Imagine that you’ve been sentenced to death. You’ve committed a horrible crime and now have to pay the consequences. I know this is a dark way to start off, but stay with me for a second. Now, despite what you did, you’ve been given a chance to have one final meal. What do you choose?
It’s a tough question to answer. You can have any food you can think of, how do you decide?1And you thought picking a place to get delivery from was hard? Now in reality, this last meal doesn’t work exactly like that. For example, if you really had committed this fake horrible crime, you might not be able to request alcohol. If you were being held in Florida, you would have to pick things that could be purchased locally and under $40. In Oklahoma, you only get a budget of $15!
This conversation becomes a lot less fun if we use these sorts of restrictions though.2Although, it would be challenging to work within that $15 restriction. Maybe that’s an article for another time. So for the sake of this discussion, consider all of your options available. Well, almost all of your options because we do need to keep this within reason. We’ll need to establish some rules of our own to keep things within reason. But let’s start by taking a look at what not to do.
Refuse to order a meal.
Everyone has been talking about Ted Bundy in the wrong way. The majority of the discussion has been around whether or not he’s attractive. That isn’t hard to figure out.
On a scale from 1 (ugly) – 10 (sexy as hell), Ted Bundy scores a 1. 0. Negative a billion.3Similar to Tom Haverford’s reaction when Leslie Knope asks how attractive he finds the fact that she graduated Summa Cum Laude in Parks & Rec.
We should be talking about how he declined the opportunity to pick his last meal. He basically found a magic lamp, rubbed it, had a genie appear, and when the genie told him he could grant him one wish, he told the genie, “whatever you want to give me for a wish is fine.”
Instead, he got served what was called the traditional meal: medium rare steak, over-easy eggs, hash browns, toast, milk, coffee, juice, butter, and jelly. That’s a decent breakfast that I could see myself ordering from a diner on a random weekend. Maybe swap the steak for some bacon or sausage and the toast for an everything bagel or an english muffin and we are making some strong improvements. Last meal worthy though? That’s a stretch.
You can’t let someone else decide your special meal. You have to control the situation and go out on your own terms. Like Jake Peralta.
Order dirt for your last meal.
I know this seems obvious, but let me introduce you to James Edward Smith. He ordered a lump of dirt for his last meal. Do not order a lump of dirt for your last meal. The only way dirt would be an acceptable word to be included with your food order is if you were asking for a dirt cake and you are under the age of 10. Neither of those things were true in this situation.4Luckily, the lump of dirt request was denied and he settled for a cup of yogurt. Still not a great last meal, but it definitely beats a lump of dirt.
Request a single item when it usually comes with more than one of that item.
This one could use some additional explanation. For example, don’t order a single french fry instead of an order of fries from McDonald’s. Or a single chip from a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos. Or a single unpitted olive from a jar/can of olives. Why did I include olives?
Two different people (Victor Feguer and Robert Anthony Buell) ordered a single, unpitted olive for their last meal. I don’t understand how this was ordered. Twice! That’s not a meal. That’s not even a snack. That’s what you ask for if you are trying something for the first time and you aren’t sure if you’re going to like it, so you tell someone that you’ll try one to start.
Be like Lawrence Russell Brewer.
First off, this dude is a murderer. Don’t be a murderer.
Second, this is what he requested for his last meal: Two chicken fried steaks smothered in gravy with sliced onions; a triple meat bacon cheeseburger with fixings on the side; a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapeños; a large bowl of fried okra with ketchup; one pound of barbecue with half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas with fixings; a Meat Lover’s pizza; three root beers; one pint of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream; and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts.
You might be wondering, what’s wrong with that request? He asked for all of his favorite things Well, he got everything he requested and when the meal arrived, he refused it and said he wasn’t hungry. That’s messed up. I’ve definitely ordered way more than I could handle, but I still attempted to eat as much as I could.
And that’s not it. As a result of this refusal to eat his requested meal, Texas decided to stop granting last meal requests to condemned inmates. So this asshole ruined last meals for everyone in Texas for the rest of time. That’s some next level evil. Don’t be like this man.
So here are the rules we are going to use to determine what would be the best last meal to order.
Your last meal consists of one entree, one drink, and one dessert. If your entree typically comes with other things (like a burger usually comes with fries), that is included with your entree selection automatically. We aren’t animals after all, we know you can’t eat a burger without fries.5Tots would also be acceptable to eat with a burger.
That’s it. That’s the rule we have to work with. No budgets. No limitations on where the item is coming from. It doesn’t even matter if the item was discontinued or if a restaurant is closed. It doesn’t matter if the family member that made the meal passed away or if their recipe has been lost. In this hypothetical scenario, we can make anything happen. I mean, we have that genie Ted Bundy wasted.
The easy place to start is to think about all of your favorite dishes. For me, that’s pizza, burgers, tacos, sushi, ramen, and pasta. The next logical step is to pick the best versions of each meal, whether it’s a family recipe or a restaurant. I also want to be sure I’ve had it before. I don’t want to be trying something new for the first time and have the potential of it not being good or as good as something I’ve had before. That would be a terrible way to go out.
I’m going to start by eliminating sushi and ramen because there are way too many places I haven’t tried yet that could and probably are way better than what I’ve had so far. I know I can’t go wrong with sushi or ramen because I’ve never had bad sushi or ramen, but I want a definitive favorite before I pick it as my last meal.
I’m also going to pick my drink and dessert now, because those are much easier. My dessert, funfetti cupcakes with funfetti frosting from Betty Crocker. I don’t know why, but I just love funfetti cupcakes. I’m that guy in Love, Actually holding the sign “To me, you are perfect” as funfetti cupcakes look out the window. They are perfect in every way and I don’t want anything less than perfect to be the last thing I eat. Give me the whole batch too.
As for the drink, it has to be Stone Xocoveza, on tap and nitro. That’s the best beer I’ve ever had. Here’s how it’s described on their website: “its amazing flavor profile is evocative of Mexican hot chocolate, featuring coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and a generous amount of our own in-house made chocolate.” I’ll take a keg of that, please and thank you!
Now to the meal. Here is the final four we are left with after my elimination of sushi and ramen:
Pizza = Modern Apizza in New Haven. Large, Pepperoni.
Burger = Au Cheval in Chicago. The double cheeseburger with an egg and bacon. Of course, fries on the side.
Shrimp Tacos = La Puerta in San Diego. Ranchero shrimp tacos, rice on the side.
My Mom’s spaghetti and meatballs6Not to be confused with the version Eminem raps about. = My childhood house in Connecticut. My Mom’s sauce, angel hair linguine, and my Mom’s meatballs. Garlic bread and green beans on the side.
If these meals had rankings, the number 1 seed would be pizza. The number 2 seed goes to my Mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. The 3 seed would be the burger and the 4 seed is the shrimp tacos. With that logic, I’m matching the 1 seed against the 4 seed and the 2 seed against the 3 seed, similar to the college football playoff. Only this has all of the right participants and is guaranteed to make me happy.
#1 v #4 – Modern Apizza Pepperoni Pizza v La Puerta Shrimp Tacos.
Shrimp tacos are great. Pizza is great. This is a solid matchup. They both fold when you eat them.7If you don’t fold your pizza in some way when you eat it, you’re doing it wrong. They are both great street food options. They are affordable and rarely let you down. Through halftime, they are tied up. However, pizza comes out of halftime like the Golden State Warriors and snatches the lead, dominating the 3rd quarter and pulling away in the final 5 mins of the 4th. Pizza has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid and is one of the only foods that has maintained its status as one of my favorites through it all. It’s got the talent and it’s consistent.
Winner: Modern Apizza
#2 v #3 – Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatballs v Au Cheval Burger.
This matchup looks good on paper. Burgers have been a favorite of mine for a long time. I’ve tried a lot of them, but Au Cheval’s is next level. Add the bacon and egg. It’s a thing of beauty. Nostalgia is a tough thing to beat though. I’ve grown up on my Mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. Consistently beaten all the other Mom’s spaghetti and meatball recipes. Everyone always says their Mom’s sauce and meatballs are the best, but they are all wrong. Mom’s spaghetti and meatballs leads throughout this one and takes a double digit lead at the end.
Winner: Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatballs
That brings us to the championship. The matchup all the analysts predicted. #1 v #2. They were the favorites all season long and they earned their chance to be crowned the champion and become my last meal.
Now comes the Italian showdown. Bread and cheese against pasta and meat. It’s a heavyweight fight. It’s like when Clemson and Alabama faced each other in 2017. The first half of this one is a battle. Pizza is so reliable and always there, especially when you need it at 2AM after a night of drinking. It’s got the perfect ingredients. Pizza goes into the half with a slight advantage.
Mom’s spaghetti and meatballs comes out of the half ready to put up a fight. Nothing can compare to Monday nights at home growing up. Like clockwork, that was spaghetti night for my family. Nothing could compare. But pizza is the gold standard. Everyone loves pizza. It’s a classic and you can never go wrong with pizza. It takes the lead late in the 4th. Mom’s spaghetti and meatballs isn’t going down easy though. It’s ready for one final drive. What’s crazy about my Mom’s spaghetti and meatballs is that the ingredients aren’t anything special, especially when it comes to the sauce. In fact, it’s super basic and easy to make. For whatever reason though, it just works and I’ve yet to eat another sauce I liked more than it. Same goes for the meatballs. It’s got that extra something to push it over the top. Mom’s spaghetti and meatballs upsets pizza on a last second score.
Final score: Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatballs 35, Modern Apizza 31 (same score as the Clemson v Alabama game in 2017, weird). Don’t ask me how the scoring works.
Winner: Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatballs
The perfect last meal is Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatballs. Stone Xocoveza. Funfetti cupcakes. Mangia mangia!