Oysters or a cheese sandwich ... What would your final meal be? Photo: Tempura oysters at Bannisters restaurant
The Maya need to hire a PR agent. End of the world? Piff. Remember Y2K, that pesky millennium bug that created global terror and sent frissons of fear through even the most sceptical? Now that was a good end-of-days story.
To the Maya's credit, in terms of sheer reach, their cataclysmic prediction is a pretty cool legacy.
The general vibe of the Mayan doomsday theory is that on December 21 Earth will be smashed into tiny pieces when it collides with Nibiru, a planet supposedly headed straight for us.
Stephanie Alexander would go simple...A cheese sandwich on sourdough bread. Photo: Eddie Jim
"If there were anything out there like a planet heading for Earth,” says NASA astrobiologist David Morrison in Beyond 2012: Why the World Won't End, “it would already be one of the brightest objects in the sky. Everybody on Earth could see it. You don't need to ask the government. Just go out and look. It's not there.”
Many concur that the Maya used the "long count" calendar to account for vast time periods and that, like our Gregorian version, the calendar doesn't end, but rolls over and continues.
New Agers interpret December 21 as the dawn of an era, a new beginning and the start of something special and a spiritual transformation.
Matt Preston's last meal: a mini degustation.
In the food world, perhaps the transformation is already upon us. The Maya brought us some of the globe's most highly prized ingredients: chocolate, vanilla, corn, chillies, tomatoes and avocados. Their theories on time may be fizzers, but their cuisine will likely live on until the apocalypse.
What would your last supper be? We asked eight celebrities.
Camilla Franks' last meal is the "mermaid special". Photo: Dallas Kilponen
"Self control would go out the window. The meal would end with Snickers. There'd be a magnificent Australian cheese board with some beaut unpasteurised cheeses. David Chang's pork buns would be there, and a burger from Andrew's [in South Melbourne] because you couldn't go without one of them. Pork crackling made by Gary Mehigan – he's the king of crackling. A nice chewy pav. And I think a very light, thin, skinny pasta – a tagliolini – with large white truffle with that lovely Murray River salt. And, actually, we'll throw in the strawberries with the reduced thick strawberry liqueur at Attica. It's a mini degustation of all the best bits of the street."
Matt Preston will appear in MasterChef: the Professionals, screening on Channel 10 next year. masterchef.com.au
“Wheat for me is no different to wine,” says Dutch-born eco-artist Joost Bakker, who can wax knowledgeably about the different properties and flavours of biodynamic grains. Bakker's last meal is simple: crusty bread, good olive oil and a great wine. The sourdough bread he'd make himself from freshly milled flour in his wood-fired pizza oven at home. The oil would be cold-pressed, extra virgin, possibly Mount Zero, or maybe house-made, freshly churned salted butter. The wine? Preferably biodynamic.
Joost Bakker is an award-winning artist who built the world's first zero-waste cafe. byjoost.com
"My last meal has to be Italian food; a classic '70s style Italian meal, served in a suburban trattoria, with tables covered in red-checked cloths, and old bottles of chianti hanging from the bar. It must involve heaps of carbs, buckets of white wine, pasta of the fettuccini variety, some sort of rich creamy sauce and as much parmesan cheese as I bloody well like. No one's going to look disapprovingly at me if it's the last day, are they?. The meal will be finished off with a classic chocolate mousse and hopefully the waiter calling me "Bella". It'll all go straight to the thighs, but the Mayans would want that.
Myf Warhurst is a radio announcer and TV personality, best known for her work on Triple J and ABC TV's Spicks and Specks. myfwarhurst.com.au
"Restaurants would no doubt be booked out and there'd be long queues at hotel buffets, so I'd probably prefer some take away, then I could enjoy it at my leisure in the afterlife. Something Mayan like chocolate guacamole.
Shaun Micallef is a comedian, actor and writer who has starred and written for TV, movies, radio and books. shaunmicallefonline.com
"On Thursday, I will sit down to a bottle of the finest grade sake and match it with some hand dived uni, the roe of the sea urchin. The raw roe, combined with sake, I think is the best combination I have had to date. Every mouthful, I sigh with great enjoyment. The sweet, silky soft, slippery texture is really to die for. See you all in the next life."
Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong 2 is on SBS on Thursdays at 8pm.
"One can fantasise about a last meal such as a buttery roasted chook with tarragon, such as was cooked for me by Annie Smithers a week or so ago, with just-picked asparagus, and just-dug new potatoes, tossed with parsley and more butter. And perhaps a bowl of raspberries. The reality is probably that food might be a bit hard to swallow, along with thoughts of impending infinity, and I'd be just as likely to have a great cheese sandwich with excellent sourdough bread."
Stephanie Alexander is involved in the Bank of Melbourne World's Longest Lunch on March 1, for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. She is designing the menu with Maggie Beer. Tickets on sale February 1.
"Given the world is supposed to be ending Mayan-style, I feel we will need to celebrate all things life with some decadent food and beverages. I will definitely be ordering the mermaid special; a mouth watering, five-tiered platter of seafood – my favourite. Think Sydney rock oysters, mud crab, lobster, Balmain bugs, Crystal Bay prawns, mussels, a few wedges of lemon all alongside a yummy bloody mary."
Camilla Franks is an international fashion designer. See her designs at camilla.com.au
What would you choose as your last meal? Tell us in the comments below.