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Killer Eats 

Last meals to die for

Food, glorious food. We love it. We need it. More than half the country is overweight because of it. And we all have our favorites. Family recipes and local restaurant dishes that we turn to again and again, to celebrate special occasions, comfort us when we're upset, or simply to save us the trouble of cleaning our kitchen.

But what if you could have only one last meal? And we're not talking a Christ-type last supper -- pretty much goes without saying that's a bread-and-wine kind of occasion. What if, say, you committed a heinous crime and were sentenced to die tomorrow? Plenty of people have been there. And plenty of other people are fascinated by what death row denizens choose for their final menu. Until last December, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice -- well-known leaders in American executions -- had a page on its website dedicated to death row inmates' final repast requests. Books have been written about criminals' last meals, and the website deadmaneating.com is devoted to the subject. And with very few exceptions, these condemned souls take full advantage of the opportunity to eat whatever they want on their respective states' dimes.

Who wouldn't? John Wayne Gacy (executed in Illinois, 1994), for instance, enjoyed Kentucky Fried Chicken, fried shrimp, french fries, strawberries and Diet Coke. Walter LaGrand (Arizona, 1999) supped upon six fried eggs, 16 strips of bacon, hash browns, pineapple sherbet, a breakfast steak, a cup of ice, 7-Up, Dr. Pepper, Coke, hot sauce, coffee and -- of course -- four Rolaids. And Aileen Wuornos (Florida, 2002), so popular these days as portrayed by an uglified but Oscar-winning Charlize Theron in Monster, ate only a burger and other snack foods from the prison's canteen. Then you have Robert Buell (Ohio, 2002), who hoped his final meal of a single black, unpitted olive would one day sprout from his body an olive tree (as far as we know, it didn't).

To get you in a last-meal state of mind, your intrepid CL staffers have offered their idea of fine day-before-death dining. So if, like so many others, you're interested in execution cuisine, grab a fork, strap on a bib and prepare for some comestible punishment.

Matt Brunson
Film Editor

If I have a soulmate in the canine world, it would have to be that dog in the TV commercial who bounds around yelling, "Bacon! It's BACON!!"

Honestly, is there a more perfect food on the planet than bacon? Never mind that it causes the arteries to clog up like I-77 following a snowstorm. But is there a better tasting -- and better smelling -- food than these delectable strips of Porky Pig? I think not. Even a vegetarian friend says the mere whiff of bacon constantly reminds her that it's the one meat she misses the most.

So for a last supper, bacon would be at the top of the list. Nothing fancy, mind you -- no bacon milkshake or bacon and jelly sandwich. Just a couple dozen crispy strips.

But what else? Ah, so many options, so little expandable jean space. But off the top of my head, I'd have to go with chicken wings with ranch dressing as an appetizer, rice as the starch, either watermelon or strawberries for a fruit, and, for dessert, my house specialty: An ice cream sandwich melted in the microwave for eight seconds and then lovingly lathered with peanut butter. Hey, don't knock it till you've tried it.

For a beverage, it would have to be milk for the main course and then coffee afterward -- life simply isn't worth living without these two drinks always on hand. If I was extremely thirsty and absolutely craved a soft drink, I'd lean toward Dr. Pepper, with Coca-Cola and Sunkist slugging it out for second place.

I realize that I'm missing just about the most nutritious of all food groups. Yup, a vegetable. For that, I'd opt for green beans. Swimming in bacon grease, of course.

Lindsey Grossman
Editorial Coordinator

Since I would be worry-free about food poisoning, fat grams, calories and cholesterol, I'd make my last meal a fast food feast. I'd start off with a 6-piece order of McDonald's Chicken McNuggets (the new, all-white-meat ones). My second course would consist of a Mexican pizza from Taco Bell, a Cajun fillet biscuit from Bojangles with extra mayo, an Arby's junior roast beef sandwich (my stomach is only so big), a White Castle cheeseburger (from the actual restaurant, not the frozen kind), and an order of McDonald's fries on the side. Dessert would be a tie between a Jamocha shake from Arby's and a Wendy's frosty with fries for dipping. This would all be washed down with a regular fountain Coke from McDonald's. Yes, the Coke has to be from McDonald's -- they just taste better there. Sounds crazy, but I swear I'm not the only one who feels that way. Then I would pray to be put out of my misery before indigestion set in.

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