What Would You Choose for Your Very Last Meal? | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
Fried chicken: the last meal of choice. (Courtesy of Flickr user Sikachu)

What Would You Choose for Your Very Last Meal?

That's what the National Museum of Crime and Punishment asked 500 of its visitors

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That's what the National Museum of Crime and Punishment asked 500 of its visitors recently. At first I was really scared by the survey results—the most common response was "a bucket of KFC original recipe chicken, french fries, a dozen deep-fried shrimp and a pound of strawberries." In addition to being a nutritional nightmare (though I guess there's nothing wrong with gorging on artery-clogging foods if you know your heart's about to stop beating anyway), that particular menu happens to replicate serial killer John Wayne Gacy's last meal. Apparently Timothy McVeigh, Ted Bundy, and even Saddam Hussein are also popular culinary role models.

Turns out the survey probably skewed its own results, though, since it started by listing exactly what those killers chose for a last meal before offering people a blank space for their own responses. Still...if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...yeah, I'm still scared.

The rest of the top-10-most-requested list proves less disturbing: ice cream, steak, pizza, lobster, hamburger, spaghetti, sushi, crab, and potatoes. Beyond that, many people said they craved specific junk food, like Pop-Tarts or Burger King value meals, while a few responses sounded like the menu at a good restaurant: "Medium rare sirloin steak, lobster tail, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice latte, chilled Riesling and an 8-piece salmon avocado sushi roll." (Presumably not in that order.)

A few visitors dreamed up exotic requests, like "zebra steak and a leg of giraffe" or a "dodo burger" (now that's clever, if your executioners had agreed to hold off until they had fulfilled your last meal request!) and several of the morbid menus involved understandably vast amounts of alcohol.

Other responses were comical: "Chocolate moose pie," (okay, they probably meant mousse, but I like the image), "All the candy in the world," "Live Maine lobster" (you want it to eat it alive?), and "I like, I don't know."

I think the best response was simply one word: "Hemlock."

And you?

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About Amanda Bensen

Amanda Bensen is a former assistant editor at Smithsonian and is now a senior editor at the Nature Conservancy.

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