Mary, Queen Of Scots' Prison Food Was Unusually Luxurious

Some have heard of it, some have experienced it, and some may have never even thought about it, but food served in prisons isn't exactly gourmet. On the other hand, it may not be as bad as the food you've seen depicted on TV-show jails either. Per Zoukis Consulting Group, prisons are required to serve three meals per day, typically consisting of a pastry or cereal in the morning, and proteins such as chicken, tacos, and hamburgers for the other two meals. To offset health concerns, the Federal Bureau of Prisons is tasked with ensuring prison food is safe to eat, even when it isn't tasty.

However, according to the American Journal of Public Health, this isn't always the case. From 1998 to 2014, 200 foodborne outbreaks in the prison system resulted in five deaths, 204 hospitalizations, and 20,625 illnesses. These stats beg the question, are those of high power subjected to the same dining conditions as the general prison population? Mary, Queen of Scots surely wasn't.

She ate many luxurious meats

In her 19 years of imprisonment, Mary, Queen of Scots was dining like somebody who hadn't tried to murder Queen Elizabeth of England. According to The Guardian, the British Library's lead curator of medieval and early modern manuscripts Andrea Clarke shared accounts of Mary's prison diet with The Observer. If the documents hold true, Mary spent her time behind bars dining on veal, poultry, boar, beef, eel, salmon, and many other luxurious meats. Her additional treats included oranges, capers, marmalade, fruits, and even wine and ale. Even with above-par prison treatment, Mary couldn't escape her fate when she was eventually beheaded at England's Fotheringhay Castle on February 8, 1587, according to History.

Surprisingly, Mary isn't the only person who received decent food from a historical prison. Per Bon Appetit, San Francisco's defunct Alcatraz Prison actually served desirable meals. Revealed on Discovery's "Secrets of America's Favorite Places," prisoners at Alcatraz ate fried pork chops, biscuits and gravy, chili dogs, and banana pudding. Perhaps the harsher the prison is, the better the food is. Though that's not a theory you probably want to test.