WASHINGTON – Prisoners all eat the same meals. The meals are made in bulk, and the dishes they eat are the same as what everyone else is eating. No one can covet another's meal.
Of course, it doesn't work that way on the outside. At dinners in restaurants, everyone always checks out everyone else's meal. They comment on it and dig into their own. Sometimes they pass bites or in certain environments, such as Chinese restaurants or Italian eateries, family-style dining usually kicks in and everybody shares.
Elsewhere, say at at office parties for instance, the one on the diet always feels a little alienated, a little more subdued. Pizza days or ice cream socials aren't the fun they used to be.
Click in the box to the right of the story to hear Shana and Sharon discuss the challenge of not cheating.
As we've said before, we're sure the anti-social nature of the prison environment takes its toll on the aspect of dining that most Americans have come to enjoy. After all, the dining room for detainees is usually their own cell, which doubles as the bathroom, the bedroom and the den.
But being on a diet in a world of consumption is a lonely existence too. The only advantage to being on a prescribed regimen is that we know exactly what we will be eating every day, at every meal, and once we get over glancing at everyone else's plates we'll be all right, and probably even healthier for it.