cheese-melting machine
(Mike Allen)

Are you keeping up with the state of Oklahoma’s surprising Swadley’s saga?

Sure you are. The recent troubles regarding a now-terminated Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department contract with Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen has made some major headlines. This week, NonDoc had two tidbits worth reading:

You could say it has become a little foggy trying to get to the bottom of everything that appears to have gone wrong. Among the findings in the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency’s report about Swadley’s purchases for the Foggy Bottom Kitchen restaurants was the acquisition of a “cheese-melting machine” that cost more than $11,000, which is one of the more baffling things I’ve ever heard. A quick Google search doesn’t help at all, other than confirming that, yes, cheese melters are a thing. The most expensive one I could find was in the ballpark of $3,000 — a far cry from $11,000.

I’m genuinely curious what this particular machine — bought by Swadley’s and charged to the state for reimbursement — looks like. Is it gold-plated, or perhaps some sort of elaborate Rube Goldberg device? Why is a dedicated machine needed for this process at all? That’s a larger question, I know, but I feel like literally any heating element will accomplish the task of melting cheese. The cheese-melting machine is just another enigma wrapped in a puzzle with this whole situation. Short of an open records request to the Tourism and Recreation Department seeking a copy of the user manual for their cheese-melting machine, it’s a question we may never solve.

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