A rather unusual meal was requested by a prisoner on death row at Boggo Road Gaol in Brisbane in 1892. The request was widely reported in the newspapers, and the following is the account from the Warwick Examiner and Times (Qld, Australia) of November 2, 1892, almost two weeks after the pair were executed on October 24.
A Criminal’s Extraordinary Request.
A BANQUET BEFORE DEATH.
A few days before his execution the condemned man George Gleeson, who was a cook by trade, and had some money of his own, made application to the governor of the gaol to be allowed to have a specially prepared dinner for himself and his fellow-prisoner, Leonardo Moncado. The day fixed was the Thursday before the execution. After the banquet he said he proposed devoting the rest of his time to prayer and meditation. The request was no complied with in the form, though liberal provision consistent with prison rules was made on the day stated. The following was the menu prepared by Gleeson:-
Sucking pig stuffed with pork sausages, stuffing made with breadcrumbs, pepper, salt, thyme, sage, parsley, butter, yolk of two eggs; sauce, brains of calf or sheep, flour, salt, pepper, parsley, butter.
Entrée:- Rump steak 2 lb. to be cooked as a bread steak, with walnut and poached eggs.
Vegetables:- Green peas, 1 ½ lb., carrism 1 lb., turnips, 1 lb., beans, 1 lb., cauliflower
Salad:- Cucumber, with boiled eggs.
Boiled Cabinet Pudding:- 12 eggs, 1 lb. of sultanas, 1 lb. raisins, 1 lb. currants, candied lemon peel, essence lemons.
Plum Pudding:- 1 lb. suet, ½ dozen eggs, bottle rum, flour, 2 lb. loaf bread, small packet baking powder.
Fruit:- Bananas, oranges, pineapples, American apples.
Lemonade, 6 bottles; 6 lb. white loaf sugar, 1 ½ pound cake, 3 packets cigarettes, quill cigars, 2 dozen.
Cabinet Pudding was a classic Victorian pudding without which no formal dinner was considered complete. I have given a recipe for this pudding previously, but as with so many classic dishes, there are many interpretations of the concept – here is a rather frugal version:-
Muffin or Cabinet Pudding.
Slice three stale muffins, pour on them a pint of boiling milk, and let it get cold; simmer half a pint of cream, the peel of a lemon, half a nutmeg grated, and 4 oz. of loaf sugar. When cold, stir in eight yolks and four whites of eggs, well beaten, and a wineglassful of brandy. Then butter a mould, lay outward the crusty side of the muffin, upon which place dried cherries and the crumb of the muffins in alternate layers, pour in the custard, and bake half an hour, or boil in a stewpan an hour and a half. Serve with sauce.
The Australasian (Melbourne) 25 July 1874