How To Tell If You Have Religious Food

Last week, a couple in Dallas discovered a Jesus-shaped Cheeto in their bag of Cheetos. They promptly named it Cheesus, which is a masterstroke of marketing (although not that original, it turns out), and are considering auctioning it off on eBay—with the implied threat that if it doesn’t sell, they may just eat it. The big question you may be asking yourself now is, “How can I get in on this racket?”

It’s partly a matter of luck, but it also takes a good eye for spotting the random edible miracle. You should also remember that context is everything: you might find a Shiva or an Apollo, but they’re not going to be that newsworthy in the U.S., so stick with tried-and-true icons like Jesus or the Virgin Mary. A Cthulhu-shaped snack might net you some cult fame, but probably not a lot of money.

Over the weekend, I picked through a bag of Cheetos—or “my retirement chips” as I was calling them—looking for any recognizable icons I could sell. My theory was that any average bag of Cheetos should contain at least one auction-worthy chip. I had mixed success—out of one bag, I found four recognizable icons, but only one of them was definitely religious in nature. I have emailed Frito Lay to inquire about a buy-back program, but have yet to hear from them. I’d really rather not bring eBay or PayPal into this.

The fact that there were four in a single, random bag of Cheetos hints that this may be an unexplored market for the person willing to carefully sift through every bag of chips on the store shelf. If you take our freemoneyfinance guy’s advice to heart and devote an hour a day to this, who knows what kind of riches you may eventually end up with?

Update: Frito Lay has answered my query. Unfortunately, their answer is no.

First, here was my email to Frito Lay:

Hi. I sorted through a bag of Cheetos on Monday and found 4 different Cheetos that look like either religious figures, movie stars, or cartoon characters. I was wondering whether Frito Lay would be willing to buy any of them from me. One in particular looks like the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus aloft. Another one looks kind of like Socrates.

If you have some sort of buyback program for religious snack products, please let me know and I’ll gladly pack them up and ship them to you.


And here was their response:

Hi Chris,

Thank you for writing to us about the interesting shapes in your bag of Cheetos.

You might want to start a collection or, like some people, sell them on E-Bay. We have quite a collection of our own—sent to us over the years by consumers who found them amusing.

We consider you a valued consumer and hope you will continue to enjoy snacks from Frito-Lay.

Best regards,
Frito-Lay Consumer Affairs

“‘Cheesus’ Jesus Likeness Found In Cheetos Bag” [Manolith]


Edit Your Comment

  1. ElizabethD says:

    Best post ever. LOL

  2. GenerousHelpingOf_GitEmSteveDave says:

    Can we get a video of infidel Cheetos being thrown to Captain Duval Moneycat in a mock Colosseum?

    • Chris Walters says:

      @GenerousHelpingOf_GitEmSteveDave: You could have, but after several beers Monday night I ate them all. Also, CDM doesn’t live with me, because I refuse to share my oatmeal.

      • GenerousHelpingOf_GitEmSteveDave says:

        @Chris Walters: Hrmmm, I bet my three would do it. But then I would have to buy Cheetos, and I would end up eating them all. Dang!

      • m4ximusprim3 says:

        @Chris Walters: I can’t believe you ate kirk douglas AND kicked out CDM over oatmeal.

        my opinion of you is incontrovertibly shattered.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @Chris Walters: I certainly hope they were fed to you one by one, over a paten to prevent the crumbs from falling on the floor.
        It goes without saying that you plucked one of your many rubied chalices from your wall-rack for your beer.

        And, you call it “sharing”?
        I get it. “Sharing” trips off the tongue more easily than “having the Captain frantically shred my lower leg to a bloody stump until the blood loss and feintiness make me drop the oatmeal bowl while I lapse helplessly into a coma”.

  3. floraposte says:

    Transubstantiation–now in cheese flavor!

  4. VidaBlueBalls says:

    Seriously, how delicious are Cheetos? Artificial ingredients and flavors be damned.

  5. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Well now I’ve got to grab a bag of cheetos so I can see whether any of it can be a religious or cartoon icon. I’ll be back with the results in a few delicious, cheesy minutes.

  6. Alarmpro says:

    “My Own. Personal. Cheesus.” Hahahahahaha!!!!!

  7. calquist says:

    I’d pay big for a kitty cheeto.

  8. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    You have just invented the best party game ever!

    Way too funny.

  9. zentex says:

    Depeche Mode had it all wrong and chris finally broke the news of the real lyrics

  10. bornonbord says:

    I’m incredibly impressed by this. Suddenly it turns star gazing into Cheetos gazing.

    I’m still stuck on this – The couple is saying they will eat the Cheesus if it doesn’t sell.

    Have you ever eaten a week-old Cheeto? That shit’s nasty. I’ll buy it from them just so no one has to go through that

    (and then resell it as Cheesus H Bites)

  11. waza0 says:

    what a waste of time

  12. cristiana says:

    I will pay top dollar for a Cthulhu cheeto!

    • m4ximusprim3 says:

      @cristiana: how did you get the top dollar? I’ve been trying to find it for years, but every time I get close, someone else has it!

  13. acasto says:

    “Socrates running from a snake”

    Having started the day off by stepping on a dirty diaper in the parking lot while walking through the parking lot in the rain wearing sandals, well, this helps make the day not quite so crappy.

  14. HomersBrain says:

    Nothing says “I love my Lord” quite like auctioning him off on Ebay to the highest bidder !

  15. carolynkline says:

    There should be a Cheetos-look-a-like drinking game. So many drinks for a Jesus looking one, so many drinks for a Mary looking one, a cartoon looking one, an actor looking one and so on and so on…and the more you drink, the more the Cheetos look like whatever you want them to (lol)

  16. Riff Raff says:

    Coming Summer 2010…

    Transcheetos: Cheese Wars

  17. Shappie says:

    Best Article Ever!

  18. Tristan Smith says:

    I created a Flickr group! submit your food shaped like religious icons here! []

  19. axiomatic says:

    Step 1: Distort suspect historical supposition as fact.
    Step 2: Discount others as irrelevant non-believers.
    Step 3: Claim food product is representative of your deity.
    Step 4: Profit

  20. ObtuseGoose says:

    The scary part is that these are the same religious wackjobs that vote against gay marriage. Meanwhile they’re praying to their Cheetos. You’d think they’d believe in the sanctity of snack foods.

  21. Razorgirl says:

    I have nothing productive to add, I just want to have this post in my comments to I can easily refer back to it on a regular basis. I will be buying a bag of Cheetos on my way home from work tonight though.

  22. vladthepaler says:

    Frito Lay should just rename their product Cheesy Jeesuses and give Chester Cheetah a halo.

  23. TideGuy says:


  24. Ragman says:

    That ain’t Goopy, that Scooby Doo!

  25. B1663R says:

    that’s nothing, i once found a Dorito in a bag of Frito’s


  26. FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

    I see your Cheesus and raise you Chicken of the World created using Tyson Chicken filets:


  27. I Love New Jersey says:

    I saw some product obviously aimed at Catholics which will imprint an image of the Virgin Mary on your grilled cheese sandwich.

  28. limbikity says:

    okay, so how does one ship the cheeto jesus? can you guarantee that it won’t be crushed in transport?

  29. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    I like that you took the time to draw the boobs on the Virgin Mary.

  30. so_gracefully says:

    RIGHT THIS MINUTE, I am eating a Teddy Graham that looks exactly like a teddy bear. Anyone want to pay me for it? It’s doing half a jumping jack! No?

  31. trujunglist says:

    On a somewhat related topic, did you guys check out that video with the gigantic cheeto? I mean, bigger than the new gigantic cheetos they have these days? They made one special for the Giz or something. That looked like the nastiest thing ever. I’m OK with Cheetos, but bleh. Seriously.

    And btw, I love this post. Probably one of the best I’ve seen on Consumerist.

  32. DerangedRoleModel says:


  33. alexcassidy says:

    Speaking of religious symbols in foods, I once found a FSM in my spaghetti… oh wait

  34. almightytora says:

    I need to buy tons of Cheetos now. I might strike it rich… or never eat Cheetos again.

  35. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    More proof that Cheetos are from heaven!

  36. Yamunation says:

    Hilarious! The best thing to read after a 1-month hiatus of Consumerist!

  37. LegoMan322 says:

    I hate religion. but I did find Jesus…he was on my toast with his mother.

  38. Trai_Dep says:

    If there was a Nobel Prize for Blogging, Chris Walters would be the inaugural winner.

  39. HogwartsAlum says:

    That was the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.

    It should be an ad campaign for Cheetos; it seriously made me want to buy some!

  40. MarleneMops says:

    If anyone finds a piece of food that looks like a pug, let me know. I adore pugs.

  41. Timothy Conard says:

    News flash: Jesus is historical fiction.

  42. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    Blessed are the cheesemakers!

  43. maztec says:

    Selling Jesus? How blasphemous! Idolatry! Just eat it and ask for blessings.

  44. berribrand says:

    Find a peanut and call it “Peanus.”

  45. Winteridge2 says:

    Would it help if the food was kosher?