I would like to tell you that when I read a news story about rancid meat and jails, I did not immediately think of Arizona.
Of course, I have a commitment to honesty to readers, so I cannot do that.
But as I scanned this story out of New York City, I did find reason—small—to cheer. But first, the story.
I have never visited the jail at Rikers Island, but I have watched a lot of Law & Orders, so I can’t say I was surprised when I saw that facility connected to 65,000 pounds of spoiled meat.
As the story says, jail officials realized that the refrigeration had been off for days. So the contents were “off” too. But at least one of the leaders thought the problem could be solved with some spices.
(Hint to the wise: Do NOT search Google for “Rikers Island meat.”)
How many of us immediately think of the Seinfeld episode where a character remembers with horror his hubris as a young Army cook? Thinking he could salvage meat that was turning, he spiced and spiced—and made his entire unit sick.
Apparently, he has a future in corrections kitchens.
And of course, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s green bologna came to mind too. Because serving past-its-prime meat to jail inmates is not just something that happens in the Bronx. They have a lot to learn from the Grand Canyon State and Maricopa County.
Enough of that. I had promised you news that cheered me. Well, here it is:
In 115 comments that followed the story, not one—NOT ONE!—mentions Arizona and Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s notorious bologna.
In what passes for progress in Arizona’s national reputation, that fact cheers me.
And on an even more more uplifting note, I steer you toward another story, this one about the bread-baking inmates at Rikers.
As the article opens:
“Each morning, and again in the afternoon, the blades of three bread-slicing machines are counted carefully. Only then does the bakery let workers go home — to their jail cells on Rikers Island.
“Twenty inmates at one of the largest jail complexes in the United States are part of a team that bakes 36,000 loaves of bread a week to feed the city’s entire prison population — about 13,000 people. Employees in orange-and-white-striped jumpsuits and surgical caps earn $31 a week churning out whole-wheat bread. There’s not an apron in sight.”
Freshly made bread leaves the oven along a conveyer belt at the Rikers Island bakery. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)
Skip the protein, stick to the carbs.