Prisons in several states punish obstreperous inmates by serving them “nutraloaf.” This food, purposely designed to be unappetizing and unrewarding, albeit properly nutritional, consists of all sorts of things mashed together and baked into a loaf. Among the ingredients are “mechanically separated poultry”–bits of meat scraped off chicken bones by machines–and “dairy blend” (I don’t really want to know what that is, so I don’t ask). Prisoners have filed a number of lawsuits alleging that a nutraloaf diet constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the 8th Amendment. So far, none of those lawsuits has succeeded.
In the video, several ordinary people taste-test a couple different varieties of nutraloaf. It doesn’t put you in the mood to join them.
Personally, I think there’s something vaguely sinful about using food as punishment, purposely making it so that there can be no pleasure in eating it. “I sing the mighty power of God, who filled the world with food,” as the old hymn goes. The idea of nutraloaf makes me somewhat uncomfortable, morally.
But you only get it if you’ve been bad in prison.