The other day I was fixing myself a snack. I toasted a piece of my favorite bread, spread it rather thickly with my favorite mayo, and layered several slices of my favorite tomato on top. A few fresh basil leaves, a sprinkle of my favorite salt, a few turns of the pepper mill and viola! a moment of heaven. Which got me to thinking: is this what I would choose as my last meal?
Today, that answer would be yes. This combination wins for me on every level: the textural crunch of the roasted bread (Starter or Firebrand Bakery) that's just a little softened by the juicy tomato (Black Prince or Krum), which is mixing with the mayo (Hellmans/Best Foods). There's texture in the salt (Maldon) too. The sweet and tangy tomato flavor is carried by the fat in the mayo, which also echos the sweet/tangy-ness, and the basil and pepper add a lively punctuation. The local and seasonal elements also are important here.
Of course, one's last meal doesn't happen in a vacuum. There's also the location, the vibe, the people you share it with. To my sandwich I would add a glass of wine, a window opened onto a balmy Northern California late afternoon, and a few good friends and family to share the moment with. I would probably throw in a wheel of Cowgirl Creamery's Red Hawk and a plum tart for dessert. There's music in the room, too, but for some reason that's a harder choice for me.
This answer would probably change in a few weeks when the tomato season has finally passed in Northern California. But still, it's an intriguing question, this idea of a last meal. It's very likely that most of us won't have the option of choosing but as an exercise, it's an interesting way to focus on what's really important, to discover what really satisfies. Are you surprised by what you left out? Can you even begin to choose? Is your last meal very different from your everyday life and does that matter?
What would your last meal be?
Related: On Eating Bone Marrow
(Image: Dana Velden)