The Surprising Truth Behind "Last Meals" And Why We Serve Them To Those About To Die

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Mental Floss

When you read about the execution of an inmate on death row you are often informed about whether they had a last meal, and if so, what they had. A common misconception is that condemned inmates are entitled to a last meal of their choice, it is not a rule but rather a long-standing tradition.

The tradition has a religion background, that is why many people picture da Vinci's famous painting of Christ breaking bread with his disciples. In medieval Europe it was also that the condemned would not be able to come back as a spirit if they were well fed.

Even now in the U.S., traditions related to executing condemned inmates differs from state to state. They no longer offer a special last meal in Texas (which has executed more prisoners than any other state), but in Florida they offer inmates whatever they want on a $40 budget. There are several states that fall in between, Oklahoma only allows inmates a $15 budget.  

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