Cane toad, sea urchin and fermented weeds aren’t on most people’s dinner plates.
But that’s exactly what is being served up at Hobart’s controversial Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) over the next few months.
The ‘delicacies’ are part of an exhibition dubbed Eat the Problem, which aims to challenge ideas of conventional eating and sustainability.
“Invasive species are a problem but we can re-frame them; how are they actually a resource?,” artist and curator Kirsha Kaechele said.
“If we’re eradicating these plants and animals for environmental purposes and doing nothing with them, that seems a bit short-sighted.
“So why don’t we do something? Celebrate their abundance and do something delicious with them.”
The exhibition, which opened on Saturday, is coupled with the release of a 544-page book filled with invasive species recipes, including from renowned chefs such as Heston Blumenthal.
Deer, rabbit, boar, camel milk pana cotta, possum with salt-baked vegetables, wild boar’s eye martini and sweet and sour cane toad legs are just a few.
“A lot the dishes are very easy to appreciate as food. Some are definitely more challenging,” Ms Kaechele said.
Ms Kaechele, who was born in America and is the partner of MONA creator David Walsh, believes a vegan or vegetarian diet are the most ethical ways to live but says recent protests in Melbourne and Sydney aren’t the best way to preach to the unconverted.
Fricassee of feline
“I don’t like heavy-handed environmental messages. They’re no fun,” she said.
“I totally support vegans but sometimes the message comes across in a way that doesn’t inspire people.”
In typical outlandish MONA fashion, guests at the feasts sit at a massive angled rainbow table that also doubles as a glockenspiel.
Select guests have been offered a feral cat consomme but it won’t form part of the regular menu.
“It’s certainly interesting to think about the impacts of cats, our pets that we love and adore,” Ms Kaechele said.
“It’s not about glamorising animal cruelty, just looking at things from a more holistic perspective.
“Why don’t we love cute little lambs, why don’t we serve cute little bunny rabbits?
“We serve those at restaurants all over. It’s all cultural. Within one culture an animal is a cute pet, in another it’s a food source.”