Towards the end of the summer I was introduced via email to a certain Kanna Ingleson, a devotee of taxidermy and an enthusiast of the odd and she had a very simple proposal for me. Would I be interested in submitting a recipe for her new online magazine? A new magazine showcasing European taxidermy subculture and the people in it.
Now, I have had stranger proposals before and I must admit that I am not totally au fait with the whole business of stuffing dead animals but this rather quirky premise did appeal a lot to me. Probably because I am quite odd myself and I am a sucker for anything remotely alternative when it comes to food.
The main remit was to consider what could be done with the meat that is taken out of said dead animals. By all accounts, at some taxidermy classes (which are fast becoming popular by the way) there is often an added educational element where chefs come in to demonstrate what can be done with the carcasses afterwards. So the idea in itself isn't unusual. And plus there is the demonstrable concept of using this art form to promote total 'nose-to-tail' eating and zero food waste. In terms of connecting the dots, there is no real reason why we can't put food and taxidermy together. Seriously, think about it.
Of course, a slightly bizarre aspect does rear its ugly head when you consider that all manner of creatures can be immortalised through the medium of wool and wire or polyurethane. So where do you stop? Well perhaps eating your beloved Tiddles is going a step too far but if this magazine gains legs, other suggestions have been put on the table for future features and recipe development. Like, um, roadkill and other things. We'll wait and see.
But to start things off, we simply went for a squirrel recipe. Slightly out there but not too out there if you get what I mean. A lovely, warming ragu that would go down fantastic on a Friday night with a glass of wine. Before having to nip back in the kitchen to deal with the fur, skin and all the accoutrements to deliver a masterpiece for the mantelpiece.
So please do check out #taximag here and have a read. It's all rather interesting. Promise.