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May 25, 2016

Try prison food at Eastern State Penitentiary

Sample five states' nutraloaf

Food Prisons
Prison Food Weekend Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary/PhillyVoice

Visitors to Eastern State Penitentiary in Fairmount try nutraloaf.

The popular event Prison Food Weekend returns to Eastern State Penitentiary in Fairmount on June 4. For two days, visitors to the historic site will have an opportunity to sample five states’ versions of nutraloaf. 

Nutraloaf is served to prisoners as a punishment and is a controversial practice, although courts have generally upheld the rights of prisons to serve the meal.

At the event, visitors can taste all five versions, record their thoughts on a tasting card and decide for themselves whether serving nutraloaf is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

Here are the five versions that will be served:

• The breakfast version of nutraloaf from Idaho blends cereal, milk, toast and orange juice into a single baked loaf.

• California's version includes cabbage and chili powder. Inmates receive two slices of whole wheat bread and a quart of water with each serving.

• A vegan option from Illinois features a combination of applesauce, tomato paste and garlic powder.

• Arkansas serves a recipe of beef liver, chopped dates and dry milk.

• In Pennsylvania, the loaf incorporates cooked rice, dry oatmeal and mashed garbanzo beans.

Sample menus, archival photographs and reports of the prison food throughout Eastern State Penitentiary’s 142-year operational history will also be on view during the weekend event.

All Prison Food Weekend activities are included with general admission.

Prison Food Weekend

Saturday, June 4 to Sunday, June 5
$10-$14 general admission
Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Ave.
(215) 236-3300