My Last Supper

19 11 2007

Lauren Collins, in the November 12 issue of The New Yorker, The Talk of The Town, writes about a new book entitled “My Last Supper”.  (Does this sound familiar? See my blog entry of November 1.)

The book includes photographic portraits of fifty chefs, along with a description of what they would request for their last meal in this life, should it come down to that. Not surprisingly, their menu requests were quite different from those on death-row in the state of Texas. Whereas the Texas inmates requested mostly fried food, Diet Coke and chocolate milk, the chefs’ final menus included alot of truffles, foie gras and caviar. Except for chef Tyler Florence who wrote, “No frou-frou French. No snout-to-tail. No fucking foie gras.” Now there’s a guy who might make it on death-row. So to speak. Oh, and Jacques Pepin, who requested a hot dog. Huh?

I agree with Collins’ description of the last meal as a gruesome ritual. While it must be intended to bring comfort or distraction from the prisoners’ impending doom, I just cannot imagine how one could work up an appetite with death looming so near. I suppose the very fact that these prisoners (on death-row, not the chefs from the book) could come up with a list of their favorite foods, and presumably look forward to this meal as a treat, tells us alot about the human ability to cope with unbearable situations.

On a lighter note, Eric Ripert, chef of Le Bernardin, a restaurant that few if any of the Texas inmates have visited, said he would welcome the opportunity to cook for a death-row prisoner. As he notes, “You are not going to mess up that last meal”. Yes, bon appetit!




One response

19 11 2007

As Mel Brooks (playing the waiter at the Last Supper in “History of the World, Part !”) said to the assemblage, “Everyone who wants to be in the picture sit on this side of the table”.

As well as “Will this be separate checks?”

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