These days when it comes to Jesus appearing in breakfast food, you have to have more faith than ever. Specifically, you need faith that some clever eBay profiteer hasn’t purposefully anointed the Anointed One on a piece of toast or a pancake just to make a buck.
In early February 2006, Mike Thompson of Beachwood, Ohio claimed that the visage of Jesus appeared on a pancake he’d made while preparing breakfast for his family. Thompson was paraphrased by News Channel 5 of Cleveland, Ohio as saying the image the Lord’s face was a sign from above.
He posted the alleged Holy Pancake on eBay with an opening bid of $500. The bidding reached $14,999.00 before the listing was removed for violating eBay’s listing rules.
There is no evidence to suggest that eBay removed the listing because it was fraudulent. Still, internet message boards ran rampant with accusations that it was Thompson, and not God, who created the image on the pancake.
“This is a scam and this guy is a fraud,” read one post.
“Looks more like Osama Bin Laden to me,” read another.
One poster joked, “Maybe he has a Jesus fry pan that has an image embedded in the metal so everything cooked will have Jesus on it.”
But that joke may be on us. The Jesus Pan is real.
“Jesus Pan is made from durable steel and topped with a non-stick coating.”
The marketing text on JesusPan.com advertises a pan with an uplifted impression of Jesus that “puts the image of Jesus right on food.”
Is it possible that Thompson’s Jesus pancake was a marketing ploy for the Jesus Pan? It’s obvious that the people at JesusPan.com are aware of the reach of eBay. The site says, “Holy images have been popping up all over… A grilled cheese sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary sold for over 17-hundred dollars on eBay.”
The most impressive evidence that the Thompson pancake may have been created by the Jesus Pan comes from MrBreakfast.com. The site created a computer overlay of the Thompson pancake and compared it to the Jesus Pan impression. While not definitive proof, the dimensions of Jesus in the pancake are striking similar to the imprint on the pan. However, a cross emblazoned on the lower right of the pan beneath Jesus does not appear on the pancake.
When the Thompson’s listing resurfaced on eBay after the rules violation, the description sounded strangely commercial. “Sorry, the official “Jesus Pancake” was pulled for a listing infraction… I had 150,000 hits and the bidding was up to $15,000. Thank you VERY MUCH for your support! I have been encouraged to put the pancake back up so we’ll start at $15,000.”
Shortly after the Thompson Jesus pancake made headlines, imitators emerged. On February 14th, a 33 year old blogger from Newcastle, U.K. by the name of “ILuvNUFC” announced that he’d discovered the kisser of Jesus on a pancake that he’d made. Unlike Thompson, “ILuvNUFC” admitted that the face might not be that of Jesus. He noted that it also resembled the mug of porno actor Ron Jeremy. Be it Jesus or Ron Jeremy, he noted in his blog that he was ready to make money on eBay. The Thompson pancake itself may be a copycat of sorts. A week before the Holy Pancake appeared unto him, it was announced that Juan Patrano of Prairie Lea, Texas found the face of Jesus in a frying pan he was washing. Interestingly, Patrano was washing the pan with the intention of cooking his mother breakfast. Describing himself as a religious man, Patrano said he is also considering selling his discovery on eBay.
In December of 2005, cooks at the Stadium Club Restaurant in Jacksonville, FL found their Jesus on the bottom of a large pan used to heat water. They said that the pan had recently been used to warm nacho cheese containers and it’s presumed that scorched nacho cheese and mineral deposits from the restaurant’s water combined to form the face of the Messiah. Plans to sell the pan on eBay have yet to be announced.
Perhaps the most famous food-related sighting of religious symbolism in recent times is a likeness of the Virgin Mary that appeared on a grilled cheese sandwich. Florida resident Diana Duyser discovered the image after she’d taken a bite from the sandwich. For 10 years, Duyser kept the partially eaten Holy Sandwich in a clear plastic box on her night stand. In 2004, she sold the sandwich on eBay to GoldenPalace.com, an Internet casino, for $28,000. GoldenPalace.com is the same company that made another well-publicized purchase. They bought William Shatner’s Kidney Stone.
When Religious icons begin appearing in breakfast food, there are several ways to make money. Threadless.com offers t-shits designs with Jesus on toast and the Virgin Mary on pancakes. One clever eBay seller is selling a piece of toast adorned with an image of Jesus on a pancake.
Would you like to make your own Jesus breakfast item without having to buy a special pan? Just check out the article “Your Own Personal Jesus Toast” by Eric Gillin. Available on blacktable.com, Gillin offers step-by-step instructions to paint Jesus on toast by strategically placing butter on bread and grilling it. Unfortunately, Gillin’s Lord resembles Kenny from Comedy Central’s South Park more than the Lamb of God. But these days, even a short Jesus in a parka should garner some “bread” from a well-timed online auction.
Does God place images of His relatives and friends on toast and pancakes? We may never know until we have a chance to ask Him. If there is a God that has His hands in the workings of the universe, we know this: events have conspired to lead us to talk about religion and breakfast. Beyond all the profiteering and sacrilege, there may be a very important message: Pay attention to your breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day.
UPDATE: THE THOMPSON JESUS PANCAKE IS FRAUDULENT
On March 2nd, 2006, this article was initially posted on MrBreakfast.com. The following day, MrBreakfast received a reply to an inquiry sent to JesusPan.com. The email read, “Sorry for the delay in responding I HAVE BEEN SWAMPED! Yes this is the product that created the JesusPancake!” The note was signed by Mike Thompson.