First posted February 27, 2004
NEW YORK – Grocery stores across North America, Australia, Europe, Western and Central Asia, and Africa are reporting massive shortages of meat- and dairy-free “Pharisee foods” in the days leading up to, and commencing, the Orthodox fasting period known as “Great Lent.”
“I don’t rightly understand it,” said grocery analyst Lemiel (“No Saint’s Name Please We’re British”) Montgomery Frederick Smithers-Crupp of the Wall Street firm Cripp, Crupp & Cropp. “Orthodox make up a small percentage of the grocery-buying public in most of these places, and yet the shortages are very real.”
“Is conspiracy!” suggested Fr. Vasiliy Vasileivich, official Church Overseas of Russian Orthodox Christians (COROC) spokesman, pastor of Saints Boris and Gleb and Olga and Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and five-time Australian pan-Orthodox Pharisee Food Bake-Off champion. (“Please to note pan-Orthodox refers to baking implement and not to heretical ecumenist tendencies,” added Fr. Vasiliy in an undertone. “We’ll make sure to say that,” assured our intrepid Onion Dome editor.)
“Conspiracy?” said our intrepid editor in his normal voice.
“Da, conspiracy! Is outrage!” bellowed Fr. Vasiliy. “Food companies want to make Orthodox believers stumble in earliest weeks of Great Lent, so they reduce inventory of lenten foods at critical moment.”
“The headline didn’t say lenten foods, it said Pharisee foods,” countered Fr. Innokenty Jones of the Holy North American Orthodox Splinter Sect, a noncanonical (“I hate that term!” exclaimed Fr. Innokenty) group of priests and laity who are under the auspices of a defrocked (“We prefer to say, set free from the belly of the beast,” informed Fr. Innokenty) Bishop in Gary, Indiana (USA).
“Sayyyyy — aren’t you the guy who burned down the Tofutti Cutie factory last year?” inquired our intrepid editor.
“That was never proven in a court of law,” said Fr. Innokenty.
“So what’s the difference between lenten foods, and Pharisee foods?” asked our intrepid editor.
“Lenten foods are things like beans and rice and kasha,” explained Fr. Innokenty. “Foods that have only lenten ingredients. Pharisee foods are foods that claim to be lenten, but try to look and taste like non-lenten foods.”
“Like fake ice cream made from tofu?” pondered our intrepid editor.
“Exactly! Or like non-dairy coffee creamer, or margarine. You can read all about it on my web site, haveamiserablelent.com,” added Fr. Innokenty. “Be sure and click the Visa/Mastercard button to leave a small donation, if you would, please.”
“Hey Fr. Innokenty, I got your final check just yesterday; I’ll deposit it today,” said Smithers-Crupp, returning to the room after excusing himself momentarily.
“Ix-nay on the eck-chay!” said Fr. Innokenty, making a chopping motion across his throat with his index finger.
“Oh, right,” said Smithers-Crupp. “Forget I said anything.”
“IS conspiracy!” howled Fr. Vasiliy.
“You can’t prove that,” retorted Fr. Innokenty.
“Prove this, schismatic heretic bolshevik!” said Fr. Vasiliy, aiming a right hook at Fr. Innokenty’s jaw.
“Missed me,” taunted Fr. Innokenty, deftly blocking Fr. Vasiliy’s swing. “Eat this, ethnic heretic Pharisee!” said Fr. Innokenty, returning with a left upper-cut.
“Father Vasiliy!” said a shrill feminine voice.
“Father Innokenty!” said another, similar voice.
“Yes, Matushka,” said both priests in a compliant sing-song.
“Fighting at your age!” scolded Matushka Svetlana (Fr. Vasiliy’s wife).
“You two should be ashamed of yourselves!” said Matushka Irena (Fr. Innokenty’s wife).
“Sorry, Matushka,” chorused the Fathers.
“Let us go home now,” said the Matushkas.
“Yes, Matushka,” chorused the Fathers.
“Well that kinda cuts this interview short,” said our intrepid editor as the two Matushkas led the two priests out of Smithers-Crupp’s office.
“Would you like to see my charts and graphs about peanut butter sales?” chirruped Smithers-Crupp hopefully.
“Um, gotta run!” said our intrepid editor, hastily gathering up his belongings and pressing the elevator button vigorously.
“That sounds fascinating!” replied Yeraslav Penguin, professor of liturgical history at St. Toucan’s Orthodox Seminary and Roadside Icon Shoppe.
“Splendid!” said Smithers-Crupp, deftly starting a Powerpoint presentation on his oversized laptop. “Here you see a comparison of crunchy versus creamy….”
At which point the elevator door closed, and our intrepid editor was once again alone with his thoughts. His thoughts said, “I’m hungry.” He whipped out a dairy-free granola bar and continued to ride the elevator down.
Copyright © 2004-2012 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.