Everyone has their limits when it comes to matters of the flesh. No, not sex, you brute. We're talking about meat here—the sinewed, crimson muscle of a beef rump. The little clots that collect in the joints of chicken bones. The wrinkly creaminess of a butchered pig's skin that's visually not far off our own. The smooth, murky darkness of veal liver.
Even the most seasoned meat eaters have their boundaries. Not everyone loves offal. Or they do, but only the red stuff (the livers, kidneys and hearts) and draw the line at brain and sweetbreads. Some chefs struggle with things like brains, too—even those who've have made a name for themselves with their offally ways, like Fergus Henderson's pal, the squirrel-loving Robert Owen Brown.
Our reaction to flesh is a funny thing, highly dependent on time and place. If someone came and slapped half a pig carcass, or even a head, on your desk right now and said, "Here's dinner!" you might not be too happy. But in the comfort of your own kitchen, breaking down a pig's head might not be such a task.
For all the babies out there who are squeamish about meat and are disconnected from the idea that a sharp, bloody death has to happen in order for a pork chop to appear on your plate, there might be a new way in that doesn't involve cold sweats in the butchers shop—cake.
Next month there's going to be an edible "horror farm" (the world's first) at Letchworth Garden City's Standalone Farm, where people can come and shuffle around a veritable abattoir of cake-y carcasses. There will also be a shop in London's Shoreditch, where similar wares can be bought (nothing says "I love you" like sponge cake shaped like a sawn-off pig trotter).
The brains behind the operation is a lady called Emma Thomas, aka "Miss Cakehead", a woman who has made a career out of creating gag reflex-tickling cakes made to resemble things like dismembered abdomens (complete with visible subcutaneous and fat layers) and has created campaigns for shows like Dexter and the Resident Evil franchise. For the PR launch of Resident Evil 6, Thomas curated a human butcher shop in London's Smithfield Market, with edible" human" body parts available for all. Grossest PR stunt ever? Probably. But people are still talking about it now.
The farm will be full of life-size, anatomically correct pig carcasses—cut up the middle and oozing with "blood"—that visitors can tuck into when they feel like it. So, for those who struggle with the dead, refrigerated reality of animal flesh but want to get better, maybe this is the event for you. You'll have the physical form in front of you, only, instead of meat under the surface, it'll be cake. Baby steps, now.
There's also going to be a "cake-walk" through the farm's nearby woods after dark, which will invariably be littered with sweet torsos and feel like the ghost trains you went on as a teenager, pretending not to be spooked by clapped-out zombie puppets while your date breathed Fanta in your face and tried to get their hand in your gusset.
Whatever your preferences, we can't think of a better autumn date than walking around grabbing handfuls of naked pig cake and feeding it to one another while children run around screaming.