Planning a Last Supper
We all know that life is short. But let's be honest: Do we ever do anything about it? Do we live as fully as we can, savoring each moment, enjoying each breath, or perhaps each bite?
With a birthday coming up, I'm doing a bit of waxing philosophical, contemplating this thing called mortality and the art of living as if today were my last.
The following quote from poet Emily Dickinson comes to mind:
That it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet.
I got to thinking, if I knew my days were numbered, how would I spend them, and more importantly, what would my last meal be? Most the time, life is not so kind, taking us without advance warning, but with a wee bit of notice, imagine the feast that could be planned.
Remember Armande Voizin, the cranky old lady played by Judi Dench in the movie "Chocolat," whose diabetes was taking its toll? She asks Vianne (played by Juliette Binoche) to help her organize a birthday dinner, one with plenty of chocolate (bien sur). Everyone savors the meal, and the ensuing merriment at the table is infectious. Armande is just tickled. Later that night, she goes to sleep in her armchair and never wakes up, just as she had planned.
The passage of life is a topic that most of us in this culture tend to gloss over; we choose to reverse time rather than embrace it and lose sight of the here and now, as the doctor injects another dose of Botox.
In celebration of my upcoming birthday, I've decided to cook a feast, but unlike Armande, I'm not planning an exit strategy. However, as I plan the menu, perhaps I should be mindful of food and drink that really makes me happy. After all, if I go unexpectedly, would I be pleased with my last supper?
The list is long, and much of it likely won't be included in the menu. But if I knew that my time was soon up, my last supper would include the following:
* Mangoes -- many varieties, ready to eat. I'd encourage all guests to grap a napkin and slurp with abandon as they nuzzle away at the fruit's sunny flesh
* A pot of black beans, made from dried beans, with plenty of heat, spice and onions
* A pot of rice, simple but necessary accompaniment to beans and a sponge for the various juices dripping on my plate
* Plenty of pineapple, cut into chunks, to remind me of the sun and warm climes where I've traveled
* Avocado from Puerto Rico, where they are rich, smooth and full of flavor. Simply sliced, please.
* Coffee - A full-bodied pot of coffee that lingers on my tongue, with smoky and chocolatey notes
* A smidge of bacon -- crispy, Applewood smoked, by itself or with a tomato, a bit of frisee and a lemony vinaigrette or as an open-faced sandwich on a piece of garlicked toast.
* Something grilled, a butterflied chicken perhaps, with a limey-garlickly marinade, something that I can eat with my hands and sink my choppers into. Don't forget the hot sauce, please. I'll want that for dipping.
* For dessert, there will be layer cake, and chocolate is part of the equation.
* There will be bouquets of rosemary and lavender that will perfume the room, and the music will include everything I love, from classical to reggae, from bebop to samba.
What would be on the menu for your last supper? Share in the comments below.
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