Illustration depicting Stephen Satterfield's dream last supper. A long table dressed in a cream table cloth is topped with various dishes, cakes, and bottles of wine and champagne. Around the table are depicted Stephen's parents and grandparents, alongside Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Harriet Tubman, Nelson Mandela, and LeBron James. The setting is in a field in Atlanta, surrounded by trees and crops growing.

Last Supper

The food writer and host of High on the Hog shares his would-be last meal and who’s at the table.

15 October 20215 min read

I want my final supper to be a celebratory affair, with all of the people who made my life possible or meaningful present. That’s a long table, but this is sort of an outlandish hypothetical situation, so I feel I can invite them all. Who knows if they’ll even be able to make it!

My mom will run the front-of-house — she holds down the household and has always been in charge of decor, outreach, communications. Dad handles all the cooking. My career in food was actually first solidified by the perspective of my father who is a great home cook. My dad still makes the best collard greens I’ve had. I’ve banned myself from making them in his presence; only he’s allowed to make them.

We’re drinking. I started to study wine as a young person and became a sommelier by my 21st birthday. And so, at least in my adult life, even before I was legally entitled to enjoy it, wine has always been a part of not just my vocation, but how I relate to and think about the world.

I would hope that there would be food growing around us so that we could be inspired by it and be in that sort of head space.

My paternal grandmother was sort of a winemaker. She fermented dandelions and berries to make wine for the neighbors in Gary, Indiana. And my grandfather also made whiskey in his basement. The fact that my grandparents did not live long enough to know that their grandson would foster this love of wine, eating, and drinking is something that I think about a lot, because they would have delighted in that.

I feel compelled to want to convene with my ancestors, and I just keep coming back to this idea in this hypothetical context, because so much of my work is about identity. A lot of it has been exploring, moving through, analyzing, and scrutinizing my Black identity. I’m following a long tradition of Black scholars, radicals, and intellectuals who really have given me a relatively easy and privileged life.

An image of the Satterfield Family 7Up Pound Cake. The delicious looking bundt cake rests on a green plate. There are some crumbs where a slice was taken.

I find myself wanting to gather with people who’ve impacted me in a historical context. Maya Angelou, James Baldwin — the titans of Black American literature. I know that Maya Angelou was famously an amazing cook and loved congregating around food and drink. I’ve even been lucky enough to both read and hear firsthand accounts of just how amazing she was in the kitchen. I always dreamed about what it would have been like to be in those kitchens.

I would love to have dinner with Harriet Tubman. She’s one of my absolute favorite historical figures, so we should put Harriet on the list. Nelson Mandela, too. I spent time in South Africa in my early twenties, learning about apartheid and meeting with a lot of Black folks. Mandela has always struck me; his disposition, put mildly, is just so admirable in the face of everything that he endured.

I would want to just listen to them tell stories of their lives, stories to fortify me for my journey to the other side.

And a contemporary person: LeBron. We graduated from high school the same year. I played basketball in school. I think I was like 16 or 17 the first time LeBron was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He was kind of our first millennial celebrity athlete. I’ve always felt a kinship, and I’ve been so impressed with how he moves on and off the court.

I think this meal would be in Atlanta — that’s my hometown. On my mom’s side we’re in our seventh generation there. This meal has got to happen outside — I love dining in a field. I would hope that there would be food growing around us so that we could be inspired by it and be in that sort of head space. And I want it to be a mobile affair, so we’re moving, we’re talking, we’re laughing. So you can go pick some cherry tomatoes and corn, maybe, in between eating oysters from the South Coast.

We’re drinking lots of champagne and just storytelling. And I’m listening. I’m actually not doing much talking, but I guess since it’s my last meal, I probably just want to express gratitude to these people that I feel close to, these historical figures in my own familial ancestry. I would want to just listen to them tell stories of their lives, stories to fortify me for my journey to the other side.

Satterfield Family 7Up Pound Cake Recipe


3 sticks of butter (4 ounces each), softened
1 ½ cups of sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
½ teaspoon instant vanilla pudding
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
½ teaspoon coconut flavoring
Zest of 1 lemon
6 ounces of 7Up (or substitute with your preferred soda!)


Preheat oven to 325°F.

Generously grease and lightly flour a bundt pan and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter together in a bowl until creamy and smooth.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add instant vanilla pudding, then gradually add flour, blending well until batter is smooth.

Stir in vanilla extract, lemon extract, and coconut flavoring.

Fold in lemon zest.

Add 7Up or other desired flavored carbonated beverage.

Bake in a preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Let the cake sit in the pan until the pan is warm to the touch, not hot.

Remove from the pan and place on a rack until completely cooled.

Slice, serve, and enjoy!