There’s no doubt that great food can inspire – whether that’s in art, literature or song.
But in some cases the impact can be so profound it’s the last thing we think of during our time on Earth.
Legendary American frontiersman Kit Carson, whose anniversary falls next week, inspires admiration and revulsion in equal measure.
Whether he was cutting a path through the Oregon trail, surviving in the wilds, leading battalions against Confederates or Native Americans, stories about Carson have lived on long after his death in 1868.
But for all his exploits, all the memories, all the things he’d left unsaid during his lifetime, the final words of Kit Carson as he lay dying at Fort Lyon, Colorado, are supposedly: “wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili.” We could have offered him our chili beef muffins!
Not everyone has the wicked wit of the actor Richard Harris who as he was wheeled out of the Savoy Hotel shortly before his death from pneumonia startled all in reception by declaring “it was the food, don’t touch the food.”
But, when the grim reaper does come calling, it is to food and drink that many of our thoughts will turn.
Aged just 24 when he became Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger held the office for nearly 19 years presiding over a time of great change as the world transitioned from the rural 18th to industrial 19th century. He saw off the French, created the UK and established it as a world power.
The workload took its toll on a man regarded as one of Britain’s greatest leaders and it’s thought a peptic ulcer caused his death. For all he had seen in his lifetime his final words were a simple request which sadly went unfulfilled: ““I think I could eat one of Bellamy’s veal pies.”
At least US President Millard got to enjoy a bowl of soup before he passed, though his final words: “the nourishment is palatable” were hardly a ringing endorsement and certainly less enthusiastic than comic actor Lou Costello who declared: “that was the best ice cream soda I ever tasted” before dying from a cardiac arrest at a Beverley Hills hospital.
The great actor Humphrey Bogart used his dying words to express a regret: “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis” whilst the last words of another whisky lover, poet Dylan Thomas, suggest he may have overdone things: “I’ve had 18 straight whiskeys. I think that’s the record.”
Whilst many displayed a love of food in life, few can have demonstrated such concern as the Greek philosopher Pythagoras in one account of his death.
Pursued by an angry mob, he refused to trample over a field of fava beans to make his escape, declaring: “It is better to perish than to kill all those poor beans.”
At SK we hope our wide range of options, inspired by the great foods of the world, moves you to words, but definitely not your final ones!!!