Alimentary underbellies: Prison shrimp—Donut sludge—What Mexican drug cartels have in common with Norwegian cooks

Today, three delightfully sordid food stories worth sharing:

1. The Wall Street Journal reports Bernie Madoff is adjusting well to prison. The lede is hidden way down, though: “There are gangs and a thriving black market for smuggled luxuries, a current inmate says, such as liquor, shrimp, chicken and cigarettes, which can fetch $10 apiece.”

Shrimp? What kind of shrimp, and how and where does it get cooked? The news that matters is never what they report.

2. on donut sludge. (They say “doughnut.” Must we?) Fairfax County sued KK for $2 million, and settled for $750k: KK was fouling up the sewer lines with “excessive quantities of highly corrosive wastes, doughnut grease and other pollutants.” KK includes it in direct operating expenses, as though paying to dump the grease down the drain is just part of the biz.

A subject of deep interest to me ever since I reported on Juneau’s bowels earlier this year. (“What not to flush: A magical mystery tour — and cautionary tale — of Juneau’s sewer lines.”) You just never know what people are going to put into those tubes we all share. At one time, inmates and juvenile offenders in Juneau were flushing sheets and towels that clogged the tubes downstream. The sewer guys found out because they were labeled, LCC — Lemon Creek Correctional. The problem was fixed by installing some sort of machinery on the user end that would cause the toilet to instantly and catastrophically overflow if you stuffed it with something inappropriate. Somewhere out there must be an analogous solution for errant grease-dumpers.

3. Lye: an easy way to dissolve those pesky bodies laying around. For’s Explainer, Brian Palmer follows up on the NYT’s story: the time commitment is about the same as making a pot of posole — but does not mention that the same substance used to dissolve (“digest,” alternately) bodies is what turns cod into lutefisk. Again, serious holes in the story. What is the difference between the lye solution fish soaks in and that used on bodies? Does a body, before dissolving into a golden oil, go through a lutefisk-like stage?

I know. I’m sorry. What with the coon foot, this blog is no longer passing the breakfast test. Tomorrow: unicorns and teddy bears, all in pastel, I promise.


4 responses to “Alimentary underbellies: Prison shrimp—Donut sludge—What Mexican drug cartels have in common with Norwegian cooks

  1. Like everyone else I have food grade lye on the shelf. Mostly for olives. I guess I could make pretzels as well. See here:

  2. Pretzels are just an excuse to make mustard, in my opinion, and not as good an excuse as a ham sandwich.

  3. Are you going to write a review of Julie Powell’s new book, although I DOUBT anything inside could be as fantastic as the title: “Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession.”

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