Death Row: The Last Meal

This morning I read an article that took me aback. It was about prisoners’ last meals, but thing that really got me was that these men were later found to be innocent. Not only did this get me thinking about my stance on the death penalty, It also got me thinking about what I would, heavens forbid, choose for my last meal. Additionally, as a psychology major who’s passionate about personality analysis, I found myself evaluating what the prisoners’ food choices revealed about their mindsets. By no means are their last meals exact representations of their personalities, but, just like the idea that what’s in your fridge tells a lot about who you are, they most definitely give insight into their wants, likes, preferences, and longings, and more. Nevertheless, on a less psychoanalytic front, researchers have also suggested that “patterns, like the paucity of vegetarian meals, could reflect the socioeconomic backgrounds of people on death row.”

Examples of the last meals chosen by people on Death Row are as follows:

Velma Barfield: Cheez Doodles and

Furthermore, of great interest is that renowned chefs have said they would opt for simple meals, like roast beef (Gordon Ramsay), spaghetti (Jamie Oliver), and a tuna sandwich with bacon, accompanied by a Krispy Kreme doughnut and a Corona (Laurent Tourondel). Does this show that, on Death Row, for example, they’d long to return to childhood food because they spark memories of innocence, and thus offer comfort? Or do simple foods simply make the situation seem less complex and overwhelming. Or perhaps it’s because simple foods, like fried chicken and macaroni cheese, are considered unhealthful, and thus perfectly fine to eat just before you die because you won’t have to deal with guilt, regret, and physical “yuckiness”. All I know is that I too would choose to indulge in a feast of the likes of Chips Ahoy cookies and cheese laden sandwiches, washed down with a creamy, extra vanilla-y milkshake. No shame.

Of further interest, is portion size. In my case, I’d “go to town” on my last meal, but, as shown by some Death Row prisoners’ choices, some choose only to have a bunch of grapes, black coffee, or even just one olive. That said, a study found that the average meal request contained 2,756 calories, delivered in the form of fried foods (mostly french fries) and dessert, while, shockingly, a handful of the 193 meals studied came in at upwards of 7,200 calories– ouch! Perhaps these such meals, where a lot of the food goes uneaten, are one last jab at society, as well as a “take that” to authority.

Side note: when choosing what your final supper would consist of, bear in mind the saying “you’re only as good as your last meal!”

What would you choose? A feast? Junk food? I’m curious!

Click here to see some celebrities’ last meals.


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