The New York Times City Room blog has the inside scoop (slice?) on the sweetest thing at Rikers Island: the bakery culture, but specifically the carrot cake. “They don’t hardly give it to us enough,” said Hilberto Vargas, a baker currently serving time in Rikers for stripping cars. The cake is just for holidays — the rest of the time whole-wheat bread dominates the ovens — but luckily, Ramadan began on Wednesday. The Times reports, “inmates frequently ask for seconds.” But wait, there’s more: “It’s also not unusual for correction officers in other facilities to ask for the cake.” Lil Wayne, current serving time for gun possession in the facility, could not be reached for comment. Larry King, on the other hand, had something to say.
“I myself was kind of impressed with the size of the machines,” said Larry King, upon seeing the industrial mixers and refrigerators. King, serving eight months for drug possession, “earns 39 cents an hour, which he uses to buy toothpaste and soap at the jail commissary.” But wait!
Mr. King (not the CNN host)…
Ohhhh. Got it.
The details in this account are astonishing:
The Rikers Island bakery turns out 11,500 loaves of whole wheat bread a day to feed its 13,000 inmates. Ms. Fraser and the inmates bake roughly 2,500 loaves of carrot cake a year, in 25-loaf batches, which require 25 pounds of sugar, 25 pounds of prewhipped eggs and 25 pounds of shredded carrots, among other ingredients.
Each loaf – chock full of raisins and walnuts – serves 20 people and weighs nine and a half pounds.
Care for the recipe? The Times has it. Seriously!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 15, 2010