On death row, jail inmates want comfort food
French fries, soda, ice cream, hamburgers, chicken, steak and pie are commonly requested items among inmates imminently facing execution, according to Cornell University researchers who studied 193 last meal requests in the United States.
The final meals of condemned prisoners are an enduring, if morbid, source of fascination _ whether those convicted of the most heinous crimes opted for a final lobster dinner or canned spaghetti. Requests vary greatly, but the Cornell researchers found some general trends in a quirky bit of research analyzing last meal orders.
No surprise: Many last meal requests are tasty but unhealthy. More than two-thirds of the condemned ordered fried foods, mostly french fries, and they ordered dessert at about the same rate. Inmates were five times more likely to request soda than milk.
The average meal request came in at an estimated 2,756 calories, more than a typical grown man needs in a whole day. Researchers estimated that four of the meal requests tallied more than 7,200 calories, including a request for 12 pieces of fried chicken, two buttered rolls, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, two sodas and a pint each of strawberry and vanilla ice cream.
Comfort foods were popular among the condemned. More than a third asked for the most popular meat, chicken, followed by hamburger (24 percent) and steak (22 percent). Four percent requested fast-food takeout from chains like McDonald's, Wendy's or KFC.
Fruits and vegetables were
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