June 22, 2010

Last Meals

On death row, the last menu is up to you. In all other cases, it's up to fate.
Let's look at some famous (and not-so-famous) final repasts.

Death Row
Ted Bundy declined to make a request for food before his execution, so he was offered a traditional breakfast. Illinois prison officials asked a local restaurant to prepare the last meal for John Wayne Gacy, and Gary Gilmore was served meat & potatoes with milk and coffee.

On the fictional end of death row, inmate John Coffey requests this comfort food in this book by Stephen King. (Watch clips from the movie.) And in one episode of "The Simpsons," Homer opts for beer, doughnuts and fried chicken.

The Last Supper
Jesus took his last meal with his disciples, as famously depicted. (It's possible that over time that meal has been supersized.) Lord Buddha's last meal was sukaramaddava, though just exactly what it consisted of is somewhat open to speculation.

RMS Titanic
While the doomed Titanic's first-class passengers had a book written about their extravagant final dinner, the second-class passengers' meal wasn't too shabby either. (What about third class?)

World LeadersMahatma Gandhi ate a modest last meal before he was shot and killed on the way to a prayer meeting in 1948. President John F. Kennedy had breakfast at his hotel in Fort Worth, Texas, before flying on to Dallas just hours before his assassination in 1963. Former French President Fran├žois Mitterrand indulged in a now-legendary last meal in 1996.

Poisonous Animals
According to legend, Cleopatra enjoyed some figs that concealed death for dessert. One famous Japanese kabuki actor (what's kabuki?) died after eating this poisonous fish

Famous Writers
Ernest Hemingway
reportedly ate one of his favorite dinners the night before he committed suicide. Welsh poet Dylan Thomas apparently succumbed after a surplus of liquids.

CelebritiesEveryone knows where Elvis Presley was when he died, but you may not know these sweets were the last thing he ate. Flamboyant entertainer Liberace's last dish was a little more mundane than you might expect. (How did he die?) Comedian John Belushi ate a nourishing light supper at this famous Hollywood restaurant the night he died. Glamour icon Marilyn Monroe reportedly ate a not-so-glamorous meal before she died.

Famous Chefs

Several notable chefs shared their ideal farewell noshes in this book. Anthony Bourdain would forgo the ant eggs for this. Not surprisingly, Mario Batali would postpone the inevitable with 8-10 courses. Lidia Bastianich would keep it simple, and Gordon Ramsay would opt for classic British fare.

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