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"Orange Is the New Black" and Food Is Power

Julia Bainbridge

"Orange Is the New Black" and Food Is Power

GIF: justeat.in

Food may be important to “GIRLS,” but it is imperative to the ladies of “Orange Is the New Black.” Not only for basic survival, but for establishing hierarchy. For Piper, Alex, Red, and, Miss Claudette, to name some, food is a potent tool for demonstrating power.

Plus, when all you have is a cot and a gang of testy gals in tan scrubs, taco night is something to look forward to. 

Here are the pivotal roles food has played in the show so far. We’ll see what season two brings tomorrow.

Best Welcome to Welcome a Newbie (E1)
Give her some prized yogurt. (All the other food is garbage.) Red bequeaths some Yoplait to Piper upon her arrival, saying, “You’re new. You’re one of us. Consider it a gift.” No strings attached? No way.

Best Way to Ensure Your Place on the Bottom of the Totem Pole (E1)
Insult the chef’s food. Red, who runs the kitchen, also runs the prison, and right after receiving her golden gift, Piper calls the food “disgusting.” Red’s team then withholds food from her for days.

Best Way to Send a Message (E1)
Serve your enemy a tampon sandwich. Pre-starvation treatment, that’s what Piper gets from the kitchen staff. Yum! So many foodie scenes in episode one!

Best Way to Remember Your Previously Glorious Life (E2)
To help stave off hunger pains (or maybe to beat yourself up for acting like such a jerk to Red), dream about that time you and your fiancé willingly submitted yourselves to the Master Cleanse and drank lemon water for an entire week. (Oh wait, Piper failed the cleanse, actually, and ended up eating pork rinds three days in.)

Best Way to Wield Power Over Other Inmates (E4)
Fashion your own desk-kitchen with batteries and a couple bowls. That’s what Miss Claudette does, and she is feared around these parts. She also bakes a mean Easter cake, which is a sought-after item for soon-to-be-released goodbye parties. Now that’s a recipe you keep private and use to your advantage.

Best Way to Make Everyone Go Mad (E5)
Convince them think there’s a wild chicken running around the grounds. (Or IS there?)

Best Way to Reward Do-Gooders (and Sweet-Talk Them into Something in the Process) (E7)
Give them treats from Dunkin’ Donuts. Corrections officer Healy, you devil, you.

Best Way to Have a Horrible Thanksgiving (E9)
Piss off Mr. Healy by performing a raunchy dance move, a la Piper, landing yourself in solitary with a holiday feast of moldy bologna. (Moldy bologna you don’t eat, so you end up hallucinating from hunger.)

Best Way to Mourn the Passing of a Friend (E10)
Make your own booze out of some stuff and some other stuff and pass it around with a side of UTZ sour cream potato chips, like the gals do when Tricia overdoses. Pour a little on the floor, too, for your girl.

Best Way to Get Some Quiet Time (E11)
Microwave some Cup Noodles. Red feels guilty over Tricia’s death, and she isolates herself all episode by eating her meals from Styrofoam cups in her cell.