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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Truck Stop Cafe Tonight Features One of the Most Popular Death Row Meals: Fried Chicken

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 3:35 PM

click to enlarge Fried chicken: a popular last meal. Obviously. - FLICKR/STEVENDEPOLO

Jake Godby of Humphry Slocombe has been doing Truck Stop Cafe for a while, a semi-monthly pop-up at Mission gay bar Truck where he serves the "Last Meal Blue-Plate Specials" -- the final request of death row prisoners. Tonight the spotlight's on the Lonely Hearts Killer, Martha Beck, whose last meal was "fried chicken, no wings, French frys [sic], lettuce and tomato salad." Godby has re-imagined that as fried chicken salad with winter vegetables and buttermilk dressing, shoestring potatoes, and a chocolate tart with butterscotch bananas.

Curiosity about the most popular foods of death row prisoners led us to Wikipedia, where we learned in that fried chicken is among the most requested last meals (eight times, according to our highly official tally of Wikipedia reporting), but handily beat by ice cream (17 requests, also according to Wikipedia). Steak and pizza are also right up there.

See also: Top 10 Best Places for Fried Chicken in San Francisco

What Would You Eat if the World Were Really Ending Tomorrow?

A few of the more elaborate last meal requests:

  • Gary Carl Simmons, Jr.: 1996 murderer; Mississippi 2012 - Lethal injection: "one Pizza Hut medium Super Supreme Deep Dish pizza, double portion, with mushrooms, onions, jalapeno peppers, and pepperoni; pizza, regular portion, with three cheeses, olives, bell pepper, tomato, garlic and Italian sausage; 10 8-oz. packs of Parmesan cheese; 10 8-oz. packs of ranch dressing; one family size bag of Doritos nacho cheese flavor; 8 oz. jalapeno nacho cheese; 4 oz. sliced jalapenos; 2 large strawberry shakes; two 20-oz. cherry Cokes; one super-size order of McDonald's fries with extra ketchup and mayonnaise; and two pints of strawberry ice cream." He consumed about half of the meal.
  • Dennis Wayne Bagwell, executed in Texas in 2005: Medium rare steak with A1 Steak Sauce, fried chicken breasts and thighs, BBQ ribs, French fries, onion rings, bacon, scrambled eggs with onions, fried potatoes with onions, sliced tomatoes, salad with ranch dressing, two hamburgers, peach pie, milk, coffee, and iced tea with real sugar.
  • Stephen Wayne Anderson, executed in California in 2002: Two grilled cheese sandwiches, one pint of cottage cheese, a hominy/corn mixture, one piece of peach pie, one pint of chocolate chip ice cream, and radishes.

Wouldn't you try to eat every single food you've ever loved?

More Googling also led us to a few photography projects -- "No Seconds" and "Today's Special" -- in which photographers recreated the last meals of prisoners, with fairly depressing results.

Truck Stop Cafe happens tonight from 6 to 10 at Truck, 1900 Folsom, S.F. Here's the rest of the menu, which, yes, includes Godby's legendary duck fat Chex Mix.

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About The Author

Anna Roth

Anna Roth

Anna Roth is SF Weekly's former Food & Drink Editor and author of West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border.


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