What is Your Last Supper? Answer and You May Win a Cookbook!
By nrlowell on November 18, 2013
I don't know Ina Garten personally, though I did go to see her earlier this week. She was appearing at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and I felt like I couldn't pass up a chance to see her. The place was packed, and I was curious about what it was I was going to see Ina do. Was she going to cook, or give a talk? As it turned out the evening was a conversation/interview with journalist Patricia Talorica and Ina Garten, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.
I admit I was gratified that most of Ina's answers to the culinary questions were pretty much what mine would have been. There were some notable questions, especially from people who would pay to see a culinary icon. My favorite question of the night came from a woman who who wanted Ina's opinion about her plan to bone two turkeys for Thanksgiving in order to simplify the meal preparation. Ina was much more restrained in her answer than I would have been; I wanted to scream out 'are you out of your mind???' Ina's answer was the same message in a far classier delivery than I would have managed.
Which brings up a digression I feel compelled to make. Is it bone or debone? In the culinary world people use the phrase 'bone out', but I'm sure that's not really correct. And it seems that both bone and debone mean the same thing. Apparently because of the more sexual implication of boning, people have started using the term debone, though when you look up, debone the definition is bone. I just love English! So say whichever you prefer, but promise you will never say unthaw!
Anyway, the other question posed to Ina was what her death row last meal would be. Her meal was a meal that included Sauternes with every course. She started with fois gras, had a lobster course, and a dessert of chocolate cake. Although I don't usually frame it as a death row scenario, this is one of my favorite questions! It makes for great dinner party conversation. I have a book devoted entirely to this subject, and I love to pore over the photos and essays describing these anything goes, only what I really want meals. In My Last Supper the author poses five questions to a broad variety of chefs:
- What would be your last meal on earth?
- What would be the setting for the meal?
- What would you drink with your meal?
- Who would be your dining companions?
- Who would prepare the meal?
This is the sort of fantasy one could get lost in. Each question requiring both careful thought and consideration, as well as going with the 'Blink' philosophy of gut reaction. If your first thought is lobster, I think there better be lobster in that meal! Of course other than being on death row, or planning your own death, it is unlikely any of us will know which meal will be our last. Almost every one of my blood relatives has died quite suddenly. My mother's last meal was take-out Chinese food, and my step mother gave up real eating slowly over the last few months of her life, and probably the last bit of nourishment she had was some sort of nutritional supplement sort of drink. Though I have written about the last meal I made for her.
So I will put those five questions to you.
Send me the answers to these five questions about our last meal. I will accept submissions for the next week, until midnight (eastern time) Sunday, November 24th . The winner will get the beautiful and amazing new cookbook written by my friend Fran Costigan; Vegan Chocolate.
Your dinner can include any food you choose, your guests can be living or dead, though they should be actual people, not fictional characters. There will be only one winner, and that winner will be announced Tuesday, November 26th, and their response published that day, with links to you, your site, and/or blog.
As for me, here are my answers
My last meal:
- Olympia Oysters, and Beluga caviar served with Perrier et Jôuet Champagne
- Seared fois gras with port sauce and Sauternes (this was on my list before Ina mentioned it)
- Rack of lamb with french lentils and truffled mashed potatoes served with Ponzi Vineyards Tavola Pinot Noir
- Apple Tart with caramel sauce and almond-vanilla ice cream with Poire William
I would want this meal served under a white mesh tent at the beach in early October at dusk
With me would be my daughter, my dearest friends, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and David Sedaris.
I would have Thomas Keller prepare the meal.
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