Yep. It has come to pass. The Obama Administration’s Justice Department says they fielded a “survey” that came back with the food preferences of America’s federal prison population. What did the “survey” say? That the prisoners don’t like pork. (WHAT?! Since when do Americans not like pork????) So, what does the federal government do? Ban pork, sausage, bacon, ribs, etc., from the menu.
Pardon me, but these people are in prison. Why should we care what they want to eat? Right now, pork is the most affordable protein source even if it is a bit rich for a lot of us. Given that the poultry and beef industries are recovering from some amazingly dire disasters of drought and disease making hamburgers and chicken pretty expensive, the bottom line would say go with the cheapest option. If they don’t like it, tough.
The Washington Post did some digging on this:
“Why keep pushing food that people don’t want to eat?” asked Edmond Ross, a spokesman for the prison bureau. “Pork has been the lowest-rated food by inmates for several years,” It also apparently got more expensive for the government to buy, although he did not provide specifics.
When it comes to food being rated lowly, this kitchen witch asks the eternal question: how is it being cooked? Seriously, you have work hard to make bacon and sausage taste bad, well, unless the pan gets too hot. There is such a thing as cooking it at the wrong temperatures, but with the fat content of pork, it takes talent to turn it into shoe leather. As for pork being expensive, those of us who haunt meat sales don’t buy that argument. Nuh-unh. No way, Jose. Not when beef is at five dollars a pound. And that ain’t USDA prime, either. That’s the cheap commercial hamburger.
Or is there something else going on….
It’s no great secret that America’s prisons are hotbeds of conversion to Islam. The evangelists of Allah take full advantage of discouraged young men being locked up and use the confinement to recruit. Pork is not on the Islamic menu. (It’s not on the Kosher menu, either, but there can’t be that many Hasidim in federal prison so as to impact a survey.) That being the case, guess who is genuinely thrilled about this turn of events.
“In general we welcome the change because it’s facilitating the accommodation of Muslim inmates,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country’s largest Muslim civil rights advocacy group. “We hope it’s not an indication of an increasing number of Muslims in the prison system.”
Hooper predicted that anti-Islam groups would spin the decision into a case of the federal government acting under pressure from Muslims.
“This is just the kind of thing that drives them crazy,” he said. “It will stoke the fires of Islamophobia based on the usual conspiracy theories.”
Well, Hooper is right about that. Those of us who actually cook and buy meat know darn well and good that the only way a “survey” of Americans in prison – or anywhere else – could come up with pork drawing the short straw of meat choices is if there was a critical mass of people who don’t eat it for one reason or another. Contrary to the assertions of Mr. Ross of the prison system, there can’t be THAT many prisoners going vegan, vegetarian and being health conscious in jail. (Of, course, bacon is a cure for vegetarianism.) The entire idea of Americans turning down pork just doesn’t compute.
The one group that is really wanting to turn this development on a spit is the American Pork Producers:
The National Pork Producers Council isn’t buying it. “I find it hard to believe that a survey would have found a majority of any population saying, ‘No thanks, I don’t want any bacon,’” said Dave Warner, a spokesman for the Washington-based trade association, which represents the nation’s hog farmers.
“We’re going to find out how this came about and go from there,” Warner said. “We wouldn’t rule out any options to resolve this.” He said the association “is still formulating our strategy” to reverse the prison decision, which the industry first learned about Monday when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram called for comment….
“We’re nutritious,” he said. “A boneless pork chop or loin is a very healthy alternative to lots of other foods. If you compare a pork tenderloin to a rib eye steak and a boneless chicken breast, we come out pretty well.”
This writer prefers her chicken bone in and steak more of the sirloin variety, but Mr. Warner’s point is well taken. For the price, pork packs a decent amount of nutrition into a meal. To say that removing pork from the federal prison menu is a matter of budget just doesn’t add up.
Besides, these people are in jail. Prison. They’re not supposed to be enjoying their time there. Who cares if they like what they eat? They should be thankful feeding prisoners bread and water is considered cruel and unusual punishment these days.