Friday, April 28, 2017

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: April 2017

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post.

Title: My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals
Editors: Melanie Dunea
via Amazon
The premise of photographer Dunea's coffee table book is self-explanatory.  She asked 50 famous chefs the same six questions:
  • What would be your last meal on earth?
  • What would be the setting for your meal?
  • What would you drink with your meal?
  • Would there be music?
  • Who would be your dining companions?
  • Who would prepare the meal?
For each, she included the answers along with a full-page (at least) photo.  The responses predictably ranged from the simple to the extravagant.  Quite a few of them wanted sashimi.  The portraits are mostly great, though the nude of Anthony Bourdain is quite disturbing.  All, of course, express a deep intimacy with food.

Naturally, such a book leaves one pondering one's own answers to the questions.  I couldn't resist the exercise...

What would be your last meal on earth?

I imagine a huge, multicultural buffet: pasta, pizza, fried chicken, taco bar, pad kee mao, ice cream and bread pudding for dessert.  I think I could go for some of that sashimi, too.

What would be the setting for your meal?

Stoves in Yokohama.  It was our favorite place when I was an English teacher in Japan.  Long Island Iced Tea was our drink of choice (learn more here).  It's still there, up and running 20 years later.

What would you drink with your meal?

Drinks would be flowing: beer, wine, spirits.  All would be merry, though no one would be drunk.  I wouldn't have to worry about the hangover in the morning but I don't want to be remembered as an idiot.

Would there be music?

The Beatles, all four of them.  Lots of the chefs wished for dead people come back to life, including musicians.  So, I get to have the Beatles, together, all bygones bygone.  Acoustic instruments only.  What would begin as a concert for us, including rousing singalongs, would evolve.  In time, they would forget about us and spend the rest of the evening playing for each other, enjoying one another's company as old friends.  They'd play the old stuff, dribble in the better solo songs.  George would drag out the sitar.  We would be flies on the wall for the greatest rock 'n' roll reunion ever.

Who would be your dining companions?

In the beginning, it would be all of those who have been dear to me during my life.  Most would have no previous connection with each other except through me so it would be a chance for them to know each other, too.  Over the course of the night, though, the crowd would dwindle to an ever more intimate group.  Eventually, it would be just the three of us: wife, daughter and me.  Finally, just my wife and me.

The Fab Four, still mostly oblivious to our presence, would intuitively know which songs I would need at the very end.  They would finish their last set with "Here, There and Everywhere," the world's most perfect tune and, not coincidentally, our wedding song.  Then they, too, would finally pack up and wander off into the night.

Who would prepare the meal?

There would be a team of grandmothers of various nationalities, all snapping at each other in different languages as they jockeyed for position in the kitchen.  But all of the food would be steeped in the love and wisdom of countless generations.  They would turn out all the lights for us after the Beatles left, and return in the morning to make a hearty breakfast for wife and daughter.

How about you?  What would your answers to the questions be?

Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month.  This month's link list is below.  I'll keep it open until the end of the day.  I'll post May's tomorrow.  Meetings are the last Friday of each month.  Next gathering is May 26th.


  1. Your answers to your questions are quite interesting, I have no idea how I would answer any of them.

  2. Glad I made it to this review. I spent most of the morning trying to figure out why my linky list wasn't showing up.

    This sounds like a great book. I enjoyed reading your responses. I think my last meal would start with my favorite sushi, move on to traditional creole gumbo, and end with flan. Weird, I know, but these things all mean something special to me. BTW- I'd love an invite to your last meal, if only for a moment. It's sounds like a once in a lifetime event.

    1. I would gladly add gumbo to the menu in your honor!

  3. The book sounds interesting and a tad morbid. You could bet my last meal wouldn't be the healthiest meal I've eaten!

    Were you teaching in an English school in Japan? My brother attended a school in Yokahoma when he was in Middle School (I was already in college)

    1. No, I only taught in Japanese schools - JET Program.

  4. Sounds like an interesting book and one that would surely get one thinking about last meals and all the choices. I would probably want part of my dinner to be pineapple pizza with cherry soda, lobster, clam chowder, and some delicious fresh bread. I know none of that seems to go together, but as it is my last meal I don't have to worry about an upset stomach. :)

    Thanks for the food for thought. Have to keep thinking about dinner companions.

    1. Fascinating combination you have going there. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I don't think I'm interested in the book, but I'll think about the question.

  6. My most influencing cultures growing up were Irish and Italian, and I know my last meal-if I could plan it--would include my mother's slow roasted corned beef and my grandfather's mostaccioli made with sausage-laden sauce he spent two days cooking. While I could ask for anything decadent, I know I would want to be surrounded by comfort and love, and those hit the mark for me.
    Naturally, these existential questions make me melancholy... :/

    1. A lot of the chefs stuck with comfort food. Fine dining is fun but with just one meal, I would want the simple reminders of everything I have been.