The quality of the food at Occupy Wall Street has been well documented, but meals there will morph on Friday to more simple fare like rice and beans for three days -- not to dissuade undesirable elements from partaking, as the New York Post reported on Thursday, but simply to give the kitchen a chance to get organized, members of the food committee said. "No, no, no, we just need a chance to get organized," said food committee member Megan Hayes, when asked about the Thursday story.
Hayes said the kitchen is planning its stripped-back meals simply to give its committee members more time to strategize. "Because we hit the ground running, we became a full-on restaurant in the park in under a month without having a chance to have any organization, any clear guidelines for volunteers. We need a chance to catch our breath, to say alright, winter’s coming, we’re not going anywhere, how can we maximize our output and get as many people as possible fed."
"I can definitely tell you that none of us are concerned about 'freeloaders,' " said Chris O'Donnell, another organizer. "All of us have concerns about general camp security, but it wouldn’t be fair to say this is an attempt to get freeloaders or homeless people or anybody like that out of the park."
Thursday's report in the Post asserted that the kitchen planned to withold its better offerings in order to send a message to the homeless people, drug-users, and ex-cons that the Post and New York Daily News have said are making the camp into a flophouse. "For three days beginning tomorrow, the cooks will serve only brown rice and other spartan grub instead of the usual menu of organic chicken and vegetables, spaghetti bolognese, and roasted beet and sheep’s-milk-cheese salad," Selim Algar and Bob Fredericks wrote. "They will also provide directions to local soup kitchens for the vagrants, criminals and other freeloaders who have been descending on Zuccotti Park in increasing numbers every day."