As part of Food for Thinkers week, Bryan Finoki turns the attention of food writing onto incarcerated cuisine.
In a fascinating entry at GOOD Bryan Finoki discusses the use of bland food as the best disciplinary tool available to prison wardens. He provides a case study of prison loaf, or the social management meal as it is also known.
The cardboard-like lasagna, as some have described it, is served on a paper plate and eaten with the hands, and has gained much popularity as the prison’s disciplinary device of choice today. One pound loaves, served three times daily, for a maximum of two weeks at a time, seems to be the general rule, but again each facility does the loaf in its own very special way
It provides an illuminating insight into how taste – bud deprivation can be used to coral even the most cantankerous inmates into submission and highlights the power of food to both build community as well as enforce control.