Let me just get this straight, this is my last meal? I’m going to start preparing the food hours before my guests arrive. My husband, Gabriele Corcos, who’s a Tuscan chef, and I are preparing it together. We’re going to make my favorite thing that he makes me every New Year’s Eve: melanzane alla parmigiana. In the kitchen, I’ll have to have lime and hot pepper San Carlo potato chips. I have a thing for potato chips, and I don’t care if they’re bad for you. I love them, and they’re part of my life, so I’m going to have them. I’m going to say “fuck it” and smoke a cigarette, and I’ll probably have some leftover dry, white Sicilian wine just because I want to get a little high on life, eat the chips, and prepare my meal with love. I’m going to have music blaring in the background. I’ve put on Benny Moré, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente. I want to have a Latin vibe, even though I’m in Italy. It’s part of my personality.
As people arrive, I’ll serve them a Negroni as the welcome cocktail. I’ve put out a display of appetizers: a soft pecorino cheese that has hot peppers in it, sliced with some pear, some parmigiano broken up by hand so it’s nice and chunky, and some Sicilian castelvetrano olives that taste really buttery. Maybe a little honey on the side, with some hot pepper flakes for people that want to give a little dip to their parmigiano or pecorino. I’ll serve some calabrese salami, finocchiona, and maybe boar salami.
Once everybody’s seated, we’ll start with a gorgeous salad. I love to shop for fresh vegetables, so I’m getting beautiful radicchio, arugula, valerianella, which is like watercress, and lettuces. I like my salad to be crunchy. I love avocados. I don’t dress the salad in advance, because everybody’s different. For me, I’m going with the acidic balsamic because it’s just so fresh and light, and my salad tastes so healthy.
My husband will grill. He’s going to make a steak that bleeds, bistecca alla fiorentina. I personally prefer the filet medium: pink, but not bleeding. Listen, I grew up in America. So yes, I can eat a red, bleeding steak, but it’s not my favorite. Then we have our parmigiana.
The music’s still going. I’m clearing the table throughout, because if I got to go, I need to know that my kitchen is clean. I’ll have my dessert on the way to the holy gates, but I’m going to serve my guests first. They’re getting torta della nonna from Alcedo Bakery in Fiesole. It’s my favorite cake and I’m going to take some with me on my flight up, as I sip on a final shot of some good Scottish whiskey, with a cigarette.
Oh wait! The guest list. I want, at the table, a mixture of mine and my husband’s friends from past and present, some who have died, some still with us. Madonna will have to be there. Pedro Almodovar, Rossy de Palma, Paco Léon.
Look, if I sit you at my table, it’s the greatest gift I can give you because A) I’m going to serve you good food, but B) I’m going to show you love. I’m going to make you feel nourished, appreciated, like a hundred fucking million bucks, and you’re going to leave my house inspired and happy. And that’s what I want for my last meal. I hate to think about that. But when I rise up, I’m surrounded by cypress and olive trees and beauty, and if I can have people here to celebrate something that’s final, it’s going to be amazing.