The Edible Body Farm

“Delicious Decay: The Edible Body Farm”


Bodily decay is perhaps the most graphic reminder of our mortality, but despite its abhorrence it is a natural process. As a result of its paradoxical nature, the human relationship with decay has changed over the centuries. Japanese kusozu artwork from the 13th Century onwards, featuring images of courtesans in all stages of decomposition, gave practising Buddhists a focus for their Nine Cemetery Contemplations or Maranasati (a type of death meditation used to appreciate life.) However, in 15th Century Europe the average Christian’s relationship with maggot-infested cadavers and skulls was almost transgressive in its intimacy despite being borne of fear of God’s awesome power. The ancient Greeks and Romans were said to meditate on death in tombs, and even as late as the 1800s ‘mortuary meditation’ was being championed.

Kusozu when exhibited at the pathology museum via The Wellcome
Kusozu when exhibited at the pathology museum via The Wellcome

We are attempting to re-engage the public with natural decay as well as educate on artificial preservation (in the form of our 5000 strong anatomical collection). In collaboration with Annabel de Vetten-Peterson (highly acclaimed food artist the Kitchen Conjurer) and Dr Anna Williams (Forensic Anthropologist currently championing the use of real human remains for taphonomic research, we present Delicious Decay: The Edible Body Farm.

Book evening: 

Book daytime:


Inspired in part by the unusual chemical indole, which is present in coffee and chocolate as well as decomposing corpses, this event attempts to engage the public with this terrifying yet fascinating topic via a more palatable means: cakes and other edibles.

Shallow Grave Cookie by Steph Sturgess

Over the two day “Edible Body Farm” there will be goods to purchase, death cocktails and more as well as ‘experiences’ such as digging through edible soil to excavate consumable bones, smelling the chemicals currently used to train cadaver dogs and having your face painted to look ‘decomposed’. There will be mini lectures to educate, such as decomposition in a forensic context (Dr Anna Williams) and workshops on preservation.

Goodies to Expect:

Crepitation Marshmallows, Tache Noire eyeball and protruded tongue cupcakes, sponge and jam filled body bags, ‘Maggot Motel’ cheesecake (a term used by entomologists),S’Morgues, the Five Stages of Decay cookies, coagulated and decomposing blood ‘shots’, necrotic iced buns, skeleton shortbread, mini ‘body disposal bathtubs (!), edible mourning jewellery, sherbet ‘cremains’, chocolate coffin pops, margarita-flavoured ‘skin slippage’, Funeral Biscuits, body disposal diorama cakes, Cookie “Doe’s”, Body Part cake-pops, maggot cheese, Blowfly life-cycle cakes, Autopsy Shortbread, Decomposition push-pos, poison cocktails and so much more!

Stages of decay cupcakes by Claire Ratcliffe
Blowfly Life-Cycle cake by Emma Louise Ransome.
Five Stages cupcake by Claire Ratcliffe
Tache Noire cupcake and real Tache Noire by Nicola Shipley