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?