What would you choose for your last supper?

Now We Know: When it comes to goodbyes, food can take on a morbid poignancy

It’s time to bid farewell to this column, which has been keeping us topped up on tasty trivia for the past two years

It’s time to bid farewell to this column, which has been keeping us topped up on tasty trivia for the past two years

 

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard,” said honey aficionado Winnie The Pooh. It’s time to bid farewell to this column, which has been keeping us topped up on tasty trivia for the past two years.

Some highlights have included learning the difference between white and brown eggs from Margaret Farrelly of Margaret’s Happily Free Range Eggs. Hint, it’s to do with the colour of the hen who’s doing the laying, and learning about why Americans and Europeans approach knives and forks differently.

When it comes to goodbyes, food can take on a morbid poignancy. It conjures up last suppers and death row meals. “What would you choose for your last supper?” food fans ask each other with misplaced cheer, answering with relish. The photographer Henry Hargreaves recreated death row prisoners’ last meals in a series he titled No Seconds, and the result is eery, and not just a little sad. You can view the full series on his website.

A 2012 Aland postage stamp with a reproduction of one of the original posters used by White Star Line to advertise the Titanic’s maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York, USA in April, 1912.
A 2012 Aland postage stamp with a reproduction of one of the original posters used by White Star Line to advertise the Titanic’s maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York, USA in April, 1912.

Among the more well documented last suppers is the menu served on the RMS Titanic on April 14th 1912. According to Delish. com, the ship’s first class passengers dined from a menu that offered hors d’oeuvres and oysters, cream of barley soup, poached salmon with mousseline sauce, sauté of chicken Lyonnaise, lamb of mint sauce, foie gras and Waldorf pudding. For the culinary ghoulish among you, perhaps you could take inspiration from this for your Halloween supper?

Personally, my favourite farewell supper is the meal created by French refugee Babette Hersant and served to the Danish sisters Martine and Philippa in the 1987 Oscar-winning masterpiece Babette’s Feast. The film gently crescendos towards the finale, Babette’s feast, the menu of which has become cinematic culinary legend. It includes Blinis Demidoff, turtle soup, quails in puff pastry shell with foie gras and truffle sauce and rum sponge cake, all served with the finest wines, champagnes and cognacs.

Without giving too much of this perfect film’s plot away, it’s Babette’s way of thanking the sisters for the kindness they have shown her and the sisters consider it as Babette’s way of saying goodbye.

Thank you for reading this column and for sending in your own food questions.

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