Lucinda’s Prison Burgers

Here’s something odd and rather gruesome: list of last meal requests in Texas.

How or why this information was compiled and posted is curious; it certainly peaks the curiosity. What does a person choose for their last meal on earth, the last thing that will pass the lips, the last thing, arguably, to give pleasure before the end? It seems that Dr.Pepper, Coke, cheeseburgers, fried chicken, chef’s salad, steak, eggs and bacon are the foods of choice for many of the condemned, though there were definitely some interesting requests: “Cool Whip and a bowl of cherries”, “One bag of assorted Jolly Ranchers”, “Mexican Dish with all the fixings”, “1 jar of dill pickles”, “Eucharist”, “1 apple, 1 orange, 1 banana, coconut and peaches”. (Seriously, fruit? That’s your choice for last meal?) Clearly alcohol was off limits. And what about the people that requested no meal at all? Perhaps food isn’t high on the list of priorities at that point in time but I can’t even really speculate. Out loud, I wondered what Marc thought this list might contain if it were another country, like France, before I remembered that they don’t employ capital punishment… You can be sure there’d be lobster, though. And plenty of foie gras, wine and cheese. Zero cheeseburgers.

Indeed, while reading the list, it was hard to miss the fact that so many people chose some form of hamburger as their last meal, though the details varied: double meat hamburger, “all the way” (everything on it?), bacon double cheeseburger, old fashioned cheeseburger. So with all the variations on the burger, would one be allowed to specify how, or by whom, it was prepared? I mean, could one request a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, or a Whopper or “one what like my Ma used to make”? How disappointing would it be if your request for a last meal, to which one might look forward with a least a little relish, was unobtainable or fell entirely short of expectations? Like the guy who asked for “Shrimp and Salad. Shrimp not available. Served cheeseburger, french fries and cola.” I guess there’s no justice on death row.

img_1511.jpgFrom this chain of thought, I recalled our recent, and first ever, journey into Northern California wine country, with Geoff and his girlfriend, Lucinda. I know that seems a little off topic, but it was because we stopped for lunch at the In ‘N Out Burger at Lucinda’s request- dare I say insistence? It’s been awhile since she has visited California and a visit to the In ‘N Out is a mandatory item on her Golden State To Do list. Nobody in the car argued, because they do make a fine burger. So fine, in fact, that I think that might be what Lucinda would specify as her last meal- it would have to be In ‘N Out. That is, if she chose a cheeseburger, and if she were on Death Row, both of which seem pretty unlikely.

Visiting a few vineyards in Dry Creek on a hot, sunny afternoon was a pretty sweet way to spend a Monday afternoon. I was more than a little surprised that we had such a successful day because a) it was Labour Day and surely we were not the only people inclined to drink, I mean taste, our way through the afternoon, b) we left when the city in the afternoon, and c) the Bay Bridge was closed for construction which meant the traffic on the Golden Gate was more concentrated than ever. It turned out that none of these things posed any kind of an obstacle and we happily sampled more wines than I can recall. Arguably, our favourite was the 2004 Unti Syrah, which we brought home and have since drunk with relish (but no mustard or ketchup). We had enjoyed the 2003 Syrah the night before at Saha, a Yemeni restaurant where we met Geoff & Lucinda, her Aunt Kate and mom, Ellen and thought we would be so clever to visit the winery the next day. Indeed, Lucinda was clever enough to arrange the whole thing, including the In ‘N Out luncheon.


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