Famous Last Meals: Part One

Last week, I promised to start a series on the last meals of famous historical figures. As I began to research the topic I discovered that well-known chef and historian Andrew Caldwell has already released a book on this very topic. Furthermore, he also provides the reader with recipes and other interesting historical tidbits.


That being said, there’s no reason why we can’t take a peek at the topic ourselves. Let’s get started.

Cleopatra VII
Death – 30 B.C. from an asp bite.

Known simply as Cleopatra, she was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty and was the last Pharaoh of Egypt. She’s famous for her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, as well as her dramatic choice of death. Legend has it that she chose this method so her features would remain unmarred. I like her style.

Cleopatra’s final meal was a simple dish of figs, served with a poisonous snake chaser.

First Class passengers of the Titanic
Death – 1912, although a great deal of the upper class survived the sinking.

Everyone should be familiar with the story of the Titanic, except for a few idiots on Twitter. I’m afraid I can’t speak anymore about that without going into a rage blackout.

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for a hundred years, here is a short history of the Titanic – Big boat. Iceberg. Not enough lifeboats. Leonardo DiCaprio drowning.

The rather decadent final meal included:

Photo: Kathleen Stachowski

Well, if you’re going to go down, it might as well be in style.

Marilyn Monroe (aka Norma Jean Baker)
Death – 1962 from a drug overdose

This blonde bombshell was, and in many ways, still is the epitome of femininity and beauty. With perfect looks and an hourglass figure to die for, one might think that her last meal would consist of little more than leafy greens.


On the night of her death Marilyn ordered takeaway Mexican. A lot of it. The meal consisted of – gazpacho, chicken breasts, taco dip, meatballs, refried beans and veal parmigiana. What a legend.

Death – 1977. He suffered numerous ailments in his final years, most of which have been associated with his death. Some of these include glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage, and an enlarged colon. All of these were exacerbated by drug abuse.

In his final years, Elvis had made a habit of feasting on particularly unhealthy snacks in the wee hours of the morning, and this occasion was no different. His final meal consisted of four scoops of icecream and six chocolate chip cookies, all consumed around 4am. It’s good to be the king.

He would be found dead on his bathroom floor (though some say it was on the toilet) later that afternoon.

To be continued…

On a side note, I’ve been toying with the idea of recreating the final Titanic meal and documenting it here on the blog. It would become yet another series, as I would only do one or two courses at a time. I would love to hear your feedback on this. Is it something you’d be interested in reading?

16 thoughts on “Famous Last Meals: Part One

  1. I have Googled punch romaine and I heartily support the last meal recreation if it means I can have some πŸ˜‰

  2. As an historical n00b, I’m confused as to why Cleopatra ‘chose’ her method of death. I realise this is probably equivalent to asking why Elvis was called ‘the king’, but hey.

    Also, the Titanic meal recreation would be crazy! A lesser challenge I offer to you is to find information on something that I *swear* has been done before, but for the life of me I can’t find now – a barista’s creation for a competition of some sort, that involved recreating the sinking of the Titanic _in a mug of hot chocolate_ with some sort of replica made of marshmallow.

    • I absolutely love the hot chocolate idea. So awesome!

      Heh, yeah I would try and downplay the craziness by doing it in installments.

      Ohh history lesson time! After a long battle, Egypt fell to the Romans and Cleopatra was supposedly captured. She was a severe threat to the Roman empire due to the fact that she had children by both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.

      As the story goes, she was put under heavy guard because Octavian, the Roman ruler at the time, wished to present her back in his homeland as a triumph. It was also likely this would have been followed by an execution.

      Somehow Cleopatra managed to convince someone to sneak the asp into her room so she could die on her on terms, with dignity.

  3. I, for one, would love to see the recreation of the menu. It seems like it would be fun–peaches in chartreuse jelly sounds like a wobbly good time (sorry, couldn’t resist).

  4. I lol-ed at the Twitter thing about Titanic. Guess we’re getting along in years if we actually knew the movie was based on an actual historical event.

    And a re-creation would be fantastic! Especially since I don’t even know what some of those words on the menu mean.

    • I’m so glad that people are interested in the recreation πŸ™‚

      I think it’s messed up that some people didn’t know it’s real. I was only born in the 80s and everyone I know is aware that it’s fact. I hate to be all “back in my day”, but I swear people are getting more and more ignorant

  5. Interesting history lesson on Titanic: I think you’ve blended the two events; the menu might well be genuine, but Leonardo DiCaprio was not yet born!


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