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Last bite at the end of the world

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I’ve only flown first class once in my life. It was a flight from Orlando to Los Angeles right after Christmas, and while our plane was in the air, a particularly nasty storm was brewing below in the Gulf of Mexico.

Not long into the flight, the attendant began passing out warm towels, a fancy dinner (it was a chicken curry that was actually discernable in both shape and species, unlike anything you get in coach), and a large Kit Kat bar (yeah … they do that). Suddenly the engines grew quiet as we hit a large cloud bank, and without any warning or pretense, our plane did that gut-turning elevator drop.

It turns out our sudden detour to a lower altitude was just a preview of coming attractions. For the next three hours, I entertained the idea that I would be facing certain death, as our plane jolted, creaked, vibrated, and buzzed (oh yeah, there was lightning).

People in the cabin were crying, praying, hyperventilating, and playing pharmacologist with whatever mood suppressors were available.

When I tell people this story, they often ask the same question: “What was going through your head?”

OK, no one ever asks that, because they’re too busy thinking I’m exaggerating this whole thing, but Buddha and my seatmate, Mr. Patel, as my witnesses, that’s how it really went down. I swear.

But if someone really did ask what was going through my head, I would tell them it was a series of simple, yet life-affirming rhetorical questions:

“Oh god, who’s going to dress the cat up for the family photo next year? Am I wearing my good underwear?” And most importantly, “Was that really my very last meal on this planet?”

It’s the fundamental question of my life.

Dec. 21 is the end of the world, or so say conspiracy theorists who feel qualified to read ancient Mayan texts.

If that’s truly the case, Dec. 21 will be the last day you or I will ever eat, and if there’s one thing in this life I love to plan for, it’s food.

This doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. If you’re reading this on Dec. 20, you have approximately 24 hours to plan. A good source of ideas can be found at deadmaneating.blogspot.com, which catalogues all last meal requests of death row inmates dating back to 2002. If anyone has time to plan a good last meal, it’s a death row inmate.

Once you plan your last meal, I suggest you head down to Port San Luis where lots of folks are headed to celebrate several different things (they’re keeping the event booze free, so if you’re going with the belief that the world really is ending, you’ll have to do it sober). Watch the tide roll in and wrap your lips around the one thing that promises comfort in the last moments of this confusing, happy, sad, fragment existence of ours: food.

We want a Bite! Send your food news to bites@newtimesslo.com.

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