If you found yourself in a position to make the choice, what would you choose to have for your final meal?? It’s an interesting question for any number of reasons, not only because it gets you thinking about what foods you love most, but about how we think about food, and the deep connections between what’s on our plates and what’s in our hearts.
Last Meals, a recent article in Lapham’s Quarterly, got me thinking – yet again – about this question, and pointed me toward an oddly fascinating blog called Dead Man Eating, which details actual last meals of those about to be executed.? Both are worth checking out.
So what would you choose, and even more interestingly, why would you choose it?? Is it simply a matter of what foods taste best to you?? Would you choose foods that allowed you to feel a moment of physical luxury in the moments before your body gave out?? Would it be foods which summoned the presence of loved ones who prepared or served you the chosen dishes?
Of course, the most common association with this question, actually going back to the “original” last supper, is the choice made by a person condemned to die.? And clearly, that context brings all kinds of baggage to the choice making process.
You might choose to eat in a way that sends a message to those you leave behind.? You might choose foods which made extreme demands of those who were going to kill you, as a prisoner did some years back when he asked for lobsters and fine wine.? His request, by the way, was denied.
But if we can get past that common association with the last meal chosen by the condemned, the question focuses our attention on what it is we really enjoy, and then maybe invites us to live in light of that well before it’s time for our last meal.
Brad Hirschfield is the co-founder and co-executive editor of The Wisdom Daily. A rabbi, Brad has been featured on ABC’s Nightline UpClose, PBS’s Frontline, Fox News and National Public Radio. He wrote a long-standing column, “For God’s Sake,” for the Washington Post, and has also written for The Huffington Post and Beliefnet.com. He authored the book, You Don?t Have To Be Wrong For Me To Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism. Brad also serves as President of Clal, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City.