First a confession: I ate prison food yesterday. I decided that it was important to actually understand what it is we serve to our inmates. Now let's be clear: I LOVE to eat. I ask for seconds on airplanes for heaven's sakes. But what I saw yesterday at Graterford prison was awful--a "turkey" product even I couldn't stomach, a slice of "meat" that was literally impossible to saw through with my plastic knife, and "apple juice" that tasted more like paint thinner.
This prompted some thinking about the various and legion indignities of incarceration. And just then, in the midst of my musing on prisons and cuisine, I find this truly foul article about a truly foul idea:
Ten ingredients make up "nutriloaf," an intentionally unappetizing yet fully nutritious meal that may soon be served to inmates causing trouble within Vermont's prisons through such behavior as throwing food or bodily fluids.
What do prison officials think of Nutriloaf?
"It changes behavior," said Bob Kupec, facilities executive with the Department of Corrections.
"As you eat this you notice the loss of sodium and sugar," said Corrections Commissioner Rob Hofmann.
Aside from serving as culinary castigation, the loaf offers other advantages. It can be served without potentially dangerous utensils and it doesn't lend itself to smearing or throwing like some cafeteria foods, Hofmann said.
Here is the recipe:
6 slices whole wheat bread, finely chopped
4 ounces non-dairy cheese, finely grated
4 ounces raw carrots, finely grated
12 ounces canned spinach, drained
4 ounces seedless raisins
2 cups Great Northern beans, cooked and drained
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces tomato paste
8 ounces powdered nonfat or skim milk
6 ounces potato flakes
Make sure all wet items are drained. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, either by kneading with hands (wearing plastic gloves) or with a spoon. The mixture should be stiff and just moist enough to spread. Form three loaves in glazed bread pans. Place pans in oven in a pan containing water to keep bottom of loaf from burning. Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes, until each loaf reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Makes three loaves, or three meals, each containing 940 calories.
(Wanna read what corrections officials talk about when they talk about nutriloaf? click here