One of the most popular events on the Eastern State Penitentiary Calendar is their Prison Food Weekend, scheduled June 6 and June 7, 2015. Featuring Nutraloaf from around the United States, it’s either a foodie delight or a challenge worthy of Andrew Zimmerman. (I’m kind of surprised he hasn’t shown up yet.)
The 2015 menu focuses specifically on Nutraloaf, the “food product” issued as punishment in many American prisons. Courts have generally upheld the rights of prisons to punish inmates with these diets, but the practice remains controversial. I’m not sure about the source of these recipes, but they have been attributed to Illinois, Washington State and Maryland.
The list of ingredients doesn’t look too bad, but it’s the preparation that renders them unappetizing. The process is designed to produce a meal that is healthful but repugnant. It’s also eaten by the prisoners three times a day for as long as the punishment lasts, which adds to the ordeal. No matter how much you might love a particular dish, it will get tiresome with repetition. And Nutraloaf is not a beloved favorite recipe.
Visitors to the Eastern State Penitentiary can sample Nutraloaf created using the official recipes from five U.S. states. They can then record their thoughts on a tasting card and decide for themselves whether serving Nutraloaf is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.
Prison Food Weekend activities are available from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm each day, included with admission. Tickets are available online or at the door, subject to availability.
Saturday, June 6, 2015 – 11:00 am – Sunday, June 7, 2015 – 4:30 pm