burger joint in Chicago, is no stranger to unique sandwich combinations. Most of their burgers are heavy metal-themed, with titles such as Lair of the Minotaur and Plague Bringer. They have now come up with their most bizarre combo yet, which also has drawn the ire of some folks in the religious community.
It's called the Ghost Burger and it's ostensibly a tribute to Swedish metal band Ghost. No big deal, right? Well, it's topped with an unconsecrated communion wafer and a red wine reduction. (It also includes aged white cheddar, a ghost pepper aioli and slowly braised goat shoulder.) The burger certainly sounds delicious, even though it has (understandably) courted some serious skeptics.
The restaurant has posted a message defending the burger on it website, emphasizing their creative vision, and has given a $1,500 donation to the Catholic Charities of the Chicago Archdiocese out of respect to those that were offended.
Why the sacrament of Communion is central to Catholic beliefs
Pope Francis gives the Communion during the Easter Vigil at the St Peter’s basilica in March.
In his long-awaited exhortation on love and family, Pope Francis opened a door to granting Communion to remarried divorcees, who currently are excluded from the sacrament.
Holy Communion commemorates Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples during Passover. Catholics believe that during this final meal, Jesus blessed the bread and wine and said, “This is my body . This is my blood.”
Roman Catholic Church teachings say Jesus is present in the consecrated Communion wafer and wine, also known as the Eucharist, which means thanksgiving, each time parishioners receive them. The bread and wine become the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus, according to Catholic doctrine.
To receive Communion, which is a central part of the Mass service, Catholics cannot “be conscious of grave sin,” according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The church officially excludes remarried divorced Catholics from Communion because it sees their first marriage as still valid, meaning the person is living in sin.
A Catholic conscious of this kind of sin cannot receive the body and blood of Christ without prior confession, the conference says, except for in dire circumstances where there is no opportunity for confession.
Impossible Jardiniere Burger
&ldquoImpossible: The Cookbook&rdquo recommends this recipe from chef Traci Des Jardins as the ideal starting point for people cooking with Impossible Burger for the first time. It&rsquos easy to see why: The burger emerges juicy, with a beautiful seared crust, and it&rsquos hard to go wrong with avocado and caramelized onions. For many Bay Area residents, it might also be a nostalgic taste of Des Jardins&rsquo shuttered Hayes Valley restaurant Jardiniere.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 yellow onions, thinly sliced
½ cup mayonnaise, preferably plant-based
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 avocados, pitted and peeled
1½ pounds Impossible Burger
6 ounces Gruyere or plant-based cheese, sliced (optional)
6 soft hamburger buns, split
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or plant-based butter spread, at room temperature
6 romaine or Little Gem lettuce leaves, torn into bun-size pieces
16 cornichons, thinly sliced lengthwise
Instructions: In a heavy medium skillet over low heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are completely soft and slightly caramelized, about 50 minutes. Cover the skillet for the first half of cooking to allow the onions to soften, then remove the cover about halfway through.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and mustard. In another small bowl, mash the avocados with a pinch of salt. Divide the Impossible Burger into six equal portions (4 ounces each) and form into patties ½-inch thick.
Preheat a grill for direct cooking over high heat (450 degrees), or preheat a stove-top grill pan over medium-high heat. If using a grill, brush the grates clean.
Season both sides of the patties with a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper. Cook the burgers over direct heat on the grill or in the pan until grill-marked on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the burgers, layer the cheese slices on the upturned cooked sides, and cook another 1½ minutes for medium-rare or 2 minutes for medium. Transfer the patties to a platter.
Spread the cut sides of the buns with the butter and toast on the grill or in the grill pan until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Transfer the toasted buns to a platter or cutting board.
To assemble, spread the toasted sides of each bun with some of the Dijon mixture. Spread the top bun with some of the avocado. Layer the bottom bun with cornichons, a couple of pieces of lettuce, a patty and a large spoonful of caramelized onions. Top with the top bun and serve at once.
The Ethiopian-spiced meat with hummus recipe comes from chef Kwame Onwuachi in "Impossible: The Cookbook." Aubrie Pick