Former Death Row Chef Wants to Continue Cooking Last Meals

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Texas -- the biggest execution state in the union -- has ended the tradition of offering death row inmates a final meal of their choice, but a former prison cook said he wants to continue the practice at his expense.

The controversy over last meals reached its boiling point recently when convicted killer Russell Brewer requested and received the following final meal before he was executed on September 21, he:

-- Two chicken-fried steaks smothered in gravy with sliced onions
-- Triple-meat bacon cheeseburger
-- Cheese omelet with other ingredients
-- Large bowl of fried okra with ketchup
-- Three fajitas
-- Pint of Blue Bell ice cream
-- Pound of barbecue with a half-loaf of white bread
-- Slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts
-- Pizza
-- Three root beers

To make matters worse, he didn't eat a bite, outraging at least one lawmaker.

"Enough is enough," said state Sen. John Whitmire. "It is extremely inappropriate to give a person sentenced to death such a privilege -- one which the perpetrator did not provide to their victim."

Prison officials agreed and ended the meal requests for death row inmates.

However Brian Price wants to come to their rescue. Price served 14-years for assault and during that time prepared nearly 200 final meals.

"We should not get rid of the last meal," Price told CNN. "Justice is going to be served when this person is executed, but can we not show our softer side? Our compassionate side?"

Price, who wrote a book about his experiences appropriately titled "Meals to Die For" and now owns a restaurant, said he will cook the meals, free of charge.

"Texas has always been coldhearted about these types of things," said Price. "Not to minimize these crimes, the majority of them have earned their place at that dinner table. But with my offer it would not cost Texas taxpayers anything."

But the state isn't biting, so to speak.

"While we appreciate Mr. Price's offer, it's not the cost but more the concept that we're moving away from," said Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark.