Two summers ago while bicycling up Highway 61 I remember trying to engage my daughter in a conversation about last meals in an effort to take my mind off of what was quite possibly one of the most miserable days of my life. The proposed subject was food – specifically your last meal. I got into the spirit of it but Sarah mostly grimaced doing her polite best to avoid telling me to just shut the f**k up.

I can’t say that I blame her as if I remember correctly I broached the subject while it was her turn pulling the overloaded, pogoing bike trailer pedaling again for a 3rd consecutive day into a freezing cold stiff wind coming straight off Lake Superior.

Revisiting that mostly monologue conversation now, I have to say that the subject of last meals is truly a conversation of last resort. Or possibly a drunken conversation taken while still stupefied after consuming some enormous meal. Or perhaps the imaginings of a starving man. Or the droolings of fat people.

That said, last meals on those few absurd occasions are contextually relevant. So it is not unreasonable for me to say that I am in broad disagreement with today’s celebrity chefs who maintain that even if they were to give thought to something as ridiculous as a last meal then it would be something simple like mom’s macaroni and cheese or some of her fresh churned butter on fresh baked bread.

No. If my end was imminent and my sense of humor intact sufficient to savor one last mortal pleasure before I left this earth then I guarantee that my request would be a meal far more interesting. But first I would pour myself a very large Scotch to which I would drop in a single ice cube, then fire up a dark and immensely chewy Cuban cigar (with flavors of charred Chateaubriand) and ponder the following list:

  1. Assorted kimchis followed by a Roman style tripe stew
  2. Oysters Rockefeller followed by roasted chicken w/ new potatoes and rosemary pork fat chunks under the skin
  3. Chicken livers on toast followed by a rare roast duck breast with mashed potatoes
  4. Gravlax, onion and capers on crusty bread followed by roast goose with potatoes roasted in goose fat
  5. Raw fatty toro followed by grilled octopus over charcoal
  6. Big green salad with backstrap of venison w/ shitake mushroom gravy, and roasted vegetables w/ olive oil and sea salt
  7. Foie gras followed by braised rabbit
  8. Arugula salad with pasta and smoked whitefish, capers combined in cream
  9. Peruvian ceviche
  10. Greek Salad w/ sourdough bread
  11. Grilled Alaskan Salmon/Halibut
  12. Pickled pigs feet followed by Cassoulet
  13. Roasted bone marrow on toast followed by duck legs in confit
  14. Pho
  15. Tea boiled eggs and Chinese Noodle Soup
  16. Japanese Udon Miso Noodle Soup
  17. Kimchi stew
  18. Argentine grilled beef w/ eggplant and onions
  19. Beef skirt steak grilled over mesquite with onions and sautéed wild mushrooms
  20. Pate followed by a thick Porterhouse steak w/ morel mushrooms
  21. Steamed asparagus served with a mixed seafood terrine
  22. Red Posole with all the trimmings
  23. Fried perch, sweet corn, mashed potatoes and strawberry shortcake
  24. Sauerkraut and pork Alsatian style
  25. Corned beef sandwich w/ sauerkraut
  26. NYC hotdogs w/ sauerkraut and mustard
  27. Chicken masala
  28. A medley of dove and quail stir-fried w/ mushrooms and mustard greens
  29. A half-pound grilled hamburger w/ French fries, Bermuda onion, cheese, tomatoes, and sliced green olives
  30. Oysters on the half shell followed by a dish of Boeuf Bourguignon
  31. Caviar followed by medallions of Veal in a Sherry Wine Sauce