21st July 2024

Review: A heavenly brunch at the Christian Union


Alex Drayne explores the culinary offerings of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union.

As I shuffled into the church, I already felt bloated by my overriding sense of cynicism. Of course, it was terrific that the Christian Union had invited me to a brunch, but as a freelance food writer I’ve written hundreds of reviews about pastries. On top of that, I could always just go to the nearest Krispy Kreme outlet to gorge myself on frosted dough, without the added annoyance of having to hear some total loser droning on about the Gospel of Mark. CICCU did not seem like a place for me.

The fare was respectable though, and came with some surprisingly wise welfare-related advice. I tucked into a platter of custard donuts and chatted with the vicar. He suggested the Church might be the best route to alleviating many of the stresses of Cambridge life. Essay pressures, relationships and mental wellbeing could all be ameliorated through Bible exploration and CICCU discussion groups. I pushed a fourth donut into my mouth and began to listen more intently. This was friendly, approachable advice that I could certainly get on board with.

CICCU did not skimp on the pastries. The croissants were almost unbelievably magnificent: buttery, flaky goodness, with lashings of whipped cream and raspberry jam. Between mouthfuls, I started to think that this was something the decadence of secular, modern society could not account for. I glanced around the room. No one else was eating, which I found odd. But it was a fabulously communal gathering of young, energised Christians. There was no talk of iPhones, Cindies or yoga. It seemed that salvation and fulfilment could perhaps be found in every bite.

I’d already eaten 17 pastries but then a smiley student brought out a tray of muffins. Each one was a sacrament, nay a communion to the undying light of Jesus. I sank my teeth into his body and supped on the goblet in which his sacrosanct blood swished back and forth (a plastic mug of Robinson’s with that spot-on ratio of squash to tap water, to be precise).

By my fourth cup my soul was locked into the rhythmic sway of the Lord’s presence. I was offered yet another box of donuts, on the condition that I WhatsApped my friend to let him know that gay marriage is an abomination. What was tastier: a freshly-baked jam tart, or Facebooking my friend and telling her that she is an actual tart for wearing skinny jeans and going clubbing? By this stage I could hardly hear the students gathered in a circle around me, as I was concentrating so intently on some delicious little gingerbread men piled up on my plate.

All in all, CICCU’s generous hospitality was so heart-warming, and I must testify to the relentless hard work that was invested by the student volunteers. I should also testify to the fact that pre-marital sex is a sin. You wicked, wicked evil-doers, the Lord will eviscerate your soul in the fires of purgatory. It took me several platters of scrumptious choc-chip cupcakes to realise this but now I have seen the light.

I will conclude by remarking that we ought to reconsider our opinions on CICCU. They put on a splendid event and as they served me multiple helpings of cracking pastries my outlook has shifted. I write to you from my new home, a monastery where I am about to give a series of lectures entitled “Was the Spanish Inquisition reaaaally that bad?” I am happy here with my new friends and am conducting weekly protests outside the local children’s hospital (Western medicine is a sin – all you need are leeches, psalms and candles).

I urge you to attend the next CICCU event. The food is to die for – quite literally if you’re gay, Jewish, liberal, feminist, transgender or have ever had a wank.