Last month, Texas prison officials stopped the age-old tradition of serving condemned prisoners a final meal of their choosing.The New York Times‘ Timothy Williams spoke with Brian D. Price, a former inmate and death row chef who cooked hundreds of final meals, often stretching his imagination and culinary skills to turn commissary fare into something gourmet.
Even though he’s no longer cooking pre-execution dinners (despite the fact that he offered to continue to do them for free), he shared some crazy insights about what it’s really like in the death row kitchen. Check out the full interview here.
- No matter what prisoners requested, the meal had to be made from stuff in the kitchen. That required some cooking gymnastics, like turning frozen pollock into something resembling strips of lobster, and making steak out of ground hamburger meat.
- The press was told that the prisoners were served what they actually asked for, not what they got.
- Requests came in on handwritten notes three days ahead of time.
- Final meals are dished out on schedule. Said Price:
They are served two hours before they are executed and it is no longer a burger and fries or a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich or whatever they requested. All it is, two hours later, is stomach content on an autopsy report.
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