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The Politics of Food: Inside Guantanamo Bay's Kitchen

Gianna Toboni goes on a riveting tour of Gitmo, uncovering the very interesting politics of the camp's kitchen—and finding out what the food is like for the prisoners that aren't on hunger strike.

by Hilary Pollack
01 December 2014, 4:00pm

You've probably read, watched, or heard something controversial about the Guantanamo Bay detention camp since it started housing suspected terrorists in 2002. This past year, most media has centered around hunger strikes—which is one of the most well-known ways that prisoners protest their indefinite detainment—and the subsequent force-feeding they endure. Last year, there were over 100 detainees on hunger strike. But what about the detainees that are eating?

Fortunately for them, there's Sam, the cheery middle-aged Korean chef that takes pride in each meal she whips up. Sam makes chicken eight different ways, prepares both Halal and Kosher meals, and bakes an impressive assortment of cookies. And every ingredient used in her kitchen comes from … you guessed it … America.

For this episode of The Politics of Food, our host Gianna Toboni spent a few days last March on a riveting tour of Gitmo, from the cellblock to the prison library to the local mini golf course and the fascinating commissary. We don't know what was more surprising—the huge python that we encountered, or the interesting politics of the camp's kitchen.