We grew tired of building monuments to God, so in the boom we took to constructing cathedrals to food. Great vaulted expanses sprung skywards around every town, where we were invited to worship not purity, but freshness. The spiritual foundations of supermarkets were always, in truth, a little shallow. Adverts might have described a raspberry fool as “heavenly”, but it could just as easily have used devil’s horns as decorative motifs.
The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 destroyed everything, including faith. The Cathedral of Santa Maria crumbled, crushing worshippers on a Catholic holiday. Voltaire asked how a disaster killing 100,000 innocents could be “for the best of all possible worlds”. The London economic quake of 2009 scored lower on the Richter scale, but left many citadels to capitalism in ruins. Supermarkets appeared particularly vulnerable, having elevated mere trifle to something almost worthy of worship. Just as the earthquake shattered belief, the economic tremors left many questioning the value of the food movement.