According to Studiofeast– the supper club behind the Doppelganger Dinner and a partner in the L Train lunch– AOL users choose sauce, cheese and crab, while Gmail users envision a last meal of cheese, chocolate, and salad.
Anyone who signs up for Studiofeast’s mailing list must answer this question. At the end of the year, the cooking collective then hosts a Last Meal dinner inspired by the responses. 2010’s Last Meal dinner was created from the top 20 most mentioned items like cheese, pork, and mom’s cooking.
The menu for this year’s 5 course meal- held on December, 18, 2011- was developed by mining the responses of the 564 new subscribers to determine the top 3 items from selected segments: location of new guests, email domains, gender, season submitted, time of day submitted, and occupation. Founder Mike Lee used Google Refine, Mechanical Turk, and Textalyser to clean, structure, and analyze the data, resulting in a dinner of cheese, lobster, chicken, duck, and chocolate. Studiofeast member Soomin Baik also produced this interesting graphic to share his findings.
But what can you really learn from these responses?
Some results are what you’d expect (e.g., Massachussets includes “Lobster”) and others present amusing/puzzling results (e.g., Pennsylvania: “Scallop, Vermouth, Heart.”). At times, the results remind us that we’re not so different after all, (e.g., Men & Women both list “Cheese” in their top 3) and at others they highlight how rich a tapestry we are as a people (e.g., Businesspeople want “Duck, Cheese, and Soup” while engineers/architects requested “Potato, Korea, and Chocolate”). We are reminded how the seasons subtly influence our cravings, (e.g., Spring includes “Salad,” Winter asks for “Potatoes”) and but also how we could benefit by rethinking conventional wisdom of how time and food are related (e.g., Breakfast time submissions requested “Fresh, Duck, Pho,” which I hope to God becomes a food trend for 2012). We unearthed a few new things since doing this in 2010, that’s for sure, but I’m still happy to report that “cheese” remains the overall #1 request for a last meal. It’s good to know that despite our shortcomings, we as a society still have not lost our goddamned minds.
In the end, our goal with this dataset was to create a conversation piece, one that served as both an inspiration for a menu as well as a natural ice breaker for dinner table conversation,” writes Lee. “This isn’t hard science and we don’t expect Proctor & Gamble to come calling for the dataset with hopes of launching a Last Meals product line based on this research. But this sort of thing exemplifies one of the things we strive to do with Studiofeast: spurring conversation over a meal, which leads to a great social experience for all.
The menu and pictures can be viewed in their entirety here.