Thanksgiving is the war zone of food service in prison. We started cooking for it a week before and still barely managed to have everything ready on time. With over 500 people to feed, we measure the amount of food by the 6″x8″x24″ pan. It took three hours to make 14 pans worth of stuffing after two days of cutting up and toasting enough bread for it. All week to make 10 pans of turkey. A day for 9 pans of sweet potatoes. Another day for 8 pans of gravy. And on the day of we made 12 pans of mashed potatoes and 7 pans of green beans (we ran out of green beans and had to make more as we were serving).
All the cold trays (pie, cranberry sauce, whipped cream, roll, and margin) were put together the day before. But the hot trays had to be made the day of. It was loud, hectic, sweaty and entirely to cramped on the serving line, but we made it work.
We served 535 meals. According to the prison’s roster, there is 537 people in WCCW today. So officially, two people didn’t come to Thanksgiving. Now, I don’t actually believe that’s what happened. A little factoid: if a person is on a religious diet they do not get the turkey and pie and all that, they get their normal (completely un-special) religious meal tray. How this works is a c/o scans the incarcerated person’s ID, then the computer says what kind of meal they are supposed to get. Then the c/o makes sure they pick up that meal. There was a lot of unhappy people forced to grab a kosher or halal tray who wanted the regular holiday meal. So, taking this into consideration, I don’t think we didn’t serve those two people. I’d bet good money those two people came through the line and managed to not have their ID scanned and were then able to pick up a regular holiday meal.
Of course, the real headline is that my best friend was the one to make the stuffing and it was the best stuffing I’ve had in years.