Chris’s blog: If only tables could talk

Hello

Beautiful mid-May morning, I am aimlessly pushing an old nail into the soft planking (that makes up our table), sort of buying time while I think of a reply.

I’m not really an expert on diseases, especially ones that cause this level of embarrassment; I push the nail in again. “Bet you never thought we’d be talking about this Chris!”

Our table. A simple arrangement of old scaffold planks has been the gathering point for so many meetings, meals, showdowns, talks, reconciliations and emotional exchanges.

It puts up with a lot. Endless debates. Recently during the ‘should we get a deep fat fryer’ deliberation, the pro-chip brigade (including me, what’s wrong with chips? Now and then) could sense victory and started drumming fists and chanting, “Chips, Chips”.

The lunch conversation around the table? Well food talk is ever-present. Prison meals are often talked about in derogatory terms, perhaps the difference heightened by our own lovely meals. Some describe the intricacies and sheer ingenuity of cooking with a kettle in their cell. Always there are plans being made for new LandWorks meals and recreating favourite recipes.

Sitting and eating together is one of the best things we do. Many ideas are hatched around the table. The LandWorks recipe book is one such thought that has grown…

A collection of recipes, of course, but not just any old recipes! Notes from prison cooking, favourite LandWorks meals, Jailhouse Hooch and puddings are all garnished with individual comments from the guys.

This book is a great insight into the project and the importance of eating together. It’s at the printers now and available soon @ £10 to help fund the project.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘ahhh, if only tables could talk’. Well ours would want to tell you about yogurt…yes yogurt!

Possibly stemming as a counter to the great, but divisive chip debate, a fascination has developed about digestion and remediable dietary aids to help. I sat listening in stunned disbelief as the desire grew to ‘culture’ our own yogurt! The fervour surged, suddenly heavily tattooed arms brought their fists down on the table… drumming and chanting, “Yogurt, Yogurt”

I stop pushing the nail in and out; it wasn’t helpful and I needed to be helpful. This was a difficult and personal problem, needing thoughtful advice. I managed to suggest, “Err, have you tried yogurt, err, I think it can help…”

I paused, noted his look of utter disbelief and horror. I started to search my phone for the GP’s number.

Chris


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