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10 Fun Facts about Thanksgiving From Cook’s

All of us at Cook’s would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You for your business!  We know that without you, we wouldn’t be here.  

To get you in the holiday spirit and help you wow your friends and associates with Thanksgiving trivia, here are ten fun facts about the holiday:

  1. The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted for three days!
  2. The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621.  He invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to the feast
  3. Thanksgiving holidays were once commonly celebrated around the time the Pilgrims came to America in 1620.  It was not unusual in England and many parts of Europe to frequently set aside days of giving thanks to God. 
  4. 91% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving.  To feed all those hungry people, there are about 280 million turkeys sold annually, which is nearly 7 billion pounds of turkey! 
  5. Cranberries are another Thanksgiving favorite and nearly 20% of all cranberries consumed in the US each year are eaten on Thanksgiving Day.
  6. Thanksgiving came into being a holiday under President Lincoln, although Sarah Joespha Hale, best known as the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, lobbied for 20 years to five different presidents, numerous governors, congressmen and media sources.  Lincoln decided on the last Thursday of November as a national Thanksgiving holiday.
  7. Thanksgiving was moved up a week by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, 1940 & 1941 to extend the Christmas shopping season – but several states didn’t go along with the move.  Congress stepped in to unify the holiday and in October of 1941 set the date for the 4th Thursday of November where it is now.
  8. Starting in 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey along with two dressed turkeys to the President.  The President then ‘pardons’ the live turkey to live out its life on a historical farm.
  9. The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in the 1920’s.
  10. Americans aren’t the only ones celebrating Thanksgiving, our neighbors to the north do too. Canada celebrates on the second Monday in October.  

Wishing you a Happy & Safe Thanksgiving from your friends at Cook’s

New Rhino-G-84 The Best Transport Solution for Gator and Grizzly Trays

There’s a new Rhino Cart coming to corrections.  This new cart is designed to transport Cook’s Brand Gator and Grizzly Trays, or any correctional meal tray that’s 15” x 13-1/2”.  While the cart will hold other sized trays, it best accommodates Gator or Grizzly Meal Trays and was developed at the request of our customers who use these trays.  The cart capacity is 84 trays; six stacks of 14 trays each.  With trays placed in six stacks, the Rhino-G-84 Cart is optimally loaded.  Trays fit inside easily but don’t have excess room and won’t be jostled around during transport keeping trays and meals intact.

To fit the Gator and Grizzly Trays, the Rhino 630-G-84 is a little wider than the other Rhino Carts.  The Rhino-G-84 is 34”deep overall, including the new built-in bumper feature which is there to protect walls and doorways as well as the cart.  At 58-1/4” H, a taller person can see over the cart to push it, using the integrated handles that are on both sides of the cart.  The Rhino Cart is 60” wide, a size that can easily manage most corners and tight spaces.  With exterior dimensions of 58-1/4”H x 60”W x 34”D, the interior dimensions are 37”H x 45-1/2”W x 27-1/2”D. 

Like the original Rhino Cart; the 630-M-150, and its smaller sibling, the 630-M-102, the new Rhino 630-G-84 is double walled polyethylene construction and fully insulated, adding rigidity and strength to the cart and doors.  Correctional facilities that switched to the Rhino Cart from stainless steel carts appreciate that the Rhino doesn’t get dented the way their old stainless carts did.  Additionally, being made of highly durable plastic, the Rhino is built with molded in door handles and molded in hinge pins for the doors.  Because they are molded in, the door handles cannot be broken off and they don’t stick out, getting in your way when going through narrow doorways or passages. 

The molded in door hinges are one of the best features on the cart.  These allow the doors to swing out 270O to be flush with the sides of the cart making access to the interior easier in tight spaces.  Being molded in, the hinge pins cannot be removed – not even by the most ingenious of inmates – so the doors never fail and they don’t present a security risk.  Because the doors are hinged, the Rhino doesn’t have a channel on the bottom that collects food waste creating a sanitation risk.  Additionally, customers can open booth doors fully to have unobstructed access to the interior without a center support in the way so loading, unloading and cleaning are easy and fast. 

Just as the doors are designed to open wide for quick loading and unloading, they stay shut during transport by design.  All three Rhino Carts have a lockable transport latch that holds doors closed even without a lock because there is a heavy-duty hasp that comes down over the doors and pin that you can slide into place to keep the latch in position. The doors are designed with a step joint closure which ensures a tight seal, keeping outside air from entering the cabinet helping to retain heat inside the cart.  For added security or if transporting off site, you can easily add a lock to ensure there won’t be any tampering with the contents.

Like the other members of the Rhino family, the Rhino 630-G-84 has a reinforced metal base to stabilize the cart.  There are competitor carts that have a 5th caster placed in the center of the base to compensate for possible sagging when carts are fully loaded.  You won’t have that concern with any of the Rhino Carts because of the reinforced metal base.  And more importantly, having a metal base provides the Rhino Cart with a metal to metal caster mount that won’t get stripped or loosen over time. 

Having a solid caster mount is critical because the Rhino caster is one of the most important features to these meal delivery carts.  During product development, we heard loud and clear from customers that caster issues cause a lot of pain.  We talked with many of our customers to understand why and looked for the best caster we could for the Rhino, one that would meet the requirements crucial to correctional foodservice. We chose the Colson Series 4 Performa® Caster, a stainless steel caster with a maintenance free sealed precision bearing and hard rubber tread.  We selected this because a main cause of caster failure is that the interior componentry gets wet and eventually locks up. While the carts are used to transport trays out of the kitchen, they often end up back in wet environments like the dish room.  Along with the maintenance free sealed bearing; these are a large 8” x 2” hard rubber caster made to travel over a variety of terrains.  Correctional carts move over outdoor pavement as often as they are pushed though concrete corridors.  The large size and hard grey non-marking tread travel smoothly over different surfaces.  With over 700 Rhino Carts in the field, the Colsen Performa® Caster has proven that it meets the performance requirements of corrections.  These casters, which are secured in a metal to metal caster mount, are what you’ll find on the new Rhino 630-G-84. 

The original Rhino Cart set a new standard for durability, innovation and functionality when it was introduced in 2015.  The New Rhino 630-G-84 continues that tradition with all the great features that are part of the Rhino family and new features like the built-in bumper, and is ideally sized for the Cook’s Brand Gator or Grizzly Trays or any 15” x 13-1/2” meal delivery tray.  Look for the cart in the 2020 Cook’s Correctional Buyers Guide.  If you want images and cart information today, we have a downloadable flyer or you can get details and quotes with a quick call to Cook’s at 800-956-5571.  We’ll be happy to assist you. 

What can you do with a Tilt Skillet?

The Tilt Skillet or Braising Pan is one of the most versatile pieces of correctional kitchen equipment available. With the capacity to saute, grill, fry, steam, or braise, these multitasking dynamos are all about helping institutional kitchens do more with less. We recommend them when you have limited space because one tilt skillet can be used to steam, grill and even to fry foods.

Below is a quick demonstration of the Vulcan V-Series Tilt Skillet. We recommend Vulcan equipment because it has proven itself many times over in correctional kitchen applications throughout the years as highly durable and long lasting heavy-duty kitchen equipment.

If you’re interested in learning more about tilt-skillets or other Vulcan Foodservice Equipment, give us a call and we will be happy to assist you. We have access to their full line of commercial kitchen equipment and are fully trained on their product line.

Made For Corrections Mondays – Rite-Size Servers

Happy first day of Autumn and another Made For Corrections Mondays. This week’s edition features our Rite-Size Servers. These portion control serving utensils come in seven sizes to accommodate most anything on your correctional menu. We have 2,3,4,6,8,10 & 12 oz servers. Each Cook’s Brand Rite-size Server is a different color to make it easy to visually identify if the right size is being used on the tray assembly line and the capacity is marked clearly on the handle. In this video Jeff Breeden, CEO of Cook’s, tells you how these servers are Made for Corrections.

Visit Cook’s online – The leader in correctional kitchen equipment and supplies.

Made for Corrections Mondays is a video series featuring a variety of foodservice kitchen equipment and supplies and highlights how they are Made for Corrections. All the videos are short and informative.

Be sure to check back next Monday to learn the unique challenges facing jail and prison foodservice operations and the corresponding Cook’s Brand product solutions that are Made For Corrections.

Made For Corrections Mondays – Mini Spork

Welcome to another edition of Made For Corrections Mondays with Jeff Breeden. This week, you’ll be introduced to the Mini Spork, a unique ‘little’ eating utensil designed to flow through a 3″ waste pipe. It will have you saying, only in corrections. Click below to learn more.

Made for Corrections Mondays is a video series featuring a variety of foodservice kitchen equipment and supplies and highlights how they are Made for Corrections. All the videos are short and informative.

Be sure to check back next Monday to learn the unique challenges facing jail and prison foodservice operations and the corresponding Cook’s Brand product solutions that are Made For Corrections.

Welcome to Made for Corrections Monday

We’ve been in corrections for over 20 years, and so have many of our customers. It’s always interesting; maybe even amusing, when someone who isn’t in the industry finds out that you specialize in correctional foodservice. The first question is often something like – how is that a specialty? I like to respond with the obvious”picture yourself in a confined area with several inmates using very sharp knives.” It is fun to watch the dawning of awareness in their eyes and then the questions about how you address the unique challenges of the correctional kitchen begin; like sharp knives and inmates to start.

That’s what Made for Corrections Mondays is all about. This new series will introduce you to a variety of correctional foodservice kitchen equipment and supplies and highlight how they are Made for Corrections.

In these videos Jeff Breeden, CEO of Cook’s, will demonstrate kitchen products that help solve a challenge that is unique to corrections. Usually these product will help you improve security and safety or they are made to outlast inmate abuse. But some items have very specific backstories, like a spork that is designed to be flushed down a toilet and not cause an overflow. All of the videos are quick and informative.

We’re glad to have you join us for Made for Corrections Mondays. And if you have a product suggestion, question or a challenge in your facility that you need help solving, send an email to cmeneou@cooksdirect.com or give us a call at 1-800-956-5571. Thanks for watching and be sure to come back next week for another edition of Made for Corrections Monday.

Designed for Tray Make-Up in Corrections

The Correctional Tray Assembly Line from Cook’s is one of the earliest Cook’s Brand Products. In this video, Jeff Breeden, CEO of Cook’s, demonstrates many of the features that make this heavy-duty tray assembly line unique from other similar equipment solutions and how it is designed and engineered for corrections.

We introduced the Cook’s Brand Correctional Tray Assembly Line because the tray lines available on the general market aren’t built to be operated by staff that wants to break the legs, punch out the controls, turn over the tray line or destroy the rollers so they can make a weapon from the parts. And in a hospital cafeteria, that’s okay; but in a jail, you need corner braces, cross channel supports and welded leg gussets to keep things intact. You need a recessed control panel with a locking cover and a wide base so the line is too big to turn over easily. You also need one-piece rollers that are easy to clean, but don’t come apart so an inmate can use the shaft as a weapon and you get all this with the Cook’s Brand Correctional Tray Assembly Line. Plus your time to deliver meals will be faster because this line is designed to place inmates at optimal distance apart and from the food for efficient tray make-up. The gravity conveyor will also keep trays moving at the ideal speed; 17 to 20 trays per minute, providing an hourly production of about 1,000 + trays.

If you want to learn more about the correctional tray assembly line – watch the video and give us a call at 1-800-956-5571. Because it’s a Cook’s Brand product, we have standard models that can be fitted for your operation or customized to meet your specific needs.

On the road again….

Cook's Correctional ACA 2019 Summer Conference in Boston, MA Booth #1112

The Cook’s team is in Boston, MA this week at the 2019 ACA Summer Conference to showcase many of our most popular products and to meet customers and contacts that made their way to the east coast for the conference. The American Correctional Association has two large conferences a year; the winter conference held in early January each year and the summer conference in August. This year the conference is at Boston’s John B Haynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center.

If you too are on the road for the ACA Summer Conference, stop by and see us in booth #1112. You can meet Linda and Craig who are pictured above in out booth, along with Chadd, John and Jeff. You can also the Rhino M-102 meal delivery cart designed specifically for corrections, our new Raised Compartment Marathon Tray and our popular Flex products and Kettle Tools.

Have you seen Gordon Ramsey Behind Bars?

1st video in the Gordon Ramsey Behind Bars Series

Most of us have heard the name Gordon Ramsey and have a sense of his aggressive kitchen management style that is a hallmark in his TV shows. Gordon Behind Bars is a British television series in which Gordon Ramsay teaches inmates of Brixton prison, just about five minutes from Ramsay’s residence, how to cook.

While it’s in Britain and not the US, there’s plenty that should feel familiar. The objective is to get the inmates working and generating income for the facility and in the process, learning a skill that will give them a future. Many of our contacts have culinary programs in their facility with the goal of educating inmates for their future on the outside. Take a look at the video. Do you see any similarities to your correctional foodservice operations? Does the correctional kitchen equipment look like what you are using here? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.