I was reading something online the other day about the last meals selected by prisoners on death row. There were sad little photos showing institutionally prepared versions of down home favorites, like fried chicken and biscuits on a forlorn plastic tray. Most of it looked like hospital-issued junk food, prepared with the same lack of culinary gusto you might experience while recovering from having your appendix removed, only with way less concern for your health. It was depressing, and more than a little on the macabre side. But keep in mind that I was reading this while confined to my cubicle, having just finished a flavorless, overly chilled salad from the office cafeteria. So the article struck me as quite relevant to my current situation.

There’s something so undeniably fascinating about the concept of a last meal. Even if you’re passionate about food, getting to consume it is something you probably take for granted. Barring catastrophe, you’ve got a long line of meals ahead of you. Try to imagine what it would feel like to sit down before your very last meal, knowing that that’s what it is. It’s unimaginable, and not very fun to think about. Dying tomorrow would suck, no matter that it probably gets me out of a three-hour meeting I’m dreading (then again, what’s another corpse in the room?).

Occasionally, someone will ask, “What would you pick as your final meal?” It’s a pretty fun game (the answer is obviously a cheeseburger), but imminent death is a little far-fetched for my tastes. Impending poverty, on the other hand, strikes me as all too feasible a reality. And so I got to wondering, if you were about to go broke, what would you eat with your last 10 bucks? Here’s my list, in order of preference:

What I’d Eat With My Last $10

  1. A Double Whopper with Cheese from Burger King, with onion rings and a Coke (budget permitting).
  2. One large cheese pizza (or, if I happen to be in New York, half a cheese pizza).
  3. General Tso’s Chicken from Panda Express in a New Jersey mall food court.
  4. Belgian waffles with vanilla ice cream.
  5. Chicken and rice with white sauce and barbecue sauce from that dude with the cart on 56th Street in Manhattan.

Man oh man, does that all sound good! That makes me wish I really were about to go broke, just so I could rationalize chomping into some of those goodies. Wow, I mean: a Double Whopper with cheese. Let’s just say it’s been a while. Truth be told, it took me a while to decide between the Double Whopper and its more exotic and tangy cousin, the Western Whopper, but that faceoff is a column for another day.

ANYWAY. While I consider my list to be downright awesome, I of course wanted to know what other people would eat with their last 10 bucks. Here’s a few top picks.

“A sushi roll from Makoto.” – Dan

“Roti canai from Raju in Malaysia. 10 bucks will buy you enough for 3 days there, and it’s amazing.” – Jim

“A Fat Burger. Loaded.” – Katie

“Fried Chicken from Zesto’s in South Carolina, but I would be happy with KFC or Popeye’s, as well.” — Mark

“Two Philly cheesesteaks.” — Anders

“French fries with cheese and gravy.” — Anders

“Just give me a cocktail.” — Geoff

“Been a long time since I was in NJ, so it would be pork roll, egg and cheese on a Kaiser bun.” — Scott

“Chinese…probably Lo Mein.” — Adam

“Whopper with cheese, onion rings, Coke and a Sprite.” — Wayne

“The best curry goat, rice and peas, cabbage and plantain that $10 will buy me.” — Tracey

So tell us: If you only had 10 bucks left to your name, what would you eat?