BY: JOHAN SIEMENS
It is a melancholy object to walk the streets of Steinbach on a Sunday afternoon, to find church after church crowded with Mennonites of various denominations sitting at round tables and consuming nothing more than a few dill pickles and a couple slices of marble cheese. These poor mortals, rather than being able to consume a full meal, are forced to subsist for the entire day on something called “faspa,” a meagre meal – if, indeed, we can even use such a term – that is wholly insufficient to nourish and sustain an individual, even on a Sunday. It is true that some rare families are fortunate enough to supplement the cheese and pickles with raisin buns and cold cuts, but they too are left wanting. At the terminus of faspa, Mennonite families, whether MB or GC or even EMC, are left as hungry as when they began, having approached nowhere near the level of refreshment required to sustain life.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is, indeed, a grave problem throughout Mennonite country. As a respected church elder and used car dealer, I have been asked to employee my thoughts as to how the problem of faspa could be solved. Having seriously considered the options offered by others, I have always found them inadequate. It is true that a raisin bun can support a growing child for half an hour or perhaps a little more, and a few pickles will tie you over between meals, but to suggest, as my opponents have, that “faspa is sufficient” is beyond laughable. No, my friends, faspa is not a real meal.
Whoever, therefore, could derive a plan to eliminate the meal of faspa, and offer a better, would be held with such regard in the Mennonite community that a diminutive plaque should be placed in his honour at the Jake Epp Library.
It has been brought to my attention by a knowing acquaintance of mine in Winnipeg that Englishers, who believe as strongly as we do that Sunday ought to be a day of rest, tend to consume large quantities of a baked flatbread known as “pizza.” Rather than bake it themselves, these Englishers use a device known as a “telephone” and within a short period of time the pizza arrives at their door ready to be consumed by the famished residents of the city. My Winnipeg friend assures me, from frequent experience, that this “pizza” is, whether hot or eaten cold the next day, a wholesome and nourishing food and may well be suited for the needs of Mennonites as well.
With humble submission, I do therefore offer it to consideration that faspa, which is well known to be unsatisfactory fare at its best, be replaced with the Englisher food known as “pizza.”
Telephones could be installed in each of our homes and connected to a series of cables that would allow us direct communication with the makers of pizza. As for the cold cuts and raisin buns already in the church freezer – these could be taken out and used as snacks during youth programs, Bible studies, or rambling protracted sermons. So long as they do not masquerade as a meal, there is no need to eliminate them completely. Pizza comes in a variety of flavours and a knowing chef, who understands how to oblige a hungry Mennonite, will make it as large and full of carnivorous toppings as they please.
The reasons for my proposal are many. For one, it will greatly reduce the destruction of pickles, alas, too frequent at our tables. Secondly, it will finally provide adequate nourishment to our starving men, thus readying them for rock-picking and manure-shoveling in the week to come. Thirdly, the women, who had previously spent days pickling cucumbers and rolling up ham slices in preparation for faspa, will be free to finally finish the quilts they had been working on for years. Fourth, we should see an honest emulation among the unmarried men, which one of them could eat the most slices of pizza, a competition, which would bring pleasure and, I might add, some degree of healthy amusement to our usually stoic Sunday afternoon lunches. Fifthly, having discovered pizza in the city, many of our young people leave and never return to Reinland. Thus, this proposal, would dramatically reduce the exodus to Winnipeg and bring a vibrancy to our rural communities not seen since the Great Platz Revival of ’38.
I beseech you, ladies and gentlemen, to prayerfully consider my modest proposal. The elimination of faspa and the replacement of said meal with pizza is of utmost importance for the longterm physical and spiritual health of our people.
(photo credit: Sipris/CC)