MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
He says that even before the policy change, last-meal requests rarely resembled the meal that was ultimately delivered.
BRIAN PRICE: But like this man said, he wanted a Meat Lover's pizza. No, that didn't come in unless there happened to be a compassionate officer or a chaplain or warden paid for it out of their own pockets. The state was out absolutely nothing.
BLOCK: The Texas prison system, Mr. Price, has turned down your offer to make these last meals, pay for them yourself. They say it's not a cost issue; that they're moving away from the practice. And the Texas state senator who's been leading this effort, John Whitmire, says that the inmates who were being executed didn't give any of this consideration to their victims. Their victims weren't given a last meal. What do you make of that argument?
PRICE: He said, well, when I go in that witness chamber and I have to wipe off the handprints, the smeared lipstick and makeup, the tears mixed with all that on that glass, where that man's family watched him being executed, he said, that's what bothers me. What if that was your son on that gurney and you're on the other side of that glass, watching him be put to death like an animal, how would you feel then? Would you have gone out and got him a Meat Lover's pizza if you could? Of course, you would've. So as a civilized society and a Christian nation, which I still claim - and a Christian state, as the state of Texas - then why not? Let's show that softer, more compassionate side.
BLOCK: When you're cooking for inmates on death row for their last meal, what could you tell about them from their request?
PRICE: Maybe when he would see and taste those butter beans, and smell that smell, it would take him back to that time when he was sitting around that dinner table with his siblings, and mom bringing them to him. And the happier times - and trying to recall, right before he leaves this planet, maybe something fond. And to leave here with good memories, knowing where he's fixing to meet his maker here within the next hour and 45 minutes, when he's eating that meal.
BLOCK: Brian Price, thank you very much.
PRICE: Thank you so much, Melissa. I appreciate it.
BLOCK: Brian Price cooked about 200 last meals for inmates on Texas's death row. He's the author of the book "Meals to Die For."
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