Last Meal Requests on Death Row | From Left to Write Book Club

This post was inspired by From Left to Write’s July book choice: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton, by Elizabeth L. Silver.


Did you ever wonder about the last meal an inmate gets? It’s kind of a sobering thought, really. And one that I really hope to not think about too much. Ever. But considering the July book centered heavily on a character who’s sitting on death row, the though occurred to me.


Gawker shared some interesting choices after the execution of Teresa Lewis in Virginia a few years ago, and confirmed that – alcohol aside – inmates can pretty much choose whatever they want for their last meal.


Here’s more from Slate reporter Christopher Beam (as shared in Gawker):

The last meals of death row inmates are often quite memorable. Karla Faye Tucker requested a fruit plate but didn’t eat it. John Wayne Gacy asked for shrimp, fried chicken, French fries, and a pound of strawberries. Timothy McVeigh ate two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Instead of a last meal, Tennessee convict Philip Workman requested that pizza be distributed to the homeless in Nashville. (Prison officials denied his request, but local groups passed out pizza in his honor.) Before his execution in 2000, convicted rapist and murderer Odell Barnes requested a last meal of “Justice, Equality, World Peace.” In 1992, Arkansas convict Ricky Ray Rector, who had brain damage from shooting himself in the head after killing a police officer, ate a final meal of steak, fried chicken, and cherry Kool-Aid, but famously said he wanted to save his pecan pie for later.


What struck me most from that excerpt is the fact that Tennessee convict Philip Workman give up his last meal in favor of feeding the homeless in Nashville. It’s a shame that sort of selflessness couldn’t have been applied before whatever it was that caused him a conviction to death row.


Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:


Wikipedia also shares a laundry list of death row last meal requests, some of which include:

  • Lobster Tail
  • Double Cheeseburger
  • Twelve Chocolate Bars
  • Steak & Onions
  • Fried Eggs (over-easy)


I was going to ask what your death row final meal would be, but it just seems too macabre to ask.


This post was inspired by the novel The Execution of Noa P. Singleton, by Elizabeth L. Silver. Mere months before Noa’s execution, her victim’s mother changed her mind Noa’s sentence and vows to help stay the execution. Join From Left to Write on July 30 as we discuss The Execution of Noa P. Singleton.. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


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  1. says

    Interesting! I think my favorite (if it’s appropriate to have a favorite?) is the guy who saved his desert for later. I’ve always jokingly said I’d ask for a McRib and a Shamrock Shake. I figure I’d extend my life a few years waiting for both to be out at the same time haha.

  2. says

    I like Tasha’s idea. I might order the $1000 sundae from Serendipity. I think if I knew I were about to die, it would be hard to eat anything though.


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