Your last meal, so to speak

What would you eat if the world ends Friday?

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Savory or sweet? Junk food or a family recipe?

That was the question Gazette staffers debated during a conversation surrounding the supposed end-of-the-world prediction tomorrow: If the world does end, what food will you be sure to eat?

In case you haven’t heard, the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world in 2012, or more specifically on the winter solstice -- Dec. 21, 2012. We know this won’t happen, but imagine the freedom that comes from having an excuse to eat anything you wanted without retribution. No more counting calories, budgeting carbs or watching your sodium intake. The world’s going to end! We should use this opportunity as an excuse to indulge in all the food we deny ourselves when an apocalypse isn’t on the horizon.

With that mindset, we took to the streets to find out what foods are on others’ end-of-days menu. As expected, there was a range of responses:


“My mom’s apricot chicken on the grill and my aunt’s homemade angel food cake with a strawberry glaze.” – Melissa Ward, North Liberty

“Double chocolate cookie dough.” – Carrie Harper, 11, Coralville

“Probably chicken mole and a margarita.” – Scott Walton, Anamosa

“Taco pizza from Happy Joe’s.” Rhonda Viktora, Cedar Rapids

“Funnel cake. I was thinking of fair foods.” – Emily Means, 11, North Liberty

“I’d have to say friend chicken and mashed potatoes. It’s comfort food.” – Jessica Williams, Marion

“A sub sandwich from CHeBA HUT in Iowa City.” – Shelby Donohoe, 11, North Liberty

“Pasta.” – Wendy Ferguson, Cedar Rapids

“My mom’s barbecue ribs and cheesy potatoes. For dessert? Probably a Baskin-Robbins mint ice cream cake – the whole thing. And a pound of bacon, just on the side.” – Jackie Witkowski, Coralville.

“I’ve been craving a hamburger; just a really good burger.” Patrick Holmes, Cedar Rapids

“Probably a steak – medium well.” Glen Madsen, Marion

“A calzone from Sam’s Pizza; just cheese.” – Emma Durian, 11, North Liberty

“Just the normal foods. I’m trying to watch my weight for the holidays.” – Dan Lewis, Cedar Rapids


Even if the world doesn’t end tomorrow, that’s no excuse not to have fun today. Here are some Mayan-inspired recipes to try to celebrate that we survived this end of days prediction.

Spicy Cinnamon Mayan Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 (18.25 oz.) box Devil's Food (or any other chocolate) cake mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 4 eggs

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (dark chocolate cocoa works the best for this recipe)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (approximately, less or more until desired consistency)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Add the first six cake ingredients (cake mix through cayenne) together in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until moistened, about 30 seconds. Add eggs one at a time, until the batter is well-mixed. Increase speed to high and beat until thick, 2 minutes longer.

Pour or scoop the batter into the paper liners until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cupcakes cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting, cream butter in an electric mixer on medium-speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Then add cocoa powder and cinnamon and mix on low-speed until combined. Gradually add in the milk and powdered sugar, alternately, until combined. Then beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, another 3-5 minutes. (Add in more powdered sugar if consistency is too thin.)

Source: This recipe was posted on a Mexican real estate website.

Grilled Pork Chops with Spiced Mango Marinade

  • 2 large, ripe mangos
  • 1 large lime, juiced
  • 1 Habanero chile, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Achiote paste
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 8 whole Allspice berries, crushed and toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 6 to 8 bone in pork loin chops, Frenched and trimmed

For Spiced Mango Puree

  • 1 large ripe mango
  • 1 large lime, juiced
  • 1 Habanero chile, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 whole Allspice berries, toasted and crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Achiote paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Peel and dice mangos then place in the bowl of a food processor or blender.

Get every last drop of juice out of lime and add it to the mango along with the Habanero. Process until well pureed and almost a juice. Add garlic, Achiote paste, Mexican oregano, Allspice berries, cumin seeds, black pepper, salt, sugar, vinegar and water. Process until blended.

Pour marinade into a large bowl or glass baking dish. Submerge the pork chops in the marinade but, leave the bones above the surface. Marinate 4 to 6 hours. Turn the chops occasionally.

In the meantime, prepare the Spiced Mango Puree. Peel the mango and place in a blender or food processor with lime juice and Habanero, puree until smooth but, still has texture. Add garlic, Allspice, Achiote paste, black pepper, cumin, Mexican oregano, salt and vinegar. Process until well mixed. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve the chops then remove and allow to come to room temperature, about 45 minutes.

Remove the chops from the marinade and bring to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Cover the bones with tin foil.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Place the chops on the grill and spoon a little of the marinade on top of the chops. Discard the rest of the marinade. Cook the chops for 7 to 8 on the first side. Turn the chops and watch the temperature carefully, they may not need to cook quite as long on the second side. The chops can be slightly pink in the center or cooked all the way through but still juicy. Serve with Spicy Mango Puree.


Mayan Hot Chocolate

  • 1 chili pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 5 cups light cream or 5 cups whole milk or 5 cups nonfat milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate or 3 pieces Mexican chocolate, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or 2 tablespoons honey, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon almonds or 1 tablespoon hazelnuts, ground extra fine

Add chili pepper to 2 cups boiling water. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Remove chili pepper; strain for stray seeds, and set aside.

In a medium-size saucepan, combine cream or milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Heat over medium flame until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate and sugar or honey. Whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolves. Turn off heat. Remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick, stir in ground almonds or hazelnuts.

Carefully add the chili pepper infusion, a little at a time, making sure the flavour isn't too strong. If chocolate is too thick, thin with a little more milk.


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