Philly penitentiary offers taste of prison food

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Eastern State Penitentiary (Photo credit: Jeff Fusco / EasternState.org)

Eastern State Penitentiary (Photo credit: Jeff Fusco / EasternState.org)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia is a city that has become renowned for its hip and innovative restaurant scene. But a local tourist attraction is offering decidedly different fare this weekend: prison food.

Eastern State Penitentiary will serve visitors sample inmate meals from the 1830s, 1940s and today.

The menu includes broiled salted beef with “Indian mush”; hamburger with brown gravy and Harvard beets; and a starchy concoction called Nutraloaf.

Event organizers hope the not-so-haute cuisine stimulates both the taste buds and discussion about the changing nature of prison food service and attitudes toward inmates.

The quirky tasting menu will be available Saturday and Sunday at Eastern State, a defunct prison that once housed gangster Al Capone. The centuries-old facility was abandoned in 1971 but later reopened to visitors.

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