Last Meal

LAST MEAL

We often dream of that great deli sandwich, burger, or other guilty delight which is typically not very healthy.  And, many of us do not have the luxury of knowing what our last meal might be.  Sometimes people pass suddenly, sometimes they are not well enough and are in a hospital and only going to eat what is given to them.

Ironically death row prisoners get a choice as to what their last meal will be.  If they refuse it, they are given steak, eggs, pretty much anything the prison kitchen has available, and its a variety of things so the prisoner cannot say he was not given a choice if he has no special request.  If it were my last meal, I am not sure how much of an appetite I would have, unless wrongly convicted, then I would certainly order the most lavish meal even if I did not even take one bite.

While I have expensive taste when it comes to some things, I don’t think mine would be lobster, caviar and champagne.  In fact, it might be a good stiff drink, followed by another good stiff drink, then maybe pizza, a burger, something fried like shrimp and french fries, calamari.  I don’t know right now and don’t know what it will be should that day come tomorrow or in 50 years.  Sadly, many in the end when they know they are on their way don’t have much of an appetite.  For one of my childhood favorites, comedian Lou Costello, it was a strawberry milkshake in a hospital.  It was brought in from the outside and he had been eating hospital food for weeks.  He simply said “that was the best strawberry milkshake ever” and then passed away.  Ironically, my mother too wanted ice cream.  She loved ice cream, chocolate or vanilla, but that is all the resting home had, for days she was asking if they had strawberry.  So finally I went out and bought a pint of the best strawberry ice cream I could find.  It happened to be Haagen Dazs.  While that might not be the very best, I did choose it because it did not have whole fruits in it, it did have a lot more air, so it was easier to eat, and that is what I decided to buy.  I don’t remember the cost, but I thought for sure my mother would scold me for buying an expensive ice cream when we were paying the nursing home for things like meals and ice cream.  She was very frugal like that.  She really hadn’t eaten much in a week but she went through almost half the container and then said how delicious that was and to leave a tip to the nurses (she was medicated and perhaps forgot where the ice cream came from), but that alone was priceless, I would have happily paid anything I could for that amount of satisfaction on her face, but it cost me less than $5 I am sure.

As morbid as this posting might be, its something we should think about if you love food and love life.  At least once in awhile you should decide what your 10 favorite meals are, and have one at least once a month.  Forget the diets, forget what is good and bad for you, you only live once, and sometimes you don’t know when your time is coming.  So don’t be reckless, but do take time to enjoy things you love like food.

We are living in uncertain times, if our health is not an issue, we don’t know when tragedy will strike.  You can be at home watching TV, driving home from work, even driving home from a happy occasion like a wedding, or worse yet, being in the wrong place at the wrong time where there is a terrorist or senseless terror-like attack.

I don’t need to punctuate this post with the tragedy that happened in Aurora, Colorado today, but its heavy on my mind.  I’ve been depressed all day, and I finally realized that life is too short.  While I am Italian, I don’t agree with the Romans like we should live every day like our last.  Otherwise, there will be no special occasions and we will sooner die from heart disease, end up bankrupt, or perpetually hungover.  But, if a Saturday or holiday weekend (and we do get one every month), and you are doing well on your diet, sure, go ahead, have that bacon double cheeseburger with fries and chocolate shake.  Have that pizza with pepperoni, have that extra glass of wine or beer.  Just don’t over do it, because the next time you have that craving, you will get sick of the very thought of the last time you did that.  So don’t ruin it.  Go slow, enjoy, don’t feel guilty, and don’t do it often.  The next time, you can enjoy another one of your favorite meals.

If I can say or insist on anything from anyone, it would be that at least once a week, probably a Sunday, as is the Italian tradition, to have a meal with your entire family as much as it is possible.  What I wouldn’t give for one last round of Sunday Gravy with relatives who have passed on.  I’d happily pay $1,000 to be at a long table with foldable chairs on the ends to accommodate everyone just like we once used to do during the holidays at my aunt’s.  Its priceless, enjoy it while you can.

Again, while it may be morbid to decide what our last meal should be, we should make a list and try to enjoy them before its too late.

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