By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer
Gone are the days of unrecognizable mashed potatoes and beans in prison cafeterias. Kosher offerings are being added to the menus of prisons across the country. According to a New York Times article, Florida is the latest state to fall under the kosher spell.
In 2007, Florida penitentiaries stopped serving kosher food because of its high cost. Now, under a court order, the sunshine state will offer kosher food to eligible inmates sometime before July, becoming the 35th state to do so.
I think it’s great that kosher food is making a comeback, but the state is running into the same problem as before: paying for these meals. On average, kosher meals cost $7 per day, as opposed to standard meals which cost $1.54.
In Florida, over 4,400 inmates have requested kosher meals. If you multiply the number of requests by $7 a day, that leaves Florida having to take out a larger chunk from their budget. And it’s estimated that more prisoners will request kosher options once the meals make their way back into the system, which already faces a $58 million deficit at the moment.
So it may not be too wise for the state to go through with the kosher program.
Kosher food isn’t necessarily healthier, but it does garner some health benefits such as the reduction of cholesterol. Kosher guidelines prevent people from simultaneously eating meat and dairy, which eliminates foods like pepperoni pizza and cheeseburgers (i.e. the foods we all love but shouldn’t be indulging in). Another benefit is that kosher meat and poultry are hormone free, so you don’t have to worry about becoming susceptible to the effects of hormone-induced meat.
If I were an inmate, I would certainly appreciate Florida’s efforts to provide a religious diet considering the size of the Jewish population. But if I were looking at it from a state government point of view, I would have to consider the fact that the kosher program could potentially cost $54.1 million a year. That’s definitely not chump change.
Regardless, kosher food is making a return to Florida prisons, and I hope it won’t have the same fate as it did in 2007.
By Arielle Sebestyen
Welcome to the MUSE Food section’s No Kitchen Required, where BU students send in their favorite dorm-friendly recipes. Dorm-friendly recipes don’t require any sort of traditional kitchen appliances. Can you make it with a microwave? Does it involve ingredients you can sneak from the dining hall? Then it’s dorm-friendly! Send all submissions to MUSE@dailyfreepress.com. This month’s submission comes from CAS freshman Arielle Sebestyen:
In college, everyone misses eating a home cooked meal. To bring the feeling of home to your dorm, there are many dishes you can make using basic ingredients and a microwave. One of my favorites is a simple pasta dish. I enjoy it because you can dress it up with staples from home, such as basil, beans, carrots, pesto, and more. The bare basics for a single serving goes like this:
- Tomato paste (or other sauce)
Add approximately 1 cup of pasta and 1 1/2 cups of water to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave covered on high for 3 minutes. Stir and microwave on high uncovered for another 4-6 minutes. Drain some of the water, but leave a small amount in the bowl. Mix in tomato paste or a sauce of choice to taste. Add parmesan and your dish is done! To make it special, add in any ingredients that remind you of home. Enjoy!