Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Food In Federal Prison

I am always asked about the food in prison.  Although I only served time at Taft Camp, I can affirm that the food there was pretty decent. The chow hall offered a comfortable environment for eating. In retrospect, it was reminiscent of an airport cafeteria.

At Taft, the menu followed a five-week cycle.  The mornings brought pancakes, oatmeal, cereal, eggs (sometimes hard boiled), and biscuits and gravy. I usually woke at 5am each morning then made a cup of instant coffee. I routinely walked to the chow hall around 6:00. Generally I brought my own oatmeal and had it with milk provided from the chow hall.  Due to the cost I always refrained from purchasing the powered milk from the commissary.

For lunch, Taft usually served the following types of items once a week: hamburgers, enchilada casserole, fajitas, tacos, burritos, tostadas, hot dogs, cold cuts (the only really inedible item) and a lot of beans.  Dinners are typically the same type of meals.  I ate about seven to ten meals a week from the chow hall.

Besides the food in the chow hall, however, I loved to prepare my own meals in the housing unit.  At Taft we had access to four microwave ovens (though one was usually broke), and I became a master at microwave cooking.  The commissary sold tomatoes, onions, avocados, green peppers, apples, bananas, and jalapenos. It also sold brown rice, tuna, chicken, roast beef, salmon, pasta, bread, hummus, apricots, plums, crackers, peanut butter, and other items that easily nourished me. I will post a commissary list in a later blog.

There is a lot to worry about in serving a prison term. Eating healthy food, fortunately, is not one of them.

Justin Paperny

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