Monday, October 21, 2013

The Butcher of Rostov's Last Meal: Serial Killer Supper Series, Part III

Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo - fittingly dubbed the Butcher of Rostov and the Red Ripper - holds the dubious distinction of being one of the most prolific and disgusting mass killers of modern times. To be sure, there are, in the West at least, more famous serial killers - Son of Sam, the Zodiac Killer, Dahmer, Bundy - but in my research I have not come across one who chose his victims with more calculated coldness, or seemed to carry out his crimes with such absolute depraved gusto and complete lack of remorse.

Between 1978  and 1990 he killed over 50 women, boys, and girls. Impotent in his "normal" life, Chikatilo stabbed and often eviscerated his victims, achieving sexual pleasure from their bleeding and dying cries. He sometimes bit or chewed off parts of their faces, and he claimed that he chewed on the uterus of at least one of his victims. He gouged out his early victims' eyes, believing an old folktale that held that the last moments of death were recorded on the retinas of the dead.

The 1995 film Citizen X is a fascinating (fictionalized) look at the frustrating multi-year investigation and the difficulties of finding such a monster in a society which held that serial killers were a manifestion of Western decadence and therefore could not exist in a Communist nation. Indeed, Chikatilo wasn't caught and tried until after the dissolution of the Soviet empire; his trial was the first major media event of the post Soviet period.

During his trial he was kept in a cage in the courtroom, from which he exposed himself, yelled, sang, and refused to answer questions.  He was found guilty of 52 counts of murder and five counts of sexual assault and sentenced to death, though it is believed he is responsible for many more deaths. He was executed in February, 1994, with a bullet behind his right ear.

His last meal? Porridge with a bit of beef.
But because you, dear reader, are not (I presume) a serial killer and therefore deserve better, I made a delicious dish of red wine braised short ribs with polenta to share with you.
This is more of a method than a recipe. Salt and pepper 2 - 3 pounds of short ribs and dredge in flour. Sear in a Dutch oven over high heat until crusty and brown. Remove to a plate. Saute diced carrots, onions, and celery until soft. Add garlic. Deglaze with 2 or 3 cups of dry red wine. Add the ribs back to the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add 2 cups of beef or veal stock and bring to a boil. Throw in a handful of fresh herbs - thyme, rosemary, parsley - cover, and bake at 350 F for 2 - 3 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone. Skim the fat off of the liquid (this is easier if you let it cool a bit), shred the meat and serve over polenta, drizzled with the cooking liquid.

Serve with a dry red wine, or, if you'd like to pretend you're on death row in Russia, perhaps with a bit of ice cold vodka.

I have not been able to find confirmation of this, but one source I read claims that as Chikatilo was being led to his execution, he begged, "Please don't shoot me in the head. The Japanese want to buy my brain."
Further reading: Comrade Chikatilo: the Psychopathology of Russia's Most Notorious Serial Killer
Serial Killer Supper Series, Part I: The Dusseldorf Ripper
Serial Killer Supper Series, Part II: The Blonde Borgia





12 comments:

  1. If I were ever to be so lucky as to know what my last meal would be I would hope it would be something as delicious and nourishing as this one. Although nourishing wouldn't necessarily be a requirement of one's last meal I suppose since, well, um, you know. I love that your pictures look like they might be POV shots from the depraved mind of Mr. Comrade Chikatilo. Or from my mother's stained Jr. League cookbook. I don't know which.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is there a noticeable difference between the mind of a maniac and a Junior League cookbook??

      Delete
  2. Your filter choices lend a "decades gone by" feel - I like it!

    A meal like this would be far too fine to be wasted on a serial killer's last meal. Perhaps, he should have been fed some bits and pieces of his own face... Karma and all that...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, I have a feeling the Russian prison version of this meal contains significantly more gristle ...

      Delete
  3. A truly vile creature. Why do such people exist, I wonder?

    Now, I was really struck by this causal phrase: "in my research"— I have to wonder what's up next from your files...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect there are more people like this in the world than we would care to imagine ...

      Delete
  4. Another brilliant addition to the series. A Cannibal who likes meat and porridge... an old peasant combination from the beginning of time. The Irish were big on meat and porridges in the middle ages before potatoes changed their diet completely. A man like this makes you wonder how far away from wild beasts we really are ( well, lately there's a lot that makes me think we not far at all from brutish beasts -- sad really).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only thing that makes us different from beasts is that we have thumbs and can cause more damage. Also, beasts kill to eat, not for fun ...

      Delete
  5. Gosh..I got goose bump while reading how he had tortured his victims...man...not sure he even deserved that delicious looking porridge..

    ReplyDelete
  6. Loving your serial killer series! Wow he really was crazy besides all hid crimes. And too bad for him you were not there to fancy up his last meal as you have. Looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yikes...I think I'll have nightmares tonight. He is the definition of a mad man. But your braised short ribs are the antithesis of a bad dream! YUM!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Again, so incredibly well-done! Everthing ties together seamlessly!

    ReplyDelete