Ordered by: Edward Hartman
Bravo on the prison-stache, sir.
Date of Meal: 10/3/2003
Meal: A Greek salad, linguini with white clam sauce, cheese cake with cherry topping, garlic bread, and a Coke.
Participants: Eric, Nikki (Meal 5), Josh
Clockwise from left: White sardines, garlic cloves, whole baby clams with juice (2 cans), parsley (1 bunch), 1 red pepper, ground black pepper, Coke (2 bottles), 1 English cucumber, 1 red onion, 1 hero roll, white cooking wine, bag o’ salad, cheesecake with cherry topping (and creepy “Happy Valentines Day” ornament), butter, feta cheese, pitted red olives, 1 lemon, thyme
First of all, can we look at the ingredients again? This is by far the most we’ve had to date. But I’ll explain that shortly. First, I have some introductions to make. Josh, who drinks every week along with Ashish, Nikki, and I, has been a fan of the blog from the beginning, as well as a loving critic. Even before the now-infamous Meal #5, with its sacrilegious cheese and fresh strawberries, Josh was already criticizing that we weren’t recreating the pure meal. He wanted solitude, a priest, everyone eating the entire portion, the whole 9 yards. My response: let’s do a meal, and you can set it up however you want it set up. So let’s just note that for the rest of this review: this was Josh-certified.
As always, I feel it necessary to introduce Josh’s relationship to food. Josh, like Nikki, likes the finer things in life. He has at instant recall maybe a dozen restaurants in his area that he loves, and they serve everything from sushi to barbecue to tapas. He’s traveled the world and has eaten everything. The only thing I’ve ever seen Josh turn his nose up at was cilantro, because he’s got that genetic (read: FAKE) disposition that makes it taste like soap to him. Sorry, I don’t buy it; just an excuse to make people cater to your needs. Selfish.
We picked a day to have our dinner, and since Nikki was around, she hosted at her place. This time, however, she was held in check with regard to the preparation of the meal—that and she was really hung over from the previous night, and in no mood to go through a ton of preparation. We seriously contemplated just doing the guy who asked for a couple of Whoppers, but our commitment prevailed, and we went out for real groceries.
At the store, we discovered that dinner was going to be a bit harder than we thought. We figured it would be in keeping with the prison tradition to buy a can of clam sauce, but apparently The Garden of Eden is too good for that. So we had to make our clam sauce from scratch, hence all the very un-penitentiary items in the ingredients list.
For food prep Nikki got to work on making the garlic butter for the bread while Josh worked on vegetables for the salad. I took care of boiling water and washing and drying parsley and thyme (this is the job you would normally give to the 4 year-old helping you cook. Don’t think I didn’t notice…)
One of maybe 6 we tried to take of Josh crying onion tears. He’s such a softie!
If you’re not eating something off of a knife on a Death Row food blog, you’re doing something wrong.
Nikki on garlic butter detail. I think she used the whole package of butter, but are we actually surprised about this?
The white clam sauce, pre-clams. This is from a Rachael Ray recipe. EVOO! (barf on you, Ms. Ray)
Clams away! On another note, the clams were nowhere near as tasty to snack on as the anchovies. They were so delicious, and I felt like I was in a Heathcliff cartoon!
The secret to any Death Row inmate’s last meal: laughter
Greek salad! Opa!
Garlic bread (aka legal crack)
Linguini with white clam sauce. Man, clams and me are just not photogenic.
Yes, we didn’t make the cheesecake, but c’mon, this is amazing. And the guy’s name is “Hartman.” Coincidence?
Your meal is served. Please tip your waiter.
Well, no priest. No solitude. It was actually quite a nice-looking spread, and we were pretty excited for it. Onto the review!
1. What do you think he did?
Eric: Now the thing is, we found this meal on the Wikipedia site for famous last meals, so I’m thinking he did something kind of noteworthy.
Nikki: Maybe it’s because he was wrongfully accused. One guy was wrongfully accused.
Josh: No, this guy did it. You think he was wrongfully accused? Of what?
Nikki: Well, obviously murder.
Eric: So you think wrong place, wrong time?
Josh: I’m going with car-jacking.
Eric: Here’s what I’m going to say, and this is based off of a few things. First, this was on a site for famous last meals, so I think he was known to people. I’m thinking he was a serial killer. I also think linguini and clam sauce is just one of those things…it’s like a Hannibal Lecter meal. I think the clam sauce is ominous.
Nikki: If he had gone Caesar salad with this, I would have for sure thought mafia. You know, the linguini with clam sauce, Caesar salad, garlic bread…that all goes together.
It turns out Josh was pretty close to the truth. First of all, Edward Hartman was executed in North Carolina, which might explain the shift in menu (thank God). Edward Hartman got drunk on 16 beers and shot his mother’s ex-boyfriend—with whom he was living—in the back of the head at point-blank range while the guy was watching TV, cashed checks from his account and took his car. My favorite part about this crime (because there’s always a favorite part in murder) is that Hartman had been telling people how rich this guy was, that he carried thousands of dollars in his pockets. I don’t know why this is particularly humorous to me, because I guess having thousands of dollars of walking-around money might make you rich. But it’s also pretty weird, even for 1993, to walk around with that much money in your pocket. I just like thinking that in Edward’s mind, society is segmented into three classes: those who walk around with dollars in their pockets, those who walk around with hundreds of dollars in their pockets, and those who walk around with thousands of dollars in their pockets. I think he’s paraphrasing Marx.
Hartman became famous, it turns out, because he argued that the prosecution had used his homosexuality as a factor to turn the jury against him. So not only is this our first seafood meal and our first meal from North Carolina, this is also our first openly gay murderer! Barrier breaking! It’s too bad we did this the week after MLK weekend.
2. What are your first impressions?
Eric: First of all, I’m glad this guy went with Greek salad instead of Caesar. Caesar’s one of those salads that you never know what you’re going to get. Some places it’s great, and other places it’s just lettuce, salad dressing, and croutons. And this is prison. You know you’re not getting any anchovies here. And beyond that, I’m excited about this. Linguini, clam sauce, garlic bread to dip in the clam sauce…and a cheesecake? This is great.
Josh: I think you’re right. This guy went to college. I mean, don’t get me wrong, this guy is sick, but he seems to have good taste. (Note: we didn’t know what he did yet). I think this is a meal he had before. This isn’t like your “4 hot dogs and 3 hamburgers” kind of meal you usually see.
Eric: Yeah, I think he’s trying to get back to what he had before. I’ll bet you if it wasn’t for prison regulations, he would have had wine with this.
Josh: Fava beans and a nice Chianti?
3. How close is this to what you would have picked for your own last meal?
None of us think this was too close to our last meal. As we know, this doesn’t even make it into Nikki’s gigantic list.
Nikki: It’s not. I mean, I enjoy it.
Eric: It’s delightful.
Josh: It’s great. I just wouldn’t go near any of these ingredients for my last meal. I want a greatest hits.
Nikki: I might have seconds. This salad is good.
Eric: I definitely wouldn’t go for the linguini and clam sauce. It’s good, but nothing special. But I would have the garlic bread—or even better, garlic knots—and definitely the cheesecake. I love the cheesecake.
Josh: I think this guy might have killed little kids. (Ok, ok, there’s a lot of ways this guy could be creepy…we get it)
4. What are the strong elements? What are the weak elements?
Eric: I don’t think there are any weak elements.
Josh: Yeah, everything is garlicky and oniony.
Eric: The Coke is probably the weakest element.
Nikki: Definitely the weakest for me.
At this point, a little history lesson on Nikki. When she was a kid, she never drank soda, because her parents wouldn’t let her. One day she was asking for it a lot, and they decided to shake some up and give it to her, which apparently scarred her for life against drinking carbonated beverages—soda, beer, champagne. She says the bubbles hurt. I love this story. And for the record, Nikki was game enough to try a sip of her soda.
Also, during this discussion Nikki couldn’t get over the salad and Josh’s response was pretty much “Meh, it’s good.”
5. How does the meal work as a whole? Are there any unexpected surprises in the pairings?
Josh: I think it’s a good meal. It holds together.
Eric: Yeah, it’s a nice, civilized meal before you die.
Josh: He probably ate it wearing women’s underwear.
Eric: Ha! “I want it to be really hot!” Then he dumped it on his crotch.
6. How satisfied are you after the meal?
Nikki: I’m a little too full.
Josh: I feel like this guy is carbo-loading for nowhere. For some marathon he’s never going to run.
Eric: I’m good here.
7. Is there anything you’re craving after this?
Nikki: I want a cigarette.
Eric: You always want a cigarette.
Josh: I kind of want to shoot someone in the back of the head.
8. Was there anything missing you would have liked?
Josh: I would have gotten a different dessert. I don’t like cheesecake. And I would have had ice cream with it. Also, I would have had parmigiana cheese with the pasta.
Eric: I could have used some meat. The clams weren’t enough.
Josh: Bacon in the clam sauce.
Eric: I was thinking a pork cutlet. Like pork milanese with it. By the way, did you put lemon zest in this?
Nikki: I forgot.
Eric: That’s what this was missing.
Josh: I could have used an Andes mint.
Eric: Oh yeah, those things are great. Growing up, my brother and I called them Scooby snacks. I’m not going to explain this further.
9. What does this do for your state of mind? Do you feel more at peace?
Nikki: I’m way too full. I feel gross.
Eric: I’m not too full. This was kind of a nice meal. I feel like if this were my last meal, I’d be fine.
Josh: I feel like he’s putting on airs. He really wanted hominy grits and chicken necks, I bet.
10. Ready to die??
Nikki: Again, I’m not ready to die. This isn’t a suicide pact. I want to keep living. (I then explained she has to think of it as her last meal, and whether she would regret it being her last meal) It’s not my last meal. It’s a little too heavy for me. I don’t want to die uncomfortable.
Josh: I think I have to poop first. They’d have to let me take a nice poop before they’d kill me, and then I’d be ready. (But Josh, food-wise…) Nope, I wouldn’t be happy. Now, if I took a good poop…
Eric: I’m going to go ahead and say that if this were given to me, I wouldn’t be upset. There would be some things missing, but after, like, rape and beef stew, this is a treat!
Josh: Is “beef stew” a new rape term?
For one thing, Josh is all talk. We had a dinner just like any of the other dinners, with no rigidity whatsoever. We didn’t even get a prison-brand cheesecake. Second, some people are really bad drunks. I drink 16 beers, I have to pee a lot and I probably lay around on the couch, holding my bloated belly. Other people commit egregious homicide for some money. I don’t know, maybe try a hard cider or something. No one drinks Magners and gets violent, do they? Finally, I have to say that cohesiveness goes a long way in selling a meal. I never order linguini with clam sauce. My mom sometimes made it when I was growing up, and it was a solid B meal. It was something different, it wasn’t meatloaf, and I kind of enjoyed it, but when I go somewhere for pasta, I need more than some parsley and a few clams sprinkled in a bowl. But the combo of garlic bread, a nice salad, and cheesecake for dessert really sold the whole meal. This was an over-achieving meal, I think. And it helped that I didn’t feel like I was getting fatter every minute of eating it, which is a huge improvement from the last five meals.
Note: We’ve finally started to receive some reader requests for last meals! For those of you who submitted, they have been received, and I will definitely put them in the queue for review. Check back as always and you may one day see your name (or alias, or whatever) up here!
- thelastsupperclub posted this