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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Last Supper

I know, I know, that title sounds totally irreverent.  Or maybe ominous.  Take your pick.

On Sunday mornings, David and I always listen to Weekend Edition Sunday on NPR.  I shout out the answers to the weekend puzzle quiz, and David tries to have deep conversations about foreign affairs while we eat breakfast. 
Sunday's topic:  what would you eat for your last meal, if you could plan it?

The conversation was sparked by a conversation the new host, Audie Cornish, had with a writer named Melanie Dunea, who wrote a book called My Last Supper:  the Next Course.  Dunea had the enviable task of interviewing fifty chefs and asking them what they would eat for their last meal.  It was a great interview, capped by the conclusion that an absurd number of chefs would choose foie gras, truffles and caviar for inclusion in the meal.

Photo from  This is the second book on this topic that Dunea has written,
with different chefs featured in each one.
It's a wonderful interview, funny and incisive in terms of how we would want that meal to be spent, and what foods mean the most to us.  I would love to hear what others think of it, and the link is here:

This sparked a long conversation about what David and I would choose.  For him, it had more to do with where the meal took place and who would attend--fair things to consider, since good company makes any meal better.  For me, it was about the flavors and textures that I would want to savor for one last time.  Neither of us even considered having a luxury product like caviar or foie gras as part of the meal.

Here's the rough outline of the menu and beverage pairings I would choose:

Trofie pasta with pesto and shaved pecorino
Beverage pairing:  French Rose or Italian Arneis

Steak frites
Beverage pairing:  Washington State Cabernet blend or California Merlot

Arugula salad with sea salt and shallot-lemon vinaigrette
Beverage pairing:  Sparkling wine from Soter Vineyard (Oregon) or Iron Horse (California)

Cheese course
Beverage pairing:  French Chablis

Assorted petit fours and macarons
Beverage pairing:  Coffee and Mint Tea

Nothing fancy there, just classics prepared perfectly.  The dessert choice was a cop out, I'll admit--I adore cake and small desserts, but didn't feel strongly enough to select a single dessert.  Plus I'd be so stuffed by that point that I wouldn't want much sweet.

I'd be fascinated to hear what others would choose--I'm also thinking it would make a great table topic the next time I have a dinner party.

What would you choose?


  1. What a great topic! I'd need at least a couple days to round out my menu...but I know tuna tartare would be in there somewhere :)

  2. That's a big question! I'd have to truly consider the menu, but I already know that dessert would hands down be my aunt's mousse au chocolat.

    Hmmm, let's see.

    For starters, tuna carpaccio, for pasta, I'd have my mom's baked maccaroni casserole, for meat my dad's Arabian leg of lamb, as a side saffron rice with nuts. Definitely a cheese course including brie and chevre, plus warm bread with olive oil. And the the mousse au chocolat. I'd probably die just from all the food, after! :)

    Great post!

  3. That is a question to ponder. I love to relax on the weekends and listen to NPR. I will have to check out this book. I know who I would have my dinner with (family) but I am unsure about my menu. I might be inspired by yours.

  4. Great post. I'd need a few days to think about that one. :-)

  5. Great post! I would need to think about it but i know cheesecake would figure somewhere!

  6. That's a great question! For me, it would definitely be Italian food since that is what reminds me the most of my childhood and family. Definitely some homemade pastas, manicotti, meatballs, and tiramisu for dessert!

  7. I don't need any time....and mine is easy! I want a big, fat, juicy, perfectly cooked cheeseburger with all the trimmings. HOT, salty fries and a couple of diet sodas!

    My all-time favorite meal!

  8. This would be a hard to narrow down, but I am sure it would include a very expensive serving of beef tenderloin that would cut like butter.

  9. I am not sure on this as my kind of food is totally different, you know ours is either pairing with rice or noodles with high on top spicy taste.

    Some of it I have not heard before though except the coffee and mint tea.

  10. I remember bits and pieces of that discussion. I try not to dwell on my last meal... but chocolate and berries would be there somewhere. And maybe everything that's not good for me.

  11. Oh I don't think I could narrow it down to just one meal, I just love food too much. Think I will pour a glass of wine and think on it. Hum, Red or White, Oh how I hate making decisions!!

  12. I'm so excited by everyone's comments on here. Please think about it and come back with what you've decided!

    @Lizzy, a seared tuna appetizer definitely could have been on my menu. It makes for a delicious starter.

    @healthyfoodietravels, chocolate mousse would be a great choice of a dessert! And good bread is a MUST.

    @Ann, I am so with you on good fries! They're one of my favorite bad-for-you foods, which is why they ended up on my final menu.

    @Stephanie, Italian food was a huge consideration for me too--there was no way that pasta wouldn't be on this menu!

    @Tina, beef tenderloin would be a great choice. Steak was the first thing that came to mind for a main.

    @Nava.K--the reason this is such a fun question is that everyone's menu would be totally different based on culture and what foods are meaningful.

  13. What a great topic! Great post. Thanks:).

  14. It all looks so good! It's so difficult to choose between such good things, but I'm sure it will all come together. Let me know how it goes!

  15. I play this game with all my friends at dinner parties.I would choose scallops wrapped in bacon to start. Lobster ravioli for main, followed by a passion fruit pavlova. So many of my friends go for their mum's roast dinner.

  16. What a great post! You have certainly got me thinking!

  17. very interesting post..thanks for sharing..
    first time here..amazing space you have..
    great presentation..
    happy following you..;)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  18. Mine would definitely include lots of carbs & fried foods! :)

  19. After much deliberation, I think I would start with pumpkin ravioli with sage butter, followed by a rib-eye steak that has hit searing heat for about a minute, with a mustard Bernaise, frites, watercress and spinach salad. For dessert, apple Tarte Tatin with cardamom ice cream, and a cheese board with walnuts, celery and black grapes. Note this is my Autumn (Fall) last supper, I would alter it according to the season! Lovely post, great question.