What you’d eat for your last meal is always a hot topic. There have been multiple books about it, on topics from what chefs would eat for their last meals to a kitchen cook who prepared a plethora of death row meals. We’ve even done our Last Supper: ES Staff Picks.
But a slightly different question was posed to me (on a first date, where else?) Assuming you’re on death row, what would you eat during your last day? Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
When Timothy McVeigh was executed in 2001, his last meal was two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream. As a 13-year-old, that sounded pretty good, and I commended him on his choice. Since then, my palate has become more refined (and luckily, away from that of a serial killer) and I moved onto a plate of french cheese, a baguette and coffee. But this three meals question was baffling and mind blowing to me. How could I choose three meals? Three whole meals? To set up some parameters, I posed the following questions to my date:
1) Could I be anywhere I want eating these meals? Yes.
2) What is my prison diet like? What did I eat the day before? Whatever you want. You realize this is a fantasy, right? You can control everything.
3) So then technically I could eat whatever I want for my last meal every day, if I’m choosing my diet? Why are you thinking so much abut this?
4) Could I eat these meals with company? No, since you’re in prison.
5) Can I pick the season in which I’m executed? You’re really asking for a lot of conditions. Sure, you can pick the time of year.
I tentatively decided that my last day would start out with a cheese plate and coffee, but I couldn’t decide on the rest of the meals. As I pretended to listen to my date, I was actually going over it in my head: what would I eat? But I soon realized that most of my choices depended on who I was with and where I was, not the food itself. I quickly changed my answer:
I would have cheese and coffee for breakfast, alone in my cell (preferably in bed) and nothing else. I always enjoy eating breakfast alone (no talking before my coffee is finished), and I don’t like when other people interfere with my cheese plate. But I’m not eating lunch and dinner alone, so I’m not eating at all. I hold a firm belief that food is best shared with those you love.
I don’t care if I have the best food in front of me: I am not going to sit and eat three meals alone, and be expected to enjoy them as much as I could with other people. So to everyone who has thought about the question, or who is just approaching it now, does a last meal really matter if we have nobody to enjoy it with?
Also, what would your last three meals be?
(Pic: The Guardian)