The last meal question

Wow. I just joined StudioFeast‘s mailing list. I knew they asked the last meal question on their website (and do an annual feast of last meals), but I wasn’t expecting to have to answer it to get on the mailing list. Heavy question. And evocative.

My answers weren’t what I thought they’d be.

First thought, well éclairs, of course. Or… crêpes with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Anyway, easy.

Not so fast.

Think about those lifetime favorite foods I wrote about not so long ago. Wouldn’t it be one of those?

Hmm, nothing grabs me.

Grandma I-ya’s fried chicken.

Why that? It’s not even on the list.

Sounds comforting.

But wouldn’t I want crunchy pastry and whipped cream? Maybe those sfogliatele from Zurich?

Geez, wouldn’t I want amazing cheese?

I hesitate. Why?

Sugar … that’s encouragement.

Cheese … that’s a celebration.

Fried chicken, too messy.

Maybe I’d have what I mostly eat … kale … well, uh, no need to be so healthy.

The fried chicken comes back. What’s up with that?

Ok, come on, think about this. It’s a whole meal. That means I get to have savory AND sweet.

But I might be cheating, does each person only gets to suggest one dish?

Savory: Khachapuri from that Russian bakery on Santa Monica Blvd east of Fairfax (south side of Santa Monica, not the one in the Whole Foods parking lot). They make theirs square, about 20cm on each side. No idea what’s in there but I know it involves mild cheese and egg, and needs to be eaten with a salad.

Sweet: that lemon-rum coffee-cake from Santa Barbara (the lady who made it stopped).

No. My first favorite ice cream, Thin Mint from the original Swensen’s on Nob Hill.

Wow, the food is as much about memory as desire.

I discovered the Russian bakery in 2000, and it was one of the things that made me first appreciate LA (as a San Franciscan LA seemed sort of ridiculous, in an entertaining way). The coffee cake was the food that crystalized my emergence from anorexia. I started feeding myself beautiful food. And the mint-chip, well it was my joy and comfort as a child, for many years. Everything was ok while I was eating that ice cream. And it took a long time, because they made huge cones there.

photo by Kevin Y. (but I wasn’t allowed to have sugar cones, so mine was always on a plain cone)