New York artist Laura Ginn
hosted the rat dinner at the Allegra LaViola Gallery
in Manhattan on Wednesday as part of her exhibition, "Tomorrow We Will Feast Again on What We Catch."
Ginn, who says she has been "working on developing an ad-hoc crash course in self-reliance" for the last several years, has been learning how to build shelters, hunt, trap and tan and make her own leather. Her project culminated in Wednesday's exhibition and dinner, which featured photographs and videos of her experiment in radical self-reliance.
But the real attention-grabber was the five-course tasting menu, which was heavy on rat, "one of New York City's truly sustainable resources." According to the Huffington Post
, the rats, which were "ordered in bulk and arrived whole, unskinned and frozen," were of the medical, not sewer, variety, sourced from "a clean and safe facility" in California.
The meal of "tantalizing rodent recipes," billed as a "post-apocalyptic hunter-gatherer feast," was prepared by chef Yuri Hart. Course one consisted of goat cheese crostini with rat meat, served with a shot of of non-rat gazpacho. "The goat cheese mostly overwhelmed the rat, but we found the flavor and texture reminiscent of lamb," wrote Laura L. Griffin
of the New York Observer
Next came an "oily," "salty," and "delicious" rat and pork terrine, followed by the main course-- "rat two ways"-- that is, braised and roasted. Ginn "performatively sucked the meat off the bones" during this course.
The final course, after a palate cleanser, was a desert of French toast topped with crispy rat jerky. This plating featured "an entire crispy rat head... mouth open, teeth jutting forward, and a black leg... atop the French toast, toes and claws clearly visible," according to Griffin.
Ginn, who was a vegetarian until last year, funded her one-of-a-kind show through the crowd fundraising website Kickstarter
. She raised just over her goal amount of $2,000.