Yet again the Germans have one word for something unpleasant, while the English need two and an explanation. "Henkersmahlzeit" is the last meal of the condemned man:
In many countries the prisoner may select what the last meal will be (within reason), and the authorities do their best to satisfy the request.
James Reynolds (h/t David Thompson) has a series of photographs documenting former Death Row prisoners' requests. They are singularly unappetizing. One meal looks even worse than Kentucky Fried Chicken. One has chosen a solitary doughnut (which he probably spells donut), another a packet of fags (which he probably doesn't call fags) and another is a poor man's Cool Hand Luke with only six eggs. One is clearly a coke-head and crackers with it:
More here. I assume that alchohol is not allowed, or surely they would have asked for it. Prisoners on the way to Tyburn in a much more savage age were allowed to stop off at pubs for a swiftie.
Should I end up on Death Row, here's what I want:
RidgeView Merret Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs 2001, Sussex, England
Smoked Salmon with Blinis, Woodland Sorrel and Cress Te Mata's Woodthorpe Chardonnay 2004, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Pan-fried Turbot with Cockles and Oxtail
Loin of Roe Venison with Potato Cake, Roast Roots, Creamed Cabbage and Game Gravy, Chateau Margaux 1993
Custard Tart with Garibaldi Biscuits
Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2005 Clare Valley, Australia
Well, if it's good enough for the Queen, it's good enough for me. And I'm not having that orange tray either - I want white linen, silver service and an ironed copy of New English Review.