Visual Arts — August 1, 2019 15:55 — 0 Comments

Your Last Supper

Below is a story that appeared in Amtrak’s OnTrak magazine in Summer/Fall 2019

KIRO RADIO’S RACHEL BELLE loves food. A decade ago, the intrepid reporter stumbled upon a list of last meals requested by Texas inmates. She wondered what would her own last meal be, and what if she turned this curiosity into a podcast series featuring celebrities such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Guillermo Del Toro and Alicia Silverstone? Just like that, the podcast Your Last Meal with Rachel Belle was born.

Ultimately, what interests you about food?

I’ve been enthusiastic about food since I was a tiny girl, trying chicken feet for the first time at a dim sum parlor and wishing for pizza every time I’d throw a penny into a well. I love traveling to foreign countries, walking through outdoor markets and tasting new things.

What specifically interests you about a last meal?

Learning about a food that is sacred to a person opens up a window into their life. I learn about people’s families and childhoods, what comforts them, what brings them joy. And I dive into the origins of food, too. Did you know people in Salt Lake City eat more Jell-O than anyone else in the country?

Any revelations from doing the series?

Smart people choose lobster! A few of my guests with intellectual professions have wanted lobster for their last meal, and every single one of them has said it’s strategic, it takes so long to crack the shells and pick out all the meat. Their goal is to stave off their execution.

Is there a guest you really hope to interview?

Larry David and Sarah Silverman!

You were nominated for a James Beard Award for the show. How did that feel?

It was surreal. I’ve worked in news radio for more than fifteen years, but food has always been my passion. At the time, I had never won a journalism award, but a year and a half after starting the podcast I received a James Beard nomination. It was a strong reminder to keep following this path.

And your last meal?

Crisp, briny oysters that I’d shuck myself on a Washington beach. A grilled cheese sandwich so melty it would put the Kraft Singles commercial to shame. Homemade tagliatelle with bolognese and lots of parmesan.


Jake Uitti is a founding editor of The Monarch Review.

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The answer isn't poetry, but rather language

- Richard Kenney