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What to eat before your execution

What to eat before your execution
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  • What to eat before your execution

    Post #1 - December 27th, 2006, 9:41 pm
    Post #1 - December 27th, 2006, 9:41 pm Post #1 - December 27th, 2006, 9:41 pm
    Claude 'Curly' Putnam Jr. wrote:Then I awake and look around me
    At four gray walls that surround me
    And I realize that, yes I was only dreamin'
    For there's a guard and there's a sad old padre
    Arm in arm we'll walk at daybreak
    Again I'll touch the green, green grass of home


    John Mariani, last seen proving incapable of finding pizza to eat between the Hudson River and Phoenix AZ, has another of his astonishingly wrong-headed (but undeniably well-paid and expense-accounted) food pieces in the "top wines of the year" issue of the Wine Spectator, now on newsstands. His theme-- raising hopes unfairly; it's purely hypothetical-- is what he would eat were he to be executed the next morning. He begins-- well, no description of his comments would prove credible in court; one must simply give them the rope to hang themselves:

    The defendant John Mariani wrote:I'm often astonished when I hear about the foods that death-row inmates choose for their last meal. Case in point: One recent unfortunate in Texas ordered up a dozen tamales; refried beans with chorizo; six hard-shell tacos with lettuce, ketchup, hot sauce, six jalapeños, tomatoes, cheese and extra ground beef; three Big Red sodas; six brownies; and two packages of Rolos.


    Granted, not the most exemplary of Tex-Mex meals, what with the declassé ketchup, Big Red and (sniff!) Rolos. And the sheer quantity begins to raise the suspicion that the executionee has a final, Rabelaisian joke in mind for the prison's cleaning staff. Still, one can't help but believe that Mariani would look down his nose even at the most authentic plate of humble Tejano food. Consider what he offers as his final earthly repast:

    The condemned, John Mariani wrote:Amuse at French Laundry
    Duck foie gras brulee at Taillevent
    Truffle-butter ravioli at San Domenico, New York
    Dover Sole, Dorchester Hotel Grill Room, London--


    Oh, but why go on, because by this point, even the most indulgent of prison wardens will have sent in one of the more eager maniacs to finish the job and spare the taxpayer the cost of all this striving and putting on airs.

    However excellent any one of Mariani's choices may be, the cumulative effect of this globe-trotting from one four-star choice to the next, one precinct of the ultra-rich to another, is depressing. If one's life were to be ended by the hangman the next day, are obese sheiks and obsequious headwaiters really the companions one would choose to see you off into that good night? Would one still be killing time with the game of checking off famous restaurants from one's lifetime list, or carefully rearranging contenders on one's personal scoresheet of the best, as if any of that mattered in the face of eternity?

    "Nope, I don't want the overwrought pièce de côte de boeuf Simmental au feu de bois, vert et côtes de blettes, os à moelle, jus corsé from Alain Ducasse's Le Louis XV in Monaco. But I will order the Prime Illinois corn-fed 21-day-aged bone-in rib eye at Wolfgang Puck's stunning new steak house, Cut, in Beverly Hills, Calif.," scribbles Mariani in the grip of his obsession, like a sociopath who still imagines he has the power to pass judgements of life and death upon his victims, rather than being about to have society's judgement carried out upon him.

    What Mariani seems insensible to is the fact that, in the face of extinction or divine punishment, all this striving for ever-more-refined sensation, all this worldly vanity, vanishes faster than a waiter's friendship in the face of an 8% tip. Food offers many meanings beyond taste alone, and many consolations other than mere excellence, though admittedly someone whose entire life is led in four-star restaurants may have long since forgotten that fact.

    Our earliest memories of food are inextricably bound up with maternal love, community, bounty and want, the teaching of right and wrong, loss, forgiveness-- the simple and basic things that country music concerns itself with. And for those of us who wind up on the gallows, another great country music topic, our thoughts are far more likely to turn back to this plain and simple food at the decisive and final moment. By our crimes, we may have severed ourselves from the community; yet by sharing in the community's plain and honest food once again, as we did at Mama's table, even the worst of us may go home again in our hearts, for a moment, before we get what's coming to us for the terrible things we done. I don't think John Mariani could say that even about Alain Ducasse's pièce de côte de boeuf Simmental au feu de bois, vert et côtes de blettes, os à moelle, jus corsé.

    Claude 'Curly' Putnam Jr. wrote:Yes, they'll all come to see me
    In the shade of that old oak tree
    As they lay me 'neath the green, green grass of home.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #2 - December 27th, 2006, 10:25 pm
    Post #2 - December 27th, 2006, 10:25 pm Post #2 - December 27th, 2006, 10:25 pm
    It seems a common misconception that the condemned are given "whatever they want" as a last meal. Not true, of course, and although some wardens may order out, the last meal is (at least to my understanding) limited by can be turned out by yer standard prison kitchen.

    Not to put to dull a point on it, but it does seem as though some variation on "comfort food" would be the order of the day. Though I have yet to achieve death row status, I'm the sort of guy who thinks ahead, and I think I'll probably go with the meatloaf, French fries, and perhaps a chef's salad. And catsup.

    As I think about it, though, in this kind of critical and final dining determination, one would want to consider the mode of execution offered. I was just kind of assuming it would be the chair or LI, but if I were awaiting eternity in a hangin' state (like, say, Iraq), I might want a bulkier final repast to add dead weight and thus avoid the embarrassment of having my otherwise worthless defense attorneys argue that I swung too long and thus suffered cruel and unusual punishment. In this situation, I think I'd order a case of 3.2 beer (alcohol being disallowed in all prisons I know of...talk about cruel and unusual)...and the fries with catsup.

    David "Oh Snap!" Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #3 - December 27th, 2006, 10:51 pm
    Post #3 - December 27th, 2006, 10:51 pm Post #3 - December 27th, 2006, 10:51 pm
    HI,

    I was geared up to comment on last meals are usually confined to the resources of the prison kitchen, too. You got there first to save me the trouble, though I will second your opinion.

    Death by hanging has an affect on male prisoners, which is not well known: it causes an involuntary erection.

    Since I plan to die the old-fashioned way: unexpectedly. I hope there is no time to worry about a final meal.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #4 - December 27th, 2006, 10:53 pm
    Post #4 - December 27th, 2006, 10:53 pm Post #4 - December 27th, 2006, 10:53 pm
    It's well known to anyone who read Waiting For Godot.

    (Beckett, he's no Arthur Wing Pinero.)
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #5 - December 27th, 2006, 11:00 pm
    Post #5 - December 27th, 2006, 11:00 pm Post #5 - December 27th, 2006, 11:00 pm
    Mike G wrote:It's well known to anyone who read Waiting For Godot.

    (Beckett, he's no Arthur Wing Pinero.)


    Well, that would be something to look forward to, were it not for the unfortunate incident involving Billy Budd. There's no guarantees here, folks.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #6 - December 28th, 2006, 1:46 pm
    Post #6 - December 28th, 2006, 1:46 pm Post #6 - December 28th, 2006, 1:46 pm
    Somewhere Anthony Bourdain wrote that that's a game chefs play-- choosing your last meal before execution. I can't imagine having any appetite on death row! Ick. I agree-- alchohol is the thing. You read about prisoners in the UK in the olden days being offered everything from "a tot of brandy" (in the case of Ruth Ellis) to a glass of champagne (some guy who commented "It always gives me the hiccups.") That would be right before hanging so, hiccups? Not a problem unless you get a stay.

    But if I know I will be dying shortly I will make sure to have some nice food and wine with friends. A friend with cancer called me on his last night after what turned out to be his final trip to the hospital and told me he was eating smoked salmon and mascarpone on a baguette, and what kind of wine he was drinking. Thinking about that conversation gives me a lot of comfort.
  • Post #7 - December 30th, 2006, 12:43 pm
    Post #7 - December 30th, 2006, 12:43 pm Post #7 - December 30th, 2006, 12:43 pm
    A list of final meals for Texan Death Row prisoners since 1982.

    My favorite:

    Six scrambled eggs with cheese, seven pieces of buttered white toast, fifteen pieces of bacon, three hash browns, a bowl of grits with butter, jelly and orange juice


    ...and a partridge in a pear tree.
    Writing about craft beer at GuysDrinkingBeer.com
    "You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now." ~Ebert
  • Post #8 - December 30th, 2006, 1:30 pm
    Post #8 - December 30th, 2006, 1:30 pm Post #8 - December 30th, 2006, 1:30 pm
    whiskeybent wrote:A list of final meals for Texan Death Row prisoners since 1982.

    My favorite:

    Six scrambled eggs with cheese, seven pieces of buttered white toast, fifteen pieces of bacon, three hash browns, a bowl of grits with butter, jelly and orange juice


    ...and a partridge in a pear tree.


    A somewhat related anecdote:

    My father had a colleague who ate eleven slices of bacon for breakfast every single day.

    Not ten, and not twelve.

    Eleven. Every. Day.

    And, he was a Psychiatrist. ;)

    E.M.
  • Post #9 - December 31st, 2006, 1:21 pm
    Post #9 - December 31st, 2006, 1:21 pm Post #9 - December 31st, 2006, 1:21 pm
    whiskeybent wrote:A list of final meals for Texan Death Row prisoners since 1982.

    My favorite:

    Six scrambled eggs with cheese, seven pieces of buttered white toast, fifteen pieces of bacon, three hash browns, a bowl of grits with butter, jelly and orange juice


    ...and a partridge in a pear tree.


    I wonder if there is a correlation between fried chicken lovers and death penalty crimes. There sure were a lot of requests for fried chicken. I wonder how many of us are at risk? :)
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #10 - September 23rd, 2011, 10:00 am
    Post #10 - September 23rd, 2011, 10:00 am Post #10 - September 23rd, 2011, 10:00 am
    Texas prisons end special last meals in executions

    It's a tradition with roots that can be traced far back in history: Before being put to death, a condemned prisoner can choose his last meal.

    Not so anymore in Texas.

    Officials who oversee the country's busiest death chamber stopped the practice on Thursday after a prominent state senator complained about a hefty request from a man executed for his role in a notorious dragging death. Now, inmates get to eat only what the kitchen serves.

    The controversy began after Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was executed on Wednesday for the hate crime slaying of James Byrd Jr. more than a decade ago, asked for 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 a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. Prison officials said Brewer didn't eat any of it.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #11 - September 23rd, 2011, 10:19 am
    Post #11 - September 23rd, 2011, 10:19 am Post #11 - September 23rd, 2011, 10:19 am
    The controversy began after Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was executed on Wednesday for the hate crime slaying of James Byrd Jr. more than a decade ago, asked for 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 a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. Prison officials said Brewer didn't eat any of it.


    At least there was plenty for the crew to snack on. :roll:
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #12 - September 23rd, 2011, 2:44 pm
    Post #12 - September 23rd, 2011, 2:44 pm Post #12 - September 23rd, 2011, 2:44 pm
    Quote MikeG: "Our earliest memories of food are inextricably bound up with maternal love, community, bounty and want, the teaching of right and wrong, loss, forgiveness-- the simple and basic things that country music concerns itself with. And for those of us who wind up on the gallows, another great country music topic, our thoughts are far more likely to turn back to this plain and simple food at the decisive and final moment."

    My thoughts went in an altogether different direction from comfort food. With death imminent, why not order up a heapin' helpin' of fugu (blowfish) sushi? That way I could relax and enjoy it without worrying whether the chef got it right.
    "Life is a combination of magic and pasta." -- Federico Fellini

    "You're not going to like it in Chicago. The wind comes howling in from the lake. And there's practically no opera season at all--and the Lord only knows whether they've ever heard of lobster Newburg." --Charles Foster Kane, Citizen Kane.
  • Post #13 - September 23rd, 2011, 3:07 pm
    Post #13 - September 23rd, 2011, 3:07 pm Post #13 - September 23rd, 2011, 3:07 pm
    tarte tatin wrote:With death imminent, why not order up a heapin' helpin' of fugu (blowfish) sushi? That way I could relax and enjoy it without worrying whether the chef got it right.


    Makes sense to me.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #14 - September 23rd, 2011, 8:23 pm
    Post #14 - September 23rd, 2011, 8:23 pm Post #14 - September 23rd, 2011, 8:23 pm
    It's a tradition with roots that can be traced far back in history: Before being put to death, a condemned prisoner can choose his last meal.

    Not so anymore in Texas.

    Officials who oversee the country's busiest death chamber stopped the practice on Thursday after a prominent state senator complained about a hefty request from a man executed for his role in a notorious dragging death. Now, inmates get to eat only what the kitchen serves.

    The controversy began after Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was executed on Wednesday for the hate crime slaying of James Byrd Jr. more than a decade ago, asked for 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 a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. Prison officials said Brewer didn't eat any of it.


    There's always one in the bunch who ruins it for everyone else. I guess Brewer is that guy who's wrecked it for all of the other death-row inmates.
  • Post #15 - September 25th, 2011, 7:28 am
    Post #15 - September 25th, 2011, 7:28 am Post #15 - September 25th, 2011, 7:28 am
    Whether he ate it or not, that was too much food. I don't have a problem granting the condemned prisoner a reasonable request but it's supposed to be the 'last meal', not four or five.
  • Post #16 - September 25th, 2011, 11:27 am
    Post #16 - September 25th, 2011, 11:27 am Post #16 - September 25th, 2011, 11:27 am
    Trust me if I were to be facing execution, I would not eat anything I'd be so upset.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #17 - September 25th, 2011, 2:13 pm
    Post #17 - September 25th, 2011, 2:13 pm Post #17 - September 25th, 2011, 2:13 pm
    toria wrote:Trust me if I were to be facing execution, I would not eat anything I'd be so upset.


    Considering that most executions take 15-20 years AFTER the crime, you would probably be resigned to your fate.
  • Post #18 - September 26th, 2011, 9:21 am
    Post #18 - September 26th, 2011, 9:21 am Post #18 - September 26th, 2011, 9:21 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Texas prisons end special last meals in executions

    The controversy began after Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was executed on Wednesday for the hate crime slaying of James Byrd Jr. more than a decade ago, asked for 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 a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. Prison officials said Brewer didn't eat any of it.

    I wonder if he asked that all of that food be mixed together in a bucket and topped with fried quail's eggs.
  • Post #19 - September 26th, 2011, 3:30 pm
    Post #19 - September 26th, 2011, 3:30 pm Post #19 - September 26th, 2011, 3:30 pm
    Khaopaat wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote:Texas prisons end special last meals in executions

    The controversy began after Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was executed on Wednesday for the hate crime slaying of James Byrd Jr. more than a decade ago, asked for 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 a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. Prison officials said Brewer didn't eat any of it.

    I wonder if he asked that all of that food be mixed together in a bucket and topped with fried quail's eggs.
    Also known as the Hardees Low-Carb Texas Death Bowl.

    Image

    -Dan
  • Post #20 - January 26th, 2013, 8:08 am
    Post #20 - January 26th, 2013, 8:08 am Post #20 - January 26th, 2013, 8:08 am
    One man wanted only ice water as his last meal before execution. Another asked that his mother be allowed into the prison kitchen to make the chicken dumplings he loved. Another told the guards he had never had a birthday cake, so they bought him one, along with his formal last-meal request, a pizza. Some asked for nothing, or nothing special — a regular prison dinner, food from the vending machines, a cigarette and a soda.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/arts/ ... .html?_r=0
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #21 - January 29th, 2013, 11:25 am
    Post #21 - January 29th, 2013, 11:25 am Post #21 - January 29th, 2013, 11:25 am
    The clear choice for pre-execution last meal is, per uber-Yelper Cormac McCarthy, Olive Garden.
  • Post #22 - February 13th, 2013, 2:40 pm
    Post #22 - February 13th, 2013, 2:40 pm Post #22 - February 13th, 2013, 2:40 pm
    Amnesty International is running a campaign for abolishing the death penalty, using the Last Meals Of Executed Innocent Men. The images of recreated final meals definitely stirs emotion for me - thinking about sitting down to that final meal, knowing you're about to be wrongly executed.

    -Dan

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