This week, we scribbled and giggled into the phone as Ray Sokolov painted an elaborate and somewhat disturbing scene: his fantasy last meal. Sokolov, former restaurant critic and food editor at The Times, current food columnist at The Wall Street Journal, cookbook author several times over, and master storyteller, was a shoe-in for the most imaginative—if not mouth-watering—Last Meal so far.
Try to imagine a deep, droll, even intimidatingly scholarly-sounding voice saying the following:
Would it be alright if I could get my main enemies lined up in front of me, and drowned in a hot tub? One per course?
You can do whatever you want. I want that power. I’m not going to name them. There are three of them and they know who they are. I would want to be eating things that would make them very unhappy. Of course, I would die right afterwards, but—
But they wouldn’t know for sure. True. I would want to eat things that would kill you anyway, or that were illegal. For me, the fantasy wouldn’t be to eat a lot of foie gras or something. I could do that anyway, especially with the prices dropping as they have. I would definitely want to have endangered species, including the very delicious Patagonian toothfish. So, for the first course, a ceviche of toothfish. And with it, from New Zealand, I’d like to have the most expensive sauvignon blanc I could find.
Okay. For a meat course, I would like to have a roasted haunch of suckling vicuña, and since this animal would have to be smuggled out of a wildlife preserve, I would like to have the wool knitted into something, maybe socks, for you.
For me? Since you’re arranging all of this.
Thank you. With this course, I’d drink a La Tache burgundy from the year of my birth, 1941. We should have an Andean vegetable to go with the vicuña, as long as we’re sending people out into the field. Let’s see. How about a Rocoto pepper, stuffed with… oh—with the oysters from Scottish grouse!
Mmm. I’d also like cheese made from human milk. So, the day before, I’d like a lactating woman to express that in front me. It would be a very fresh cheese—cut with scallions, perhaps. And I’d like her to spoon it into my mouth.
Al-righty. For dessert, I’d like to have 4 examples of perfect tropical fruits: mango, pineapple, cherimoya, and mangosteen. I’ll have Chateau d’Quem with the cheese and fruit.
Nothing baked for dessert? No, and I don’t think I’d want coffee under these circumstances.