They're not withholding dessert for bad behavior at Cook County Jail. In a piece in next month's Chicago Magazine, Jeff Ruby looks at Nutraloaf -- an oddly bland, but nutritional meal -- that is being used as a punishment for rule infractions.
The loaf is a mish-mash of vegetables, "dairy blend" and "mechanically separated poultry," formed into a brick that meets the nutritional needs of a prisoner without providing any real taste.
Ruby ate one in July, and his description is disquieting:
The mushy, disturbingly uniform innards recalled the thick, pulpy aftermath of something you dissected in biology class: so intrinsically disagreeable that my throat nearly closed up reflexively. But the funny thing about Nutraloaf is the taste. It's not awful, nor is it especially good. I kept trying to detect any individual element--carrot? egg?--and failing. Nutraloaf tastes blank, as though someone physically removed all hints of flavor.If you're interested in trying it yourself, the Onion's AV Club found a recipe through the Illinois court system and put together a home version in 2008. The verdict was that it tasted like "wet packing material."