Edible England – Introduction

‘Edible England’ in St Marie’s

The Last Supper, depicted in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel
Christ instituting the Eucharistic Celebration at the Last Supper, depicted in the main window of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
Baptism of Chirst Window in the Bookshop showing St Simon.
Pomegranate carved in the case of St Marie’s Organ.

Welcome to the Cathedral Church of St Marie in Sheffield and this guide, which follows the ‘Edible England’ theme of the Heritage Open Days celebration – England’s largest festival of history and culture.

Food and drink play a central role in many religions.

They are symbols of life, a focus for celebration and thanksgiving, and a focal point, bringing the faithful together around a communal table.

What we eat and drink can also become an act of faith.

That could be through the observance of dietary laws, which may ban the consumption of some foods and drinks such as pork, beef and alcohol.

It might also be through abstinence from certain foods and fasting during holy periods such as Lent or Ramadan.

It can also be through the consumption of specific foods, recipes or menus, eaten in memory of religiously significant events such as the Passover for Jewish people and the Last Supper for Christians.

Above all, in Christianity, food and drink act as a direct, physical communion with our creator, in the person of Jesus Christ.

For Catholics, the communal table is the Altar, the food is the bread, which, becomes the Body of Christ, while the drink is wine, which becomes His blood, and water, which flowed from His side, along with blood, following His death on the Cross.

Most of the images relating to food and drink that you will find in the Cathedral concern bread or wine – or their key ingredients – wheat and grapes.

However, it doesn’t stop there. You will also find images of pomegranates, fish, scallop shells, vine leaves and acorns, all of which can be used as food.