Recently I got to meet Brian Freedman, the man who has been picking out my dinners for months, and both of us went to Prison. Eastern State Penitentiary, to be exact, the national landmark of that is kept in this incredible state of controlled decay. They were doing a show about prison food, what people in prison ate through the ages, and what they are eating today. It was very educational.
Meeting Brian was cool because we actually have a lot of shared experience. I’ve been in his wake for months now, visiting restaurants after he files his reviews and photographing the food we’ve both eaten. My idea of “food critic” from popular culture is this really snobbish person who holds food to a impossible standard.* Brian was nothing of the sort – he was friendly and down to earth and his views on food were generous and enthusiastic.
(My Editor in Chef is also very far from popular fiction, as he does not resemble J. Jonah Jamison or Perry White AT ALL. I have never seen him yell, make unreasonable requests, or demand pictures of Spiderman. Though I swear, right here and right now, should Spideman move to Philadelphia I WOULD MOVE HEAVEN AND EARTH TO GET A PHOTO.)
The prison provided a magnificent backdrop for photographing the food. Brian insisted that I taste it along with him, and I found the beef to be fatty, the hamburger terrifying and the Nutraloaf to be bland. Everything needed salt.
Photographers who like the look of the prison in this post should check out their Twilight Tours. I think I might go to one sometime. They seems magical. They cost a little extra from a regular tour, but it all goes to a non-profit, so you can feel good about it.
*Basically, it’s the guy from Ratatouille