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You know what I could go for now?
By Joe Bouchard
Published: 07/25/2016

Chocolate chip cookie The following is an installment in "The Bouchard 101", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.

Some people have a very specific memory. They seem to remember very acutely in certain categories. My father was like this. It seems that he could remember all meals that he has ever consumed. He also could recall anything that anyone else ate. His accuracy was dead on. If he said that you ate a pretty big salmon steak on July 21, 2003, you definitely ate salmon on that date.

Al Bouchard loved food. A good meal was not only enjoyed at the time. It is also a point of reminiscence. He also was very open about what he was intended to eat. I can still hear him say, “You know what I could go for now?” In many cases, that was a blueberry pie from Baker’s Square.

As trainers, we can harness the universality of the meal. Nothing brings people out of their shells like food. Everybody eats and everybody has a rotation of favorite foods. This is a realm in which all in attendance have knowledge.

When we introduce ourselves, we sometimes become self-conscious and involved in saying things perfectly. This should really be a time to learn about others in the classroom. Food binds us together, even just talking about it. “You know what I could go for now?’” is designed to bring those in the classroom out of a shy area and into the realm of participation.

We use the four part formula for introduction:
  1. Name
  2. Years in corrections
  3. Title
  4. 4th element. In this case the 4th element is “You know what I could go for now?”
The instructor goes first.
  1. Hi, my name is Joe Bouchard.
  2. I have 20 years in corrections.
  3. I am a corrections librarian, author, and a college instructor.
  4. Do you know what I can go for now? I want a sesame seed bagel with salmon spread. (Salmon seems to be a theme for me in this exercise.)
Like the manipulative power of candy exercise, timing is an interesting issue. The timing of this can impact the effectiveness. For example, conducting this before lunch or in midafternoon might yield better results, as food is on the mind of most people at those times. Directly after lunch may not yield the famished enthusiasm desired, as the classroom may be too bloated to contemplate meals.

When I test-drove this exercise in class, the group of shy students became hungry and vocal. Budgets will dictate if you provide a small snack afterwards.

You may issue very specific stipulations. Some may want the 4th element to be just food. Others may also include a beverage. By issuing no parameters you may yield a free-for-all on “what I could go for right now”. Libations and other adult themes could be mentioned. Some prefer an uninhibited exchange. Others would guide a more traditional talk on food and food only. What you stipulate should match your style. The audience is always an interesting wild card.

This talk can segue into a lecture on food service in corrections. This topic is huge. The talk of food preferences prior prepares participants to think in terms of the complexities of feeding hundreds of offenders three times a day and 365 days a year.

Food is love. Food is comfort. Food is necessary. Food is something that is universal. Everyone in existence has a favorite meal. All of us can relate to a delicious plate. It is not an abstraction.

Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014”. The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.

Visit the Joe Bouchard page

Other articles by Bouchard:


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