These Are The Most Requested Last Meal Foods On Death Row

A study conducted by Cornell University concluded that death row inmates tend to pile on the comfort food in their final days of life. Nutrition and calories don't mean much in the face of impending death. If your time is almost up, why not indulge yourself in a premium wagyu steak or a buttery freshly-caught lobster tail? Well, prisoners' final meals aren't always as luxurious as that.

In Oklahoma, death row meals must not cost more than $25, the limit is $40 in Florida, and Texas doesn't offer prisoners one last meal at all. Texas ended the practice back in 2011 when a prisoner named Lawrence Russell Brewer requested chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, a pound of barbecue, fajitas, a meat lover's pizza, ice cream, and peanut butter fudge as his last meal — a virtual feast for anyone, let alone a condemned killer — and then didn't eat any of it.

But the odd assemblage of dishes actually points to a few trends among death row inmates across the country. In the face of death, people crave the comforting dinner-time classics from their youth.

Death row dinners test the limits of comfort food

Of the 193 last meals collected by Cornell University, the majority included steaks, pizzas, hamburgers, and sodas. If one word is repeated more than any other, it's "fried": fried chicken, fried chicken steaks, French fries, and fried seafood are common last meal requests. They're classic definitions of comfort food: greasy dishes with a high sodium and fat content that bring people comfort at distressing times.

The requested food is usually simple in nature, with very few added frills. From fast food staples like Kentucky Fried Chicken to chocolate shakes to ice cream, the requests can even be nostalgic in nature. Perhaps Burger King and chocolate chip ice cream remind prisoners of happier, simpler times.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a death row inmate who orders a glass of water with their final meal. It's usually against the rules for prisoners to wash down their last meals with alcohol, so inmates seem to prefer soda. Allen Lee Davis ordered 32 ounces of A&W root beer alongside his feast of fried shrimp, fried clams, and garlic bread. Ronnie Lee Gardner requested 7-Up with his steak, lobster tail, and apple pie à la mode. Inmate John Grant washed down two bacon cheeseburgers with a 2-liter bottle of Pibb Xtra.

Notorious killers have ordered equally-notorious meals

Some death row inmates have diverged from the comfort food trend over the years. John Wayne Gacy ordered a pound of strawberries with his final meal of KFC, french fries, and fried shrimp. Timothy McVeigh seemingly had a sweet tooth, as the only food he requested was mint chocolate chip ice cream.

In addition to Burger King Whoppers, fries, and a chocolate chip ice cream cone, Joseph Mitchell Parsons requested grape-flavored Hubba Bubba bubble gum. Other prisoners have asked for gummy worms, fried clams, fruit cocktails, and barbecue chips — the salty, calorie-packed list goes on.

Few states go above and beyond to fulfill an inmate's final meal requests, often limiting the options to whatever is in the prison's kitchen. So if you want the freedom to indulge yourself with a thick, juicy steak and a boozy cocktail in your final moment, you might want to avoid ending up on death row. Instead, read up on what your favorite celebrity chef's last meal would be, and then try it for yourself.