Thursday, June 14, 2007

US jail food, not quite the Hilton standard

I didn’t know, or care, what they serve for lunch to inmates in California jails till San Francisco Chronicle ran a story on it. Frankly, I wasn’t thinking about jail food till Paris Hilton got locked up in a Los Angeles county jail for drunk-driving. The way the US media fussed over the custody saga creates an impression that the food they serve Ms. Hilton in jail is a matter of national concern.

Where this celebrity kid is interned they serve inmates cold cereal, hard-boiled eggs and a beverage for breakfast; it is ham or cheese sandwich, fruit, Jell-O and cookies for lunch. Dinner has to be a hot meal – steak or macaroni and cheese, vegetables and dessert. And Paris doesn’t touch anything other than cereal and bread. So says SF Chronicle.

In the San Francisco jail, the food is reportedly prepared under supervision by Aramark, a food services provider whose clients include schools, professional clubs and ball-barks. Besides overseeing the jail kitchen, Aramark is said to train prisoners in cookery. Michael Buffington, a catering company founder who has been chef in some famous hotel kitchens, had graduated from the San Francisco jail, where he served time in 1992 for cocaine possession and driving under influence.

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