Retro prawn cocktail

Prawn, or shrimp, cocktail has been a classic appetizer from decade to decade.

Feasting On Art
Classic shrimp cocktail is served with a spicy tomato-based dipping sauce.
Feasting On Art
Max Dixon, 'Monument (Prawn),' 2012, courtesy of the artist and Brenda May Gallery, Sydney.

The collages and paintings by Maz Dixon featuring “The Big Things of Australia,” will be featured in the upcoming curated exhibition “Art + Food: Beyond the Still Life” at Brenda May Gallery in Sydney. Beginning in the early 1960s, monumental objects ranging from giant fruit to prawns and pelicans began to litter the landscape of Australia.

Personally, the first “Big Thing” I encountered after moving to Australia was The Big Prawn in Ballina, which was constructed in 1989. In reality, the bubblegum pink crustacean emerges on the horizon of the roadside much in the same way it pokes out of the surf of Dixon’s "Monument (Prawn)." Here the vintage feel of the artwork is echoed in the recipe with the retro-classic, prawn cocktail.

In her artist statement about the work, Maz Dixon writes, “Our view of the landscape is heavily mediated by mass-produced travel ephemera such as maps, souvenirs and postcards.” The small series of paintings and collages in “Art + Food” explore the “gap between a traveller’s expectations and the reality of a place. Using the language of postcards and souvenirs, [Dixon is] going through a process of re-exploration, mapping the many layers of cultural detritus burying the destination.” 

"Monument (Prawn)" can be viewed at Brenda May Gallery starting on Tuesday, Oct. 2, as part of the curated exhibition “Art + Food: Beyond the Still Life.”

Retro Prawn Cocktail
 Yield: 3/4 cup of sauce suitable for around 500 grams (about 1 lb.) of prawns

1/4 cup tomato ketchup
 1/4 cup chili sauce
 2 tablespoons horseradish purée
 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
 2 tablespoons lemon juice
 Dash of Tabasco sauce
 Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

500 grams (about 1lb.) cooked prawns

In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients well. Serve with cooked prawns. Sauce will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Related post on Feasting on Art: Shellfish Ceviche

Megan Fizell is the curator of the exhibit “Art + Food: Beyond the Still Life.”

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