What if the Maya calendar is right and the world really does end on Friday, Dec. 21? How would you spend your last day? And what would want for your last meal? Would you be seeking comfort food like meatloaf or fried chicken? Or something completely decadent, such as banana cream pie and red velvet cake?
We posed the question to some well-known Utahns and received these delicious responses:
Gary Herbert, Utah governor •“I’d want it to be a big meal with multiple courses and lots of variety,” said the governor, who took a break last week in between budget planning and health care talks to answer our question. A traditional guy, Herbert said he’d start his meal with a simple green salad with blue cheese or Thousand Island dressing, followed by “a bowl of French onion soup with cheese on top.”
Next course: Chicken. “I like chicken in all its forms,” said Herbert, specifically First Lady Jeanette’s “fried chicken strips served with mashed potatoes and chicken gravy, corn, home baked rolls and honey on the side.” For dessert: “I’m partial to chocolate cake with white icing,” he said. “And since it’s a special occasion, let’s dump a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream with a little hot fudge on top.”
Of course, all this should include a generous supply of milk. “I’m a milko, I love it,” he said. “If you’ve got milk, you’ve got a meal.”
Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City mayor • “The home-cooked chile verde enchiladas by my partner Kate Kopischke. She makes her own sauce, with chiles from New Mexico. It’s a serious undertaking that is delicious, spicy and healthy,” said Becker, adding, “I would be responsible for the Margaritas.”
Kurt Cook, Salt Lake City fire chief •“If I knew it were my last, I’d want a home cooked meal: creamy mashed potatoes with meatloaf and green beans. Good comfort food.” However, upon further consideration, Cook said he also wouldn’t mind “a big plate of chile verde.” (Maybe he should go to the mayor’s house.)
Kelsey Nixon, Ogden native and host of “Kelsey’s Essentials” on The Cooking Channel •“It would have to be a traditional American meal cooked by my mom,” said Nixon, during a recent telephone interview from her home in Brooklyn, her 6-month-old son, fidgeting in the background.
The setting would be a deck on a nice Utah summer night, and Nixon’s plate would have a grilled steak and her mom’s delicious potatoes — boiled baby reds that are crisped with green onions and butter. For dessert, Nixon wants a slice of the banana cream pie from Brigham City’s Maddox Ranch House. “That pie is the most fabulous thing.”
Tyrone Corbin, Utah Jazz coach • “It would be a feast. You’d have to have some fried chicken, collard greens and rice with gravy, cornbread and some sweet tea.”
Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz center • The 6-foot-10-inch center would seek out the same Southern meal as his coach. “Fried chicken, collard greens, corn bread, sweet potato pie and chocolate cake,” said Jefferson after a recent practice, lamenting that “right now I can’t eat that. Only in the off season.”
Marvin Williams, Utah Jazz forward • “I’d go out with a bag full of candy — a ton of M&Ms, Red Vines and a red velvet cake.”
Mo Williams, Utah Jazz guard • “If the world were going to end, eating would be the last thing on my mind.”
Deni Hill, “Biggest Loser” contestant and home winner • The Bountiful grandmother said the CAT breakfast she has every morning — a whole cucumber, a whole avocado and a whole tomato sprinkled with apple cider vinegar — “is the most delicious thing. I could eat it every single day and be happy. But if this is my last meal, I’m going to forget about healthy and eat things I normally don’t,” she said. “I’d have a really juice steak, a baked potato with everything on it and cheesecake. Oh, and really good bread.”
Viet Pham, co-owner of Forage Restaurant and the 2012 runner-up on “Extreme Chef” •“I think about this quite often,” the Salt Lake City chef said. “My last meal would be Popeyes Chicken or Kentucky Fried Chicken original recipe. I’d want a breast, a thigh and a wing. I grew up on Popeyes and KFC, and it’s very nostalgic for me and I love it,” he said. “I’m not going to go for caviar or fois gras. I’m a simple guy and I like simple things.”
Lucy Cardenas, owner of Red Iguana restaurants • “The Red Iguana’s chile verde, I literally eat that every day,” said Cardenas. ”That or fresh oysters.” After the meal, Cardenas would sip a glass of champagne. “I don’t usually eat dessert, but I do like champagne.”
Geralyn Dreyfous, executive director of the Utah Film Center •Dreyfous answered the question after consulting her children, 17-year-old McKarah and 12-year-old Jake. For their last day of food, the family would start with “Grand Peg’s egg’s Benedict,” a dish the children’s grandmother (and Dreyfuss’ mother-in-law) makes on Christmas morning. “She makes a homemade Hollandaise sauce that is divine,” Dreyfous said.
For lunch, Jake’s signature lasagna. “The secret ingredients are farm fresh eggs and herbs from the garden.”
And finally, MacKarah’s key lime pie. “She uses fresh key lime juice and makes her own graham cracker crust.” After coming up with that menu, Jake quipped to Dreyfous: “If the Mayans don’t kill us, the cholesterol will.”
Dana Williams, Park City mayor • “A gyro and fries and a double margarita,” Williams quipped without out even missing a beat. He’d order the food to go from Nick’s Greek Cafe in Park City. The cocktail, he said, comes “from my kitchen.”
Romina Rasmussen, chef/owner Les Madeleines bakery •“It would a collection of things I’ve eaten as I’ve traveled,” Rasmussen said. First course would be the “pork stuffed peppers” cooked over a hearth fire in China, followed by cold vegetables from Berma — Rasmussen said she searched for nearly three hours for the vegetarian restaurant that served them. “When I finally found it, the owner had already closed, but I must have looked hungry.”
The main course would be chuletta, “an amazing steak” from the Basque region of Spain. She’d finish the meal with two desserts: a coconut milk soup with mango tapica from Hong Kong and a Chilean alfajore, “a strange egg-yolk based cracker that’s dry and filled with dolce de leche.” Rasmussen would wash it all down with the egg cream at 11 Madison Park restaurant in New York. “It’s made with yolks, syrup and seltzer water, so it foams up and is just delicious.”
Steven Rosenberg, owner of Liberty Heights Fresh market • “My last meal would begin with a wonderful Fina Sodea clementine from the Olsen organic farm in California. I would probably use it in a nice arugula salad with toasted Marcona almonds and a very simple vinaigrette with extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar.
My next course would be beautiful Iberico ham from Spain, with Manchego cheese and a nice glass of white wine and roasted root vegetables. For the main course, I’d have a really nice piece of wild fish from the Pacific or a rib eye steak from Utah’s Canyon Meadows Ranch.
Dessert would be some of the black sphinx dates with local apples and a glass of sherry. Then I might have some more cheese and a Utah cherry pie. If this is my last meal, I might as well go fat and happy.”
Dreaming of your last meal
We asked Utah celebrities what they’d have for their last meal — now we want to hear from Tribune readers. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org telling us what you’d want to eat on your last day on earth. Put “last meal” in the subject line. If we’re still here after Friday, we’ll publish them in The Mix on Dec. 26.