My Last Supper(s)

Cinnamon roll cheesecake.

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A couple of Sundays ago I read an on-line article by Anna Stoessinger.  Anna is a writer who works in advertising and who, at the age of 36 was diagnosed with stomach cancer.  When she received her diagnosis, she immediately thought about dying young and missing out on a half century of life with her new husband.  After chemotherapy she received the news that she would have to have all of her stomach and part of her esophagus removed.  Anna and her husband embarked on a 10 day journey of last meals before her surgery.  Mostly they dined on gourmet things I hadn’t tried (or couldn’t afford even if I was inclined).  They dined with great gusto.

If I received news that I would be giving up my stomach and most food (she will be able to eat only very tiny amounts several times a day) I would concern myself, of course, with dying young and not getting to live a long and happy life with my Sweet Cheeks.  But, honestly, I’d be pissed about the meals I was going to miss.  Although I am not a gourmand, by any means, I do love good food.  So I thought about some of the meals that I would like to have in my final eating days.

I would start with a pecan roll from the Cops and Doughnuts bakery in Clare, Michigan.  It is a real place, I am not making this up.  I had a pecan roll there – my granddaughter had the freshly baked cinnamon roll.  Each was roughly the size of my head and I nearly wept with joy at the first bite.  I would drink several cups of their fresh stong coffee, joke around with their friendly staff, and move on.

I would have to have barbecue – lots of it.  I smoke some meats at home but for my final dinners I would go to Texas for brisket and red hots, Kansas City for ribs, and North Carolina for pulled pork.

I would have seafood – lots of it.  Grilled halibut, blue crabs, grouper, and some crispy bluegill fillets.  I would need crab cakes and broiled shrimp.  And I would have to try raw oysters – because it would be my last chance.  I would have ceviche and smoked salmon.

I would have my favorite soups – my own killer chili, fresh clam chowder, my gumbo, and roasted red pepper soup.

I would have butternut squash, creamed spinach and sweet corn.  I would eat dark sweet cherries and drink apple cider and eat fresh blueberries by the pint.

I would have chocolate, of every shade and fat content.  Butter pecan ice cream, and amaretto cherry ice cream. And just because they are my favorite guilty pleasure junk food – I would have Cheetos – the crunchy ones, not the wimpy baked puffy ones.  But I would not waste many of my last bites on junk foods.

Food is an important part of our lives – it is more than nourishment – it is a part of  the social fabric of our existence.  From the baby shower held in our honor before we are born – to the requisite dinner after our funeral/wake/memorial service,  every stage of our life is celebrated with food.

But given the choice of eating or spending years with my beloved, holding my grandchildren, and loving my sons – I would put on my big (well, they would certainly be bigger after all that food) girl panties and head for the hospital on the appointed day.  And I would consider myself lucky, as did Anna.

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28 Comments

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28 responses to “My Last Supper(s)

  1. me…southern fried chicken…and the ribs…and all that seafood…and uni…and eclairs …why do we seldom know how much we’ll miss what we have ’til we can’t have it? well done. continue.

  2. Very sobering…we are blessed, aren’t we? Gourmand = new word for me. Yes seafood….ceviche, lobster, shrimp, big prawns, paella because if has everything in it. I don’t think even then I could bring myself to eat oysters. Definitely brisket from Strack Farms. Chinese, Italian and Mexican food…my sister-in-law’s pico de gallo and my mother’s beef stroganoff. I think after reading this, I will have to eat everything with relish…not with relish…with relish (you know?)

    • Yes, I do know. I have certainly looked at food differently since reading that article, and have made an effort to eat more mindfully.
      Paella – definitely.

  3. Roger Ebert lost his jaw to cancer and can’t eat anymore. He’s written some great stuff about missing the social interactions associated with food a lot more than the actual food.

  4. You’re not going to believe this, but food isn’t my thing. I’d be okay with little bits of food as long as watermelon could be one of the foods. I just don’t care about eating all that much. Maybe it’s because I’m dizzy and nautious so much of the time.

    People trying to lose weight say they envy me. While I’ve adjusted to this dizziness (almost 10 years since it began), I don’t know that it’s worth the weight-loss.

  5. Actually, Lorna, I know 1 other person who really doesn’t care about food. I can’t imagine. On the other hand, I could not care less about drinking. Don’t understand the allure, the “social” aspect of it, or really anything about it. Why people gather together in drinking establishments is beyond me.
    Being dizzy and nauseous would be a bad scene, I enjoy almost every aspect of eating – selecting ingredients, preparation and consumption. Not obsesssively, though – just something I enjoy.

  6. Oh Waiter! I’ll have what she’s having!

    Well, except for salmon. Makes me gag. And oysters I’ve tried so I would leave them out. What would I add? My mom’s Easy to Take Chocolate Cake with white butter icing. ohohohhohhhhhhhhh. I would go to my favourite Manderin restaurant and have their Beef the River, deepfried eggplant, and someting with chicken and black bean sauce that was amazing. It’s closed now though but this is my fantasy dammit!

  7. As I have been considering dieting…no, I’m sorry, I’m supposed to think of it as changing to a healthy lifestyle, the one thing I realized is how much we tie food to social gatherings. In this area of the country, we have potluck dinners for every holiday, go out for dinner on every family birthday, and center almost every family gathering around a meal. Haven’t thought of a “last meal” but it would definitely have to include chocolate.

  8. Little bits of everything would be fine. But it is true that food is in the fabric of our lives, not just as sustainance, so i am sure before you put on your big girl knickers, you had would have a great big family gnosh up! As your reader above said.. we are lucky.. touch wood.. c

  9. Ditto the barbecue! And DITTO giving it all up to have more time with my family! Great post!

  10. Wow, I can’t imagine making those choices. I would definitely have BBQ, fried chicken, potatoes in all forms, crab cakes, and then lots and lots of dessert.

    I’ve never heard of Amaretto cherry ice cream. Where can I get some of that?

  11. Hans Rueffert, a cook who took part in The Next Food Network Star back in 2005, was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He wrote a wonderful book of recipes entitled ‘Eat Like There’s No Tomorrow’.
    He’s still fighting the good battle, and he continues to cook. (Though he is not able to eat much of what he cooks.)
    I’m not sure what I’d eat, if I found food would be limited. It would probably depend on the time of month I was diagnosed. (smile)

    http://www.hanscooks.com/index.htm

  12. Salt caramel cups from the local bakery would be my last meal. Heaven

  13. oh my gosh, that looks delightful. i want some!

    -alexandra

  14. I’m sitting here debating whether I would want a “last taste” of all the things I wouldn’t be allowed to eat anymore. That seems like it would be torturous… reminding myself of what I love to taste. Maybe she can get by with chewing and spitting it out so she can at least alleviate cravings…? My problem, if I went through with final meals like that, is that I’d probably eat a bunch of stuff so bad for me in so short a period of time that I would die of a heart attack or stroke before the damned stomach surgery.

    • I thought about that, how sad it would be to know that it would be the last bite of ice cream, pie or brisket I would ever eat. But I think I would want to do it. And I might just die of a heart attack or stroke, too in the process!

  15. Thanks for the link to Anna’s article. What an amazing woman. Boy, what would my last “tastes” be? ots of different fruit (cantelope, strawberries, apples, raspberries, and so on). Fire-grilled salmon on a cedar plank. A ladieu salad (spring greens, red grapes, feta cheese, honey-roasted pecans, mixed with a hucleberry dressing). And dessert: too many to choose, but at least Cheesecake Fantasy from Cold Stone Creamery (cheesecake ice cream, graham crackers, strawberries and blueberries), and a plate of soft (cooked, but not all the way) chocolate chip cookies topped with vanilla ice cream. Geez — now I’m starving.

  16. Pingback: There is Good News…and There is Bad News (Part 2) | k8edid

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