Learning To Cook, In Unusual Environs

I heard a really interesting piece today on NPR about a restaurant in Massachusetts, located inside a minimum security prison!   

Inmates learn how to cook and wait tables; skills that serve them well once they’ve served their time and are then able to find work, which in turn, lowers the risk of re-offending.

The conditions are just slightly different from what one would find at CIA. (Referring to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY…not the other CIA).  OK, they’re more than slightly different.

The knives are tethered to the tables or are locked away and often, learning seemingly simple customer services skills necessary for interacting with customers is addressed as well.

In one inmates words, “It gives you that experience of working in a real restaurant. So when I do go home, I can say I got X amount of time of real experience — hands-on everything, feeding to the public, and I can cook pretty good. So, I should be able to get a position somewhere.

So what has this got to do with Paleo?

It all goes back to basics. These inmates, while learning how to cook, are, by default, not only going to be familiarizing themselves  to new and different types of cuisines, but on a more fundamental level, learning more about food.

Tasks like learning different knife techniques to chop fresh veg and fruit, learning how to cook proteins and how to present a meal will set the stage for an interest in continuing along the path of healthier eating, compared to never having had the exposure to working with food in the first place.   And, of course, hopefully that will even lead some folks to learn more about Paleo!