Black Dahlia: Re-Creating Elizabeth Short’s Final Meal Puts the Ghoul in Goulash

Dahlia Dinner
An image of the Black Dahlia crime scene sets the mood for dinner. How about some pinot extra noir? 

It takes a special sort of person to think it’s a swell idea to have a pricey meal ($65 per) while looking at photos of the Black Dahlia crime scene. Although I can’t imagine many things more distasteful, I suppose that in a city the size of Los Angeles, there are enough ghoulish people with too much money who will make this a profitable enterprise. The event was part of something called “Los Angeles Eats Itself” and no, we won’t go there.

The premise of this meal, by chef Jonathan Moulton of City Tavern, according Paul Teetor in L.A. Weekly, is that because Elizabeth Short had bad teeth, the meal would consist of dishes that she wouldn’t have trouble eating. Ignoring the fact that she carried a supply of candles with her and plugged the cavities in her teeth with melted wax. Had those who planned the meal been aware of this fact, possibly the table decorations would have included matchbooks and large, plain white candles so that patrons could apply wax to their teeth for the true Black Dahlia experience.

Teetor (whom you may recall from a gushing, unskeptical article about Steve Hodel in the now-defunct Times magazine) falls into the old lie that Elizabeth Short had “deformed genitalia.” Sorry, no. This popular story was concocted by the late Will Fowler, for whom lying was as natural as breathing.

Specifically, Moulton wanted to re-create what Elizabeth Short might have eaten on the last day of her life, quite overlooking the autopsy report on the contents of her stomach, which included feces. There apparently was no interest in going overboard with this accuracy nonsense.

I would suggest that for the next gathering of the grim eaters, the last meal of Bugsy Siegel, who dined at Jack’s on the Beach in Santa Monica shortly before being shot in the head with an M-1 carbine while he was reading the newspaper. And my, wouldn’t all those cartridges and bloody copies of the Los Angeles Times make festive table decorations?  And maybe bits of eyelash stuck to the wall.

Bone appetit, folks.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Food and Drink and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Black Dahlia: Re-Creating Elizabeth Short’s Final Meal Puts the Ghoul in Goulash

  1. Anne Papineau says:

    Why go back so far guys … The Sharon Tate murder experience


  2. I didn’t think it was possible for me to feel any sorrier for Elizabeth Short, but this column had a couple details that did it.

    Weirdly, I think Fowler thought he was doing ES a favor–I remember that story was used as a way to “prove” that she was never a prostitute. (Which she wasn’t; I can’t think how to phrase this so it’s clear that I know that, so I’ll just spell it out.)


  3. Eve says:

    “Ignoring the fact that she carried a supply of candles with her and plugged the cavities in her teeth with melted wax . . .”

    That is actually very clever–good for her! I always have dental wax handy, since the time a crown popped out and flew across the room when I was flossing.

    At least they didn’t advertise “prices cut in half!”


  4. aryedirect says:

    When we eat ourselves, it is called cancer.


  5. cathsparks says:

    I have a dark, sometimes morbid, sense of humor, but this is unappetizing to the point it makes me nauseus. Are any of her sisters still living? If so, I hope they were spared knowing of this ugly feast.


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