“If you could eat ANYTHING you wanted, what would it be?”, is a question game that many foodies have been playing for years.
Award-winning Photographer Melanie Dunea has taken the question a step further. Ms. Dunea asked 50 chefs to describe what would be their ideal final meal? What would the setting be? What drinks would be drank? Who would be present? Would there be music? And who would prepare the meal?
The result is her book titled
“My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals”.
Available from good bookshops and online, it makes great reading and has some wonderful portraits, as well as some interesting recipes.
In “Good ole Laocook fashion”, we decided to make our own simplified version.
We asked a few friends to join in, and for your viewing pleasure, the answers can be found below. 🙂
Lao-Ocean Girl is teaching English in Korea and describes herself as
“a glass half full kind of girl”.
A decadent Cheese Platterof 8-10 varieties, most of them sharp and strong. Also throw in some Salami for good measure.
Steamed Oysters with Sweet Chilli sauce.
A Fruit Platter of: Blueberries, Blackberries, Durian, Jackfruit, Avocado, Persimmons, Mangoes, Custard Apples, Mangosteens, and Guavas.
Lightly buttered White Corn on the cob.
Extremely large variety of fresh Sushi, with extra Tuna Toro and Salmon.
Crispy Roast Duck.
A bowl of Pho (a dish of perhaps Vietnamese origins with Rice Noodles served in a Stock (Broth) normally made with Beef bones (or Chicken) and cuts such as Oxtail, Flank etc…) with soft Beef Tendon, Fatty Brisket, well done Flank, and 2 Vietnamese Meatballs.
Dim sum of: Shumai (Steamed Pork and Shrimp/or Crab dumplings), Fung Jeow (Steamed Chicken’s feet), Har Gau (translucent Shrimp dumplings).
Sliced Mangoes on Coconut Sticky Rice (Thai style).
Balls of Mochi (Rice Cake) Ice Cream.
Flan & Cream Puffs.
Starbuck’s blended Mocha Frappuccino.
Pocari Sweat (A popular Japanese Sports/Soft Drink).
And some Red Wine.
“I was born in Laos, moved to Thailand at a very young age and had some schooling there. I like to read and translate Thai magazine articles and find some of their stories and culture to be very interesting because it’s very similar to our culture. I’m currently living in the United States.”
My Last Meal:
I think Lao/Thai foods are a huge part of me, and for my last meal.
I would want to eat something that is familiar.
I’d want to eat my Spring Rolls
served with Ginger and Chili sauce for appetizer followed by;
Tum Buk Houng (Spicy Laotian Green Papaya Salad).
Clams with Spicy Ginger Sauce.
Red Curry Chicken Soup with Thai Eggplants.
Stir-fried Mushrooms with Ginger.
For dessert I would have Black Sticky Rice with Egg Custard and Mango.
I love coffee, so I would settle for Ice Coffee, and it would be great if I could eat my last meal on a balcony in Laos overlooking the Mekong River.
Somchai is the man behind Lao Bumpkin and divides his time between Colorado and Laos.
He says his site is about, “Travel, food and other things connected to Laos and Laotians…. or maybe not”.
A keen lover of Laos and Lao Foods, he also posts recipes of Lao dishes on his site, which I am sure are prepared by Mrs. Bumpkin. 🙂
I figured I’d better choose something to stick to my ribs and that I can pack for a long bus ride. I’ve no illusions as to which way I’m headed. I’ll be “Ping” (Grilled) Somchai for a long time…
Well if it were my last meal I’d better make it a filling one to last me a while, and maybe something I could pack with me to take on my journey.
Some meals I can eat over and over again.
Ping Moo (Lao BBQ Grilled Pork),
Jeao Mak Len (Laotian Style Tomato Chutney) with
Sticky Rice with some fresh greens on the side and a jug of water would do me fine. Simple, delicious, filling.
The Pork in Laos is farm raised and juicy, Cilantro (Home Pum/Coriander) has twice the flavour it does here in the States. I do like the Jeao with Nam Pa (Sauce/Dip with Fish Sauce), not Nam Padek (Lao Fermented Fish Liquid), and with bits of charcoal from cooking mixed in.
For music I like the swish of a ceiling fan. Down the street I hear Morlam at volume from some guys drinking Lao Lao (a distilled Laotian spirit) in the late afternoon.
To go I wrap the Ping Moo in a piece of plastic and stick it in the top of the Sticky Rice basket. Likewise with the left over Jeao Mak Len. I’d chug a couple or three glasses of water, because it might well be warm down where I’m headed!
Now I guess that I’d better chip in my 173 KIP, or better known as 2 US Cents or 1 Euro Cent
I wouldn’t want to dwell on the reason why I would be sitting down to my last meal, but I know that I would want to try some things that I have never tried before, alongside some dishes that I adore and dishes that provoke fond memories.
Okay, let’s start with…
50g Almas Iranian Caviar (Albino Beluga Caviar) eaten “as is”.
6 Sea Urchins from the coast of Chipiona, again eaten, “as is”
3 Scottish Oysters from Loch Fyne, eaten with a drop of Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Milled Black Pepper and a dash of Lemon Juice.
The above three dishes would be washed down with a glass or two of chilled 1990 Cristal Champagne. Followed by…
Ika (Squid) and Botan Shrimp Sashimi from a Bangkok Fuji Restaurant.
3 four second-steamed Spanish Large Clams, eaten with a dash of Lemon Juice.
2 raw King Prawns from “Sanlúcar de Barrameda” served “New Style Goong Che Nam Pla Style”, heads included.
1 Tablespoon of the Tomalley from a steamed Lobster.
The above four dishes would be washed down with a chilled glass or two of a fine Manzanilla (Sherry) also from Sanlúcar. Followed by…
A small plate of not-so-thin Kobe Beef Carpaccio with White Truffle Vinaigrette, Wild Rocket (Arugula) leaves and shaved Alba White Truffles and Aged Parmesano Reggiano.
Périgord Truffle scented soft Poached Egg (4½ minutes) with Truffle shavings a few drops of Maggi and Freshly Milled Black Pepper.
No wine with the above two dishes, just a glass of water. Followed by…
The liquid and duckling from 1 steamed “Hột vịt lộn” (Vietnamese Duck Embryo Egg), with Maldon Salt and freshly milled Organic Maldon Black Pepper. (No Yolk or “Plastic”, as there are more dishes to come…)
Veal Marrowbone served in-bone and cooked in Pho stock, sucked up with a straw.
A few pieces of warm crunchy and salty Roasted Pork Crackling (Skin from a Roast Pork Joint, grilled over glowing embers), fat removed.
A few glasses of crisp “Enate Chardonnay Fermentado en Barrica” would be lovely.
1 Orlotan (the traditional way, with white cloth draped over my head!)(hey, I know its illegal, but hey, its my last meal!).
A piece of Pierre Koffman´s “Pieds de Cochon Farcis aux Morilles”, (Pig’s Trotter Stuffed with Morels and Sweetbreads)(One of the first memorable dishes I tasted in a high class restaurant).
A glass of full bodied Amarone would be more than welcome for the above two dishes.
A slice of fully matured Munster Cheese, served on piping hot toasted homemade bread.
Now I would need something fresh, perhaps a shot of semi melted Lime Sorbet with Sauternes Gelee.
2 Fresh Mangosteens and half a Custard Apple.
A small tub of Häagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream, washed down with a strong chilled Laotian Coffee with Condensed Milk, served in a bag with crushed ice and a straw.
All through the meal I would want to be in Vientiane and hear the sounds of Crickets at dusk and wonder,
“How on Earth did the Chef manage to get these ingredients and this meal ready?!”.
Mademoiselle Q spent some time in our Kitchens and adores food. On her Facebook page she lists, Cuisine, Cuisine, Cuisine, Ben Harper and George Clooney!!! Under “Interests”. 😉
Mademoiselle Q writes;
I have been thinking about this “last meal” since I received your mail so here is what I would have as my last supper:
I would have a selection of entrées starting with a few Oysters, “Pousse en Claire” from David Hervé with a dash of “Vinaigre de Jerez à l’échalote” (Shallots finely chopped in a Jerez (Sherry) Vinegar).
Some nice bread from the “Poujauran” bakery spread with an AOC salty butter from the region of Poitou Charente. (AOC is just a classification, usually used for wine but also exist for other products such as butter and guarantee a top quality and therefore, a beautiful taste).
These special Oysters are small and flat and grow at a very low density ( 2 per square metre) for about 6 months. They have a nutty taste and firm flesh. David Hervé won a few awards at the famous “Salon de l’agriculture” in Paris for these oysters.
Then I would go on with a plate of “Raviolis de Langoustines au Beurre Blanc et Coriandre“, (Raviolis filled with Scampi and a Coriander (Cilantro) leaf, cooked in a boiled water for 3 minutes and served with a White Butter Sauce), just divine…
I will then have to finish with a few slices of “Jamón de Bellota” ham (one of the finest Iberian Mountain Cured Hams from Spain), simply served on a plate with the same bread from “Poujauran” bakery as above.
My mums specialty, a Vietnamese “Shabu-Shabu” with thinly sliced Beef Fillet from Hugo Desnoyer, one of the best butchers in France.
He selects each cow that will end up in his shop and is the supplier of a good number of Michelin star restaurants in Paris, as well as being the Chef of the President of France.
The meat would be finely sliced and briefly dipped in a rich and flavourful Chicken Stock (broth) accompanied with Raw Prawns, Fresh Vegetables (Chinese Cabbage, Watercress or Morning Glory, Spring Onions (Scallions)) and Vermicelli (Glass Noodles). This dish wouldn’t be complete without the special homemade dipping sauce, a kind of Saté Sauce, made with Peanut Butter, Sesame Oil, Shallots, Lemon…dark and rich sweet and salty, but I cannot reveal all the ingredients, as it is a family inherited recipe!
It is tasty and I’ve never found that flavour anywhere else than at home.
At the end of the meal, we have the Stock as a Soup served in our bowls.
The Stock becomes even tastier after all the dipping of the Meat and Vegetables that have left their flavours.
This is a light meal, simple…But as a French proverb says:
“En cuisine, comme dans tous les arts, la simplicite est le signe dela perfection”.
(“In cooking, as in all arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection…”).
As a chocolate fan, I have a habit to serve a beautiful “Moelleux au Chocolat” (Molten Chocolate Cake) each time I host a dinner party at the house. That is how I would end my last supper as well.
It’s a simple Chocolate Muffin (kind of) not completely cooked and still warm inside as you dig your spoon right in, melted Chocolate oozes out. It has to be made with a 70 to 80 % Cacao Chocolate and a great butter (AOC or Organic).
I don’t normally drink alcohol and don’t know much about wine BUT, I would LOVE to have a glass of a beautiful Chateau Margaux.
I couldn’t tell you the year or the exact name but I just remember having tried a glass with my fiancé Peter that just exploded in my mouth!
The best wine ever, dark and spicy, rich, with a full body…
À votre santé!
The “About” page at Sim´s Blog reads,
“Hi. Welcome to Sim’s Blog. Sim is born in Laos. Within the first 4-5 years of my life I was raised between Laos and Thailand. I am currently located in California and have been here ever since.”
What does Sim do?
“I like to talk about architecture or the basic art since they are the ones that affects most people. Art is mostly a feeling and feelings are not easy to express which makes them very hard to communicate. You can talk for years about a specific feeling but people won’t truly understand you, unless you can create a motion picture to express your feelings. Our means of expression is still limited. But we can enhance our expression thru music, imageries, and cleverly disguised messages and meanings.”
What would be Sim´s final meal?
I’m a fan of practical Lao food so they are all simple Lao dishes. Here’s my list:
Ant Egg Omelet.
Half a cup of Ant Eggs stirred raw with spices.
Keng No Mai Sai Yanang, a soup made with Bamboo Shoots and Yanang Leaves (a species of flowering plants native to S. E. Asia, particularily with Lao and Isaan dishes).
Jaew Bong, a Peper paste mash with Pork skin.
Sai Ua Moo (Laotian Pork Sausages.)
Sim prefers to have his dishes prepared and cooked the old fashioned way and links to recipes from Phia Sing, the Royal Chef of the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang.
Chef Sing (b. 1898, d. 1967) recorded his recipes and techniques in his ledgers.
These were translated and edited by the late Alan Davidson, former British Ambassador to Laos and culinary author. Mr. Davidson was also responsible for the fascinating book “Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos”, both published by Prospect Books and available through their site and online bookshops.
Laotian artist Soun Vannithong, who is also the uncle of Laocook Girl, Laurene, illustrates both these books and others by Mr. Davidson.
Our friend Darly was born in Vientiane and is now finishing her studies in Holland before returning to the States.
Her personal blog Saolao gives us a “Venster” in to her life, adventures and thoughts.
For my last meal, I want to make my own food and would make it with what I have on hand. At the moment I have;
Sticky Rice Noodles
I also have Green Papaya and a bag of Carrots. If I were to die tonight, then it would be;
Stir Fried Sticky Rice Noodles or Khua Mie with Tofu, Chinese Cabbage, Mushroom and Bean Sprouts for garnishing.
This would accompany a Tum Maak Houng (Spicy Laotian Green Papaya Salad).
No dessert and the meal would be washed down with Green Tea. So, I would bring my own groceries and make my own food! 🙂
If my last meal or supper would be based on the book’s version. Then I would still give the same answer.
There would be no music. I would eat alone at my place, watching the news on BBC and CNN.
I do realize that I might sound difficult, but to me death should be an unexpected surprise for my friends and family members. If I can have a choice on it then I would like it to be a private moment. I would not want to sit with my friends or family members and have a last meal like Jesus´s last supper.
Elginite.org is a community website (and Blog) serving Elgin, Illinois and writes;
My last meal would be something simple and easy enough that I can prepare it myself.
Perhaps it would start with;
And it can include other stuff that we could pick up from a bakery or something, perhaps a Chocolate Pleyel etc…
Part of the pleasure of a meal is going through the markets beforehand looking for what’s fresh and beautiful that day. I can’t foretell the future to know what those things would be on the day of my last meal. So I don’t know everything that will be on the menu, but whatever I include will have to be things that can be prepared without difficulty.
The main dish could be as simple as a;
Steak au Poivre (Pepper Steak) (a dry-aged Wagyu strip would be ideal),
Baguette au Levain would be nice.
Pâté de Champagne
A simple salad
Sure, bottles of wines like Château d’ Yquem and Le Pin would be appreciated, but they would not be missed.
You see, it’s sort of difficult to do this exercise, because I don’t think food or drink is the most important aspect of the last meal.
If you’ve been to temples in Laos, you know that a small orchestra plays music as the monks eat. It’s said that the reason for this is so that the monks are forced to deal with two different senses, and thus with the distraction of music are able to enjoy their food less–gluttony or an over appreciation of cuisine being unbecoming to those who dedicate their lives to Buddha.
Just as these monks ward against appreciating food too much, I don’t want food or drink to outshine everything else at my last meal. I don’t want conversation at my last meal to revolve around whether we taste cassis or cranberry, and so on. I want the food to go largely unremarked.
I want it to be good and satisfying, but I don’t want it to be the star, not at my last meal. There are better things to talk about…
Who you’re eating with and how much you’re enjoying your company always has much more to do with how much you enjoy your meal than how well the food was prepared. Good food with exceptional company translates into an exceptional meal. But exceptional food has never been able to make an exceptional meal out of bad company.
Since I’m assured of exceptional company at my last meal, all I need is good food to make the meal exceptional. Anything more than that will ruin the balance, thrusting food to the fore, and squandering the opportunity for a conversation suitable for the occasion.
This is probably not the kind of response you were looking for, but it’s just that I think that there are times when an exceptional meal would be appropriate and times when a merely good meal is better.
And finally, Laocook member King shares his ideal Last Meal.
A couple of Cruzcampo Beers to start with some mixed Spanish Olives.
A heaped spoonful of Osietra Caviar on its own, with a glass of Dom Perignon Champagne Vintage 1973.
3 Pieces of Tuna Otoro Sashimi with Freshly grated Wasabi from the actual root and Soy Sauce. Served with a cold shot of the finest Shizuku Daiginjo Sake.
Small piece of Foie Gras Terrine with Sea Salt, Black Pepper and freshly baked “Baguette de Champagne” with a chilled glass of Sauternes.
Small serving of traditionally prepared Laotian raw Buffalo Larb with all the trimmings (herbs and leaves)(no bile). Served with Sticky Rice and a glass of still water.
Kobe Beef served “Bleu” with Sea Salt, Black Pepper and Crispy Fried Shallots with a side serving of Tagliatelle fried in Chorizo Fat (Spanish cured Pork Sausage) with Dried Chilli and Garlic and a bunch of Coriander (Cilantro) on the side. A bottle of Petrus would help wash this down.
Finally, a selection of Cheeses from various regions of France with Truffles and a fine Olive Oil and “Pain Auvergnat”, and of course, more Petrus… 😉
Well done and thank you for the contributions! 🙂
If anyone else wants to join in, please feel free to do so….