Food for Thought

Death meals become a hot topic among foodies: When the last supper is a game

Death meals are a hot topic for foodies: When the last supper's a game

bread and wine
According to the Bible, Jesus’ last supper contained wine and bread. LaJollaUCC.org
Molina's Cantina, Enchiladas de Tejas
I’m torn between wanting a decadent meal of caviar or a traditional Tex-Mex meal. (File photo from Molina's Cantina) Photo by Kimberly Park
Killen's BBQ barbecue ribs on serving tray pre-opening February 2014
Barbecue, particularly ribs, is high on the "last meal" list. (File photo from Killen's BBQ) Killen's BBQ/Facebook
Churrascos Memorial City December 2013 lobster and scallops
Other friends weighed in on the topic with many going for lobster. (File photo from Churrascos) Photo by © Julie Soefer/Courtesy of Churrascos
Chinese sausage fried rice at Five Sixty in Dallas
Chinese is a popular choice for a "last meal." (File photo) Photo by Jennifer Chininis
bread and wine
Molina's Cantina, Enchiladas de Tejas
Killen's BBQ barbecue ribs on serving tray pre-opening February 2014
Churrascos Memorial City December 2013 lobster and scallops
Chinese sausage fried rice at Five Sixty in Dallas

According to the Bible, Jesus’ last supper contained wine and bread. Not bad. There’s some scholarly debate as to whether or not it was a Passover meal, which means it would have also included lamb.

Just think for a minute if you could know which meal would be your last. What would you choose to eat?

For years prisoners on Texas’ Death Row knew exactly when their last meal was coming and pretty much knew what it would be. That’s because of a long standing Texas Department of Criminal Justice practice of allowing condemned prisoners to ask for pretty much whatever they wanted (within reason) for their final feast.

 “I’m Jewish. Chinese is our version of soul food. I’d also eat Chinese for my second-to-last meal, my third-to-last meal, my fourth . . .” 

Here’s a link to a blog that lists last meals of some Texas inmates. Some are pretty bizarre, like the guy who wanted a pound of bacon, along with a lot of other food.

Of course, all that changed in 2011 thanks to Lawrence Russell Brewer, killer of James Byrd, Jr., who ordered two chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat-bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat lover’s pizza, a pint of ice cream and peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. None of which he ate.

This really infuriated local Texas Sen. John Whitmire who made his feelings known and TDCJ stopped the policy. Today those who are about to die eat whatever the rest of the prisoners are eating.

I’m torn between wanting a decadent meal of caviar, filet mignon, a lobster the size of a poodle drenched in Champagne butter sauce . . . or a traditional Tex-Mex meal with chile con queso, chips and enchiladas and smoked chicken tacos for my own last meat.

San Antonio Dr. Fred Olin suggests combining the two for a soft taco of lobster and caviar . . . hmmmm, I might have to try that.

The Final Decision

Other friends weighed in on the topic with many going for the lobster, and lots of it, while others, like Dayna Steele are strongly on team Tex-Mex.

Writer and quilter Deborah Hensel is torn between barbecued ribs or steak, but with a loaded back potato while writer Holly Beretto gets very specific.

“Not that I have given this any thought at all,” she says, “but off the top of my head I’d look at the pâté at Etoile (which I was just craving yesterday, so much so that I almost made up my mind to go from Rice to Uptown Park, in rush hour traffic … and then remembered I didn't have a car), my grandmother’s eggplant Parmesan, the veggie plate at Backstreet (which I was thinking about hunting down this weekend) and, in all likelihood, the tres leches from Americas. The Beach Movie Actress ( a rum drink) at ‪Lei Low Bar wouldn't be a bad starter, either.”

 “I’ve actually planned it before. Luckily, it wasn’t required, but if someone were to serve it to me, I’d think ‘Oh damn! I'm dying!’ " 

Yeah, clearly she’s given this no thought.

Lighting designer Jeffrey Salzberg would want Chinese.

“I’m Jewish,” he says. “Chinese is our version of soul food. I’d also eat Chinese for my second-to-last meal, my third-to-last meal, my fourth . . .”

It’s interesting how much thought some folks have given this question. And some of their choices.

Theatre Under the Stars’ Isabel Nart goes with paella, a cheeseburger and pizza while K.C. Taffinder wants a Porterhouse with crispy beef tacos and a wedding cake (?) with a bottle of Malbec.

Author Steven Foster is torn: “François all the way, or a southern breakfast, tough call.”

It’s nice to know someone is as conflicted as I am.

Former Houstonian and great chef Tom Williams, who once had a serious health scare, had this to say: “I’ve actually planned it before. Luckily, it wasn’t required, but if someone were to serve it to me, I’d think ‘Oh damn! I'm dying!’ "

Mark Wyatt had a very sweet answer.

“Not to sound too sappy,” he begins, “but it doesn't matter as long as you have someone to share it with. I remember several last meals with people I've known. Honestly, I don't remember the food, and I really like food!”

It may be a little morbid to think about your last meal, but apparently for foodies it is a topic well worth discussing. Just try bringing it up at your next gathering of friends and see what they say.

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