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    Ramadan food preparation: the additional preparations involved with fasting



    Story by Sgt. Spencer Rhodes 

    Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs

    GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - Facilitating the food needs of both the Joint Task Force Guantanamo detention facility and the Camp America Galley is a busy task. The galley provides a nutritionist who specifically helps prepare eight different meals for detainees; the needs of vegetarians and even diabetics are also taken into account. Taking on the additional needs of Ramadan adds yet another challenge to the already demanding routine, but after 10 years of accommodating the additional scheduling, the kitchen continues on like a well-oiled machine.

    Sam Scott, systems projects manager at the Camp America Galley for the last decade, explains that the kitchen has to be divided into multiple sections to separate the food prep from the halal meat (a specific way of preparing it for those observing Ramadan) and the normal food prep provided for the daily galley menu.

    “We have to make sure we order halal beef, chicken and lamb from the U.S. for all the Ramadan meals...” said Scott. “The meals change a little during Ramadan,” said Scott. “For example, Monday we have a chicken curry, and Friday we have a fish menu, but during Ramadan we may not serve it like that. Friday we are going to have a shish kabob, and you’ll have the normal substituted for the kosher lamb.”

    Scott says that in addition to the different cooking areas, the kitchen must be compartmentalized in a way that prevents JDG food supply from mixing with the daily galley supply. The most important reason for this is so that non-kosher foods are not mixed in with the kosher items for the month of Ramadan.

    Not everyone is fasting, so food prep continues 24 hours a day to accommodate the needs of both parties in addition to the normal food prep. Fasting is essentially from sun up to sun down, so meals are prepared for normal times and additional times to accommodate eating after dark, including a midnight meal and snack.

    “I have some people who don’t come in until 3 o’clock in the morning. Twenty-four hours a day I run my kitchen during Ramadan…,” said Scott. “My job here is to make sure that when any changes happen or any problems occur that directions are followed correctly. Usually every year I let the whole command staff know what meals we are going to serve. Often they will come and taste the food so they know what the food is like and what exactly is different.”

    Naval Station Guantanamo Bay’s large and small galleys, to include the Camp America Galley, were recently given the highest scores in the 2014 Galley Assessments. They have now been nominated for the NEY award, which is given to galleys with a 5 star rating.



    Date Taken: 07.03.2014
    Date Posted: 07.03.2014 10:04
    Story ID: 135236
    Location: GUANTANAMO BAY , CU 

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