Have you heard the news about The Great British Bake Off?
course you have.
The announcement of its move from the BBC to Channel 4
– sans Mel and Sue, with judges Paul and Mary as yet unconfirmed – has
been talked, or shouted, about rather a lot (and that's actually OK).
Despair. Anger. Deep mourning as we watched 'Batter Week' last night, knowing it would all end so soon.
The Twitter storm seemed to reach a prophetic level of anguish.
might say the communal frustration reached biblical proportions.
fact, you could even say we actually find Bake Off in the pages of the Bible.
Yes, that's right. No, alas Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry didn't lend
their critiques to the Last Supper (although Judas did get sent home?),
but baking can be found throughout Scripture.
Here are five examples:
"So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said,
"Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread
cakes." (Genesis 18:6)
Some scholars translate the last line of Hebrew here as something like "on your marks, get set... BAKE!"
How's this for a technical challenge? We don't even know what Sarah
was doing before Abraham rushed in with his baking demands.
If you read
between the lines you can hear a vexed Sarah: "Bread cakes? What? Why
isn't it more specific? Do they need to be identical?" Its the kind of
stress we've come to expect from GBBO.
Actually it's in this story that we discover that Sarah will bear a child. How's that for putting a bun in the oven?
"They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt
into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since
they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared
any provisions for themselves." (Exodus 12.39)
It's bread week, but you're also on the run from an Egyptian army.
We've all been there.
Unleavened bread doesn't rise, so obviously in Bake Off terms,
things aren't looking good.
You can feel Paul Hollywood's unrelenting
But who knows, maybe they added Fennel or something
to flavour it up.
"The Lord said to me, 'Go, show your love to your wife again,
though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as
the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love
the sacred raisin cakes.'" (Hosea 3.1)
In this beautiful passage, we discover that part of the Israelites'
rejection of God is their love of 'sacred raisin cakes.' In other
words, I can only assume, fruit scones.
To be fair, who doesn't love a
If you generally favour the plain variety over the fruit
option, consider yourself righteous.
Or perhaps I've interpreted this
Abigail quickly rustles up 100 raisin cakes in 1 Samuel 25:18,
and if you'd like to cook them yourself then what a day this is turning out to be.
The feeding of the 5,000
Was this Jesus' signature bake? It certainly won wide acclaim, and
rightly so. He did it again at the feeding of the 4,000 (Matthew 15:29).
Five loaves and two fish, multiplied to feed 5,000, with leftovers to
We don't know about the rise or puff of this bread, but we should
assume the highest quality, and an even bake, obviously.
In John 21 Jesus has risen from the dead and greets his disciples on
the beach with a bonfire, "they saw a fire of burning coals there with
fish on it, and some bread."
Again, we don't know any more
about the bread, but other events in the story have obviously eclipsed
baking at this point. Still, it's a reminder that Jesus delighted in
good food (and wine, but you don't bake that) and so should we, in good
Silliness aside, the Bible and Bake Off remind us that
making and sharing food together is a rich, beautiful part of human
existence. Jesus promised that the end of time would be marked not by
floating on the clouds with harps, but with a hearty, glorious feast.
How's that for a showstopper?