What would you order for your last meal?

The last meal is a customary part of a condemned prisoner’s last day. The day before the appointed time of execution, the prisoner will be given the meal, as well as religious rites if he or she desires.In many countries the prisoner may have the luxury of selecting what the last meal will be (within reason), and the authorities do their best to provide a prisoner with the requested meal.

Last meal.Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 16 Dec 2008, 18:08 UTC. 19 Jan 2009

Rick McGinn - Declined Last Meal

Rick McGinn - Declined Last Meal, 1999-2000

Hamburger on bread, mashed potatoes and gravy, french fries

Hamburger on bread, mashed potatoes and gravy, french fries, 1999-2000

For many death row inmates in the United States, the last meal is the only order that an inmate can place while in prison. Artist Richard Kamler explored this subject with his “Last Meal” series, using the requested last meals by inmates in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. This small glimpse of who is being executed reveals the humanity that is often lost in the bureaucracy and controversy behind the death penalty. Through their representation as serial numbers, statistical figures, or political causes, death row inmates lose their basic identity as people.

For this project, Richard Kamler has expanded The Last Meal to those of us who are not incarcerated. Forcing us to think of our own mortality, we think of what would we order and, in effect, begin to relate to those on Death Row. On this site, we ask: what would you order for your last meal?

Please place your order in the comments section.

Curated by Jackie Im

The Last Meal is part of a series of e-mail exhibitions curated by NAIL (a curatorial collective in the California College of the Arts Curatorial Practice MA program) called Bad Moon Rising 3.2. Taking place over the course of twelve days, the e-mail exhibition exposes the dark underside of America through the arts.

For more information please visit:


21 Responses to “What would you order for your last meal?”

  1. I would order bulgogi, a Korean barbecue dish, including all of the small side dishes. It’s a dish that is very comforting and something that my mother would make.

  2. David Matorin Says:

    A steamed Chili Dog from Orange Julius in the Meadow Glenn Mall, Medford MA (closed 1989). Frled Catfish and Eggs from River Run’s original location in Plainfield VT (closed 2001). A flat Whole Wheat Everything Bagel from F Line, Brooklyn NY (stopped making flat bagels in 2005).

  3. Emily Gonzalez Says:

    The tuna tartar from Nobu, a burger from In N Out, a spicy tempura roll from Sansai, chicken adobo made by my grandmother, mashed potatoes from Tender Greens, the cookie dessert from Green Street Tavern, and a lot of prosecco.

  4. Home made lasagna with extra cheese, huge spinach salad with balsamic dressing, lucuma and chocolate mousse and a bottle of Shiraz (maybe two…)

  5. Mark Phillips Says:

    Well first, having been planning my escape for months, I’d order some food that would both attract and sedate all my guards, perhaps multiple bottles of some great wine for them, not for me, and some tryptophan rich turkey.

    If this failed I’d go for a Caesar salad from a premier restaurant with some garlic bread on the side. This would be followed by a hot corned beef sandwich from Carnegie Deli with a knish on the side and a bottle of cream soda. My dessert would either be New York cheesecake or a coffee milk shake or maybe both.

  6. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bowl of oatmeal, and a gigantic glass of ice cold milk.

  7. I would order some kind of sparkling water and an organic apple. Primarily because I doubt I would be very hungry, secondly because I like apples, and thirdly because the apple, whether wrongly or rightly, has been such a symbol of knowledge and misjudgment in our predominant culture. Good project.

  8. I’d start off with a big salad, all my favorite veggies in it, like cukes and snow peas. Then, I’d have to say homemade lasagna, like my mom makes. Some homemade bread and real butter to go alongside. A really nice white merlot to wash it all down. And for dessert? Boston Creme Pie and Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with eggnog.

  9. Frederick Loomis Says:

    Cheeseburger, fries & milkshake from the shakeshake in New York City.

  10. Fried chicken from Powell’s with collard greens, mashed potatoes w/ gravy (duh), and sweet corn – plus peach cobbler for dessert. As a digestif I would have a glass of Basil Hayden on the rocks and a full-proof escape plan hand delivered by MacGyver.

  11. Choose a blushing texas ruby red grapefruit which I would peel, take apart in segments, skin, and take in my mouth , segment by segment. I have eaten grapefruits early in the morning, late at night, in summer and in winter, with my father in quiet hours, with the love of my life on sunday mornings without cares or wordly woes. The fragrance carries sweetness and tangy earthiness. The juice opens me to the day and as each tiny capsule bursts open in my mouth I delight in living. And that is how I should wish the end.

  12. Julie Tijerina Says:

    I’d have chicken fried steak from the Rockett Cafe, squash casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy and some buttered green beans (the kind with the bacon in them). All topped off with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 1996. Also, one of those cookie monster sundaes with extra whipped cream and hot fudge. Luckly after consuming every bit, the state would be unable to execute me, as I would be dead of a heart attack.

  13. Spare-ribs, potato chips and chocolate ice cream. My favorite foods as a child are still what I crave. And I wouldn’t be worrying about my weight anymore. But craving food is part of living. Maybe I’d be so nervous, so petrified. my bowel so irritable , I wouldn’t be able to eat anything.

  14. Jerry Scoggins Says:

    Two gigantic baked potatoes with real butter and heaped with mounds of the best cottage cheese. Extra cottage cheese on the side if needed. The entire concoction, including skins is to be eaten. For desert, one whole pie of my Grandmother’s Graham Cracker Banana Cream Pie and washed down with one quart of ice cold whole milk that rests in a bowl of shaved ice. A small bottle of Pepto Bismo. Note: in the crust of the pie would be keys to all the doors to freedom.

    ME HAVE MY MEDICINE STRAIGHT…….or can I send my brother-in-law
    omstead or how about George Bush,,,,,more evil and deserving
    than and Cheney….lots of juice!!!!!!!!!

  16. A veggies burrito. refritos, salsa picante, sin crema, aguacate, queso. rice. comfort food for me.

  17. A veggie burrito with refried beans, hot sauce, guacamole, cheese, no sour cream. Comfort food.

  18. Michael Marcum Says:

    A sentimental last taste of my favorite top-of-the-line prison fare: A doughy sweet role covered in thick white icing, a pan of luke-warm rice-and-raisins covered in whole milk, a plate of SOS (shit-on-a-shingle) atop hours old toast, and a serving of chicory-filled coffee in a stained plastic tumbler.

  19. I would like to order barbecued chicken, fresh corn, and salad with balsamic vinegar dressing for all those that are hungry in San Francisco. I’d order it for the world, but that sounds like ‘pie in the sky.’ I’d like world peace for dessert. I wouldn’t be around to experience it, but it would be great comfort to know that I left some folks with a full belly and something to truly look forward to; like a clean slate.

  20. I likely would fast, in order to deprive the state of “giving” me anything as a token of false concern or false respect. Just the needle, please, and leave me the hell alone.

  21. Some vegetarian Ethiopian dishes: Miser Wot, Kik Alicha, Abesha Gommen, Atikilt Wot and Fosolia

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