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Any Chowhounds have cooking experience in prison?

Just curious. Anyone had experience cooking in a prison cell, or have a friend/relative share stories of some really creative methods and recipes with limited resources?

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  1. I have heard lots of stories involving the use of an electric tea kettle for cooking and have had the method demonstrated for me. The recipes range from simple hard boiled or poached eggs to rice or beans to simple chicken or fish stews (the fish stews even using canned tuna!). I suppose the availablility of raw materials in the particular prison would have a lot to do with what can be prepared. Also, I guess the rules would determine if a prisoner can have an electric tea kettle or, perhaps, a hot plate.

    1. Depending on the inmate's privileges, it's probably pretty comparable to cooking in a college dorm room, and there are tons of recipes and books out there to help college kids cook with three ingredients; in a microwave; in a hot pot; on a hot plate; and with basically no funds. Look there, maybe.

      1. There was an on-line article about this a few years ago. IIRC the article linked to a blog kept by an inmate about his cooking endeavors. I had it bookmarked on my old computer, but lost it when it crashed.

        The fellow and others he knew were coming up with some pretty impressive dishes considering the limited circumstances.

        Here is a start:

        http://www.friendsbeyondthewall.com/c...

        1. There was an interesting article in Gastronomica a few years ago that described "spreads," concoctions based on ramen noodles, Cheetos, beef jerky, and whatever else a prisoner could get his hands on. Here is a link to the abstract:

          http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/abs/10...

          1 Reply
          1. re: archstreet

            that was an amazing article, so interesting.

          2. I've heard some amazing stories from a friend who is currently incarcerated. She was telling me that she was able to make kimchee and gochujang there. When I asked her how she was doing this, she said 'Don't ask!'

            I'd love for her to write a book about her culinary adventures there when she gets out...

            3 Replies
            1. re: soypower

              Martha Stewart probably has some hints and tips; I believe she and other inmates cooked an entire "gourmet" dinner with just microwaves, shortly before she was sprung.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                HAHAHAHA!!! Good one, Amiga!!! That one made my day!! ;))))

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  You have successfully made me soil my Levis!

              2. An acquaintance with a colorful past told me about coffee (smuggled out of the kitchen by trusties) that was made in either paper towels or clean socks.

                He also pooh-poohed the kind of scene one sees in a movie, with a bunch of mobsters in a communal cell, making sauce and macaroni and eating antipasto. Perhaps in the 1940s, but not today.

                8 Replies
                1. re: shaogo

                  I'm gonna have to reassess my life if its true that even goodfellas can't get lobster in prison.

                  1. re: Russel Shank

                    Ha, I always doubted that scene. Colorful, though.

                    I have a friend who's nephew is doing life and she sends him canned hams at his request. I asked her what she thought he did with them, she replied she didn't want to think about it. I assume they were for trading or just slicing out of the can, for a jailhouse sammy, but who knows. Ham wine, anyone?

                    I have another friend who is a corrections officer at Rikers, and she told me the inmates cook all kinds of stuff there, including deep frying chicken and fish, which is obviously illegal, but often times the guards will look away. Somehow I find it hard to believe...I don't think anyone has a hot plate at Rikers.

                    I often make coffee with a paper towel "filter" as we can't seem to ever remember to buy proper filters. If I can do it on the outside, I'm sure it can be done on the inside.

                    Amusing thread; something I don't have to think about, thank God.

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      There's some pretty ingenious cooking methods they've devised, like sticking the end of a radio cord or antenna or something into a bowl of water for boiling.

                      Yeah, funny thread. I was curious b/c I always hear about the ingenious stuff they do. I had a friend doing a near year of work release jail time for graffiti. He did a show after finishing with his drawings from that time, and served "Ding" to the gallery guests instead of cheese and wine or whatever. Pretty funny. It was like relish, crushed saltines, and some other stuff. so weird.

                      Hey man, if you're curious about that rooftop farm, there is going to be a big feature on the Huffington Post and the NYTimes. I came up to help set up the farm today and someone was shooting it. I think the HuffPo piece might be about roberta's bees actually though. (either way, it should pop up soon.) If you're interested in doing stuff on the farm, check out their site/blog.. it looks like they have a lot of long-term volunteers. 40k sq feet is huge.. so I guess they need them.

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        there're several documentaries on the life of henry hill and he swears they had enough "foods" to run a trattoria. cocaine and heroin was successfully brought in, luxurious food would've been no problem.

                        1. re: epabella

                          Henry Hill, what a life he's led. Punk, car thief, mobster, drug addict, goodfella (sort of, couldn't be made,) witness protection program participant and author, not to mention decent cook. I hear his kids still love him, too.

                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            not everyone carries foul language well but henry hill is as entertaining as gordon ramsay, tony montana and the cast of glenn gary glenn ross (RIP jack lemmon). it's so obvious henry hill can't help how many expletives he adds like spice into what he says.

                            now that you mention it, there was something mentioned in passing about how good his cooking is. but given how many italian buddies he had, it's not suprising their culinary skills rubbed off on him. i wonder if henry hill could take lefty ruggiero in the kitchen.

                    2. My ex-husband was in prison for several years and although he didn't talk about it much, he did a lot of prison-learned things around the house. Like hanging a wet sheet in front of a fan in the summer before we had air conditioning. He made everything himself too: batteries that ran off of outlets in the wall, power supplies for any electronics, folders/envelopes made without tape or glue or staples, etc. It's funny actually, looking back. We had a lot of tattoo machines he had made lying around... lots of picked apart radios and cassette players and whatnot. Anyway, I digress.

                      He made "prison" food for snacks a lot. Mostly they included things he was getting with his commissary or the quarterly packages you can send here in California. So he made things with bases of Top Ramen, tuna, beef jerky, crackers, peanut butter, jelly, etc. Junk food. Slop bags and spread and weird juice concoctions. Lots of condiments involved. But there was this little pie/tart he made me one time with crushed graham and saltine crackers mixed with butter and peanut butter, pressed into a circle and then spread with jelly or jam, then another cracker crust on top, more jam, etc. It was actually quite tasty. We ate it up together. Luckily, I cooked for him or he would have died of a sodium/processed food overdose.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: nothingswrong

                        If hot plates are available in a given facility, I've seen all kinds of stir fries done by prisoners, as well as rice pilaf and omlettes (some places allow or distribute eggs), Also, the hot plate can be used to make mess hall food more palatable. For example, by de-breading a processed, breaded chicken "cutlet," (which was not tasty after being baked in the oven), and using the chicken meat as "raw" material in a stir fry, a stew or as an ingredient in a red sauce poured over pasta or rice. Prison food is pretty poor, so upgrading something like tastless fish filets by adding seasonings and quick "searing" them can make a difference. Some comissaries offer bullion cubes or soup powder, which can be made into a decent soup, even in an electric kettle, or used to boost flavor.

                        1. re: lawmann

                          yes i suppose that is where being able to "make" a hot plate out of common supplies comes in handy. my husband made lighters for cigarettes from the wall socket. pretty interesting and ingenuitive if you ask me. i'm curious about bringing food back from mess hall in prison? i was under the impression you couldn't do that. my ex was in maximum security with 23 hours in the cell. i know some states have privately owned minimum security facilities that are run more like a halfway house and you can even cook your own food. florida has a few places like this i've heard. commissaries in california seem pretty strict about sending in a lot of the ingredients you mentioned, though it does sound like you could make some tasty things. i know in LA county jail they cancelled their food commissary and packages several years ago, but i've heard they've since brought them back. institution food is definitely no bueno. i also browsed a book some years ago by a man who had been incarcerated for like 30 years. it had chapters on how to make all sorts of things in prison, and then there was a recipe chapter. i wish i could remember/find the book (he had a website) because some of the recipes were really complex and interesting.

                      2. I just read a book (Orange is the new Black) that talked a bit about her cooking adventures while in a minimum security prison. A "no bake cheesecake" was one of her specialties.

                        Recipe can be found here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: bigjeff

                            Agree- great book. Also, Chef Jeff Henderson wrote a memoir... he wrote a lot about working in prison kitchens and what was smuggled out. Very interesting book.

                        1. While doin' hard time in the New Mexico State pen I lived off of nothing but soft boiled eggs, sport peppers and Wonder Bread.

                          3 Replies
                            1. re: meatn3

                              In this case, "sport" is synonymous with "hot."

                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                Sport peppers are a big part of the fressing on Chicago-style hot dogs. They appear to be small pickled pepperoncini, or at least the ones I bought did.

                                "doin' hard time in the New Mexico State pen"

                                I hope you're joking; I had a very different image of you in my head...

                                But if you're not, that's ok too. Still like ya.

                          1. I am also curious. What is your interest in this subject?

                            I remember a movie that showed a prison inmate using white bread and supposedly making some kind of mash that fermented into alcohol, but I don't guess that's what you are looking for.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: John E.

                              Just odd fascination. I think I was watching Lockdown or Lock Up late on one of the cable stations. I'm impressed with how resourceful they are -- they probably balance taste and manipulate ingredients and texture better than a lot of cooks who have a world of ingredients to explore.

                              I've made some good meals after hunting down exact ingredients and using them to maximum effect, but some of the meals I remember best, are the ones I pulled off by playing kitchen Macgyver. I made breaded fried thai spicy sweet & sour chicken once, using a bag of nasty shimp-flavored cheeto-style puffs from the asian market, by crushing them into grit, hydrating a bit than applying like Japanese panko. Then faked Tom Kai Gai with half a can of coconut milk, a lemon peel, turkey and some ginger. Felt like a man.

                              1. re: Russel Shank

                                we saw that on Lock up as well. really lots creativity in their cooking.

                              2. re: John E.

                                making prison wine - funny article (about halfway down the page)

                                http://www.thesneeze.com/steve-dont-e...

                              3. I did some research and found a site and some recipes. What I didn't find was a site showing the use of a light bulb to cook coffee or hot chocolate. I seem to remember somebody showing me something like that.

                                If you want to research it, there are some POW websites where they show stoves and recipes that POW's have used.

                                Here is a website: http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/arch...

                                Here are some recipes:

                                Bomb Chino

                                Mix one individual serving of crushed corn chips, one crushed noodle soup, one crushed bag of BBQ potato chips together in a plastic bag - thoroughly combine. Add one to 1 1/2 cups of hot water to the bag, mix evenly and seal the bag wrapping in a towel or a month old newspaper. Let sit for 15 to 30 minute. Empty the contents into a paper plate, paper bag, or anything somewhat clean. Eat with a fairly clean plastic spoon. It's a delight in convict cuisine. Add spices, meats, vegetables as available to suit your own tastes!

                                Soup & pork rinds is basic, but no matter what u mix in them, they're tasty. Take a thoroughly cooked & steaming hot Ramen, strain most water, add season, add some diced spicey dill pickle, ANY kind of canned or packaged meat (even jerky) diced, a few crushed up rinds, some crushed Doritos, American cheese, a lil bit of crushed Tobasco flavord cheese-its, a spoonful of mayo. Mix. Keep it covered & let it self-cook 4 awhile. Then it can be used with tortilla chips like dip, rolled up in a tortilla (flour) for a burrito then nuked 4 20 seconds or so or gobbled with a spoon.

                                Cake

                                a couple of bags, a plate 2 pks of cookies 1 tube of peanut butter and 1 bag of m&ms
                                you seperate the white and blk cookies scrape out the cream
                                crush all the white halfs and tiny bit of water crush the rest for a crust. get a plate put down the first layer of dry crumbs mix the cream center with the peanut butter spread over top next the wet cookie mix and crush the m&ms for the top layer.

                                The Spread:

                                The main ingredient is Top Raman soup. Use 1 soup per person (if you put alot of extras, 2 soups for 3 people), crunch up the noodles & throw in the spices from the little packet. Don't worry about mixing flavors (it's all good). Pour noodles & spices into trash bag. Now comes the fun part you start adding all the stuff you like, cans of tuna, hot sauce, flavored popcorn, spicy cheetoes, corn chips, (don't use potatoe chips), basically you throw in anything you can get. Then you add enough HOT water to cook the mess, tie the trash bag closed & let it cook. You spread a newspaper (AFTER it's been read) on a table & open up the trash bag & everyone grabs a fork & you all stand around this spread eat & talk. If you cook this for a guy on the outside he will probably leave you.

                                Peckerwood Sandwich:
                                This is for desert. Get 2 cookies, the bigger the better, Grannies cookies are what we use. Get a brownie & squish the brownie between the cookies. For a little extra you can pour pudding over the concoction & it will feed 1 to 2 guys.

                                Poormans BBQ.
                                Get a beef stick & cook it on a lighter.

                                PRUNO

                                Double up two trash bags (don't want any leaks) & put as much fruit as you can get, oranges, prunes, apples, raisans, they will use anything. Put in the bread if you can't get yeast from the kitchen. Then you add sugar alot of it. I never saw anyone measure anything. Then you add water. Close up the bag & let the mess cook. We put the bag in a T-shirt tied up the openings so the guards would think it was a water bag for weightlifting. When they shake down a cell, they just have the cell block porters take waterbags down to the shower to dump out. Once it's in the shower with all the other waterbags they find, they have no idea where the PRUNO came from. If you do get a batch done, it will get you drunk. You use a T-shirt to strain the mess then toss the shirt & the goop down the toilet (DONT throw it in the trash).

                                Jailhouse Tamales

                                Take a bag of fritoes corn chips, & a bag of spicy hot cheetoes (you can use doritos too, or any spicy chip), crunch them up as much as you can. Mix them together in a chip bag. Add just enough hot water to turn it into a thick mush. Kneed the bag to mix the contents well, drain off any water (if you do it right there shouldnt be any). Roll the mix up in the chip bag in the shape of a tamale, & let it cook (sit). After about 5min, tear the bag open & pour some hot sauce over it & dig in. It comes pretty close to tasting like a tamale.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: tonka11_99

                                  Reading Tonka's post reminded me, that in the first jail I worked in, the inmates used to make pruno in those big metal fire extiguishers that hung on the walls all over, youo know the bullet shaped ones with the steering wheel on top and the hose hanging straight down the side. They'd empty out the extiguisher stuff (probably vinegar-water with the packet of baking soda on top) and then add the fruit, yeast etc. as above. You could smell the stuff fermenting as you walked down the tiers (not too close to the cell doors mind you).

                                  1. re: junescook

                                    I remember something like Pruno in my university days. I have an acquaintance who was a guest at one of South Africa's jails during apartheid and he tells of preparing an alchoholic drink using leftover bread which would ferment.
                                    Tonka, I don't know anything about using lightbulbs, but I have seen prisoners pulling electical wiring and connecting a positive and negative using a piece of metal to create a crude heating coil to boil water for coffee. (Kids, don't try this at home!?)
                                    I just spoke by phone tonight with a good friend who's been in prison for about 2 years. They have no hotplates where he is incarcerated and he swears by his electic teakettle. I mentioned the no bake cheesecake and he mentioned that he also melts chocalate bars to serve as a "frosting" on his cheesecake, which uses cookies as a base.

                                    1. re: lawmann

                                      Oh that reminds me. I did see a picture out there of something like that a brick and a filament. sorta like a hot plate.

                                       
                                      1. re: tonka11_99

                                        wow that brick is interesting. where did you find that?

                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                          http://www.kk.org/streetuse/archives/...
                                          There is the link. Not sure you wanted a literal answer on that but here you are. It popped up during my google search "cooking in prison"

                                    2. re: junescook

                                      Tonka, the recipes you mention sound very much like the spreads described in the Gastronomica article.

                                    3. re: tonka11_99

                                      yo that tamale sounds pretty perfect.

                                    4. I worked with a cook who had done time for involuntary manslaughter, he told me he was going to write a book "1001 things you can do with Ramen".

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. No, I have not (Thank God) but there's a really good website about ramen (Google it) and 1/2 the recipes on it are from people that make it in prison. Interestingly enough, some of them sound pretty good!

                                        1. There's a book called "Cooked: From the streets to the Stove", that I've been meaning to buy for the last couple of years...

                                          It's about the story of Jeff Henderson, who went from cooking crack on a stove at home, to washing pots & pans in prison, and then became a chef in the Bellagio Casino in Vegas... (he soon realized that being assigned to washing pots was a blessing in disguise , cuz that's where he got mentored from a lifer, regarding cooking techniques...

                                          And he soon noticed that those who worked in the prison kitchen were eating way better than anyone else...

                                          The book came out in 2007; hope he's still doing real good...

                                          p.s. very intriguing Chowhound topic!

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: ellen4441

                                            I believe it. When you've got little other source of satisfaction, or creative outlet, AND your diet is forcibly challenged from the get-go, you probably obsess over food and devote your time to it.

                                            D.C.s Central Kitchen has a ex-con and homeless food service education program. Anthony Bourdain showed it on his DC episode. pretty cool

                                            1. re: ellen4441

                                              Isn't that the same chef that starred on the Chef Jeff Project on the Food Network? I loved that series. Very uplifting.

                                              1. re: soypower

                                                It sure is, soypower ! I just did some googling to confirm , and that's him !!
                                                JEFF HENDERSON !
                                                Am glad to see how far he's come along ....
                                                cuz all I had seen previously was those couple of articles a few years back ....
                                                (when he was a chef at the Bellagio, Vegas, and his book had just come out)

                                                Yes, very uplifting story.... & I'm glad you mentioned the correlation...
                                                I proceeded to go onto his website WWW.CHEFJEFFCOOKED.COM
                                                & even read some of his blog ...(last entry was about a year ago, so I guess he's busy, busy, busy)

                                                Very nicely designed website...

                                                1. re: ellen4441

                                                  Yes, he did talk frequently about giving back, mentoring and how much his life had changed, or or much he changed his life, on the Chef Jeff Project. It's always nice to see people come around and change the focus and course of their lives.

                                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                    For a while I was a social worker and I have had the opportunity to observe prison life from up close. While some places have a strict rule about removing food from the mess hall, it should not surprise anybody that prisoners are most resourceful in moving things around unnoticed. Somehow prisoners were always able to get things out of the mess hall. Also, the "commerce" in prison is quite developed. You always have someone who works in the kitchen who can take some things out of the kitchen when he returns to his wing (depending on the facility, this could even be sanctioned for kitchen trustees). Some of these things find their way into the general stream of commerce. Some prisons have very limited commisaries with only cigarettes, tuna, snack items, etc. available. In other prisons, where cooking is allowed, the commisary may sell ingredients such as rice, beans, canned goods, etc.
                                                    Although it's not a formal policy, my guess is that often the guards choose to ignore minor infractions involving cooking or food prep in the cells because, as somebody above mentioned, it keeps the prisoners busy and, in many cases, calmer. Like most people, if a prisoner is hungry or disgusted by the food he/she has on offer, or not getting required minimum nutrition, etc., he/she is not going to be in a good mood. Many prisoners have really short tempers and/or problems with contolling their impulses at the best of times. That's one of the reasons (there are countless others) why a fight can break out over some minor food-related matter which, on the "outside" would never happen. I've seen people come to blows over an extra piece of roast chicken (which was only served once a week at that particular facility).
                                                    I've never witnessed anything that resembles the scene from "Goodfellas" in any prison I ever knew, but I know of places where the guards were complicit in bringing in stuff from the outside in exchange for various rewards. But this usually involved things that were not food related.

                                                    1. re: lawmann

                                                      lawmann, this is all very interesting. maybe it's just me, but i feel like food might be one of the last things on my mind in prison. i'd be more concerned with being stuck in a cell...

                                                      i was homeless for several years as a teen (started as a runaway and it just "took") and we had some interesting things we did with food under the bridge. torching spam or bologna (no fires allowed at homeless camps in los angeles), slop bags from AM/PM (.99 cent bag of fritos secretly filled with chili, cheese, jalapenos, onions, and salsa at the hot dog station), spread, and ever-changing ways of trying to cook ramen with no hot water at 2 in the morning (or no water at all half the time). come to find out, since most of the people i was on the street with were ex-cons, much of my "homeless cooking" was jail and prison type food. perhaps this is why i don't have much of a refined palette all these years later, even though i grew up in a foodie family that regularly visits italy and spain just for the pasta and paella. i certainly do not miss our condiment sandwiches though. that is one thing i don't ever need to eat again. wonder bread+packets of mayo, ketchup, mustard and relish=gross. there is no way around it. and the cold cans of spaghettios or "meat" raviolis...

                                                      the homeless feedings in richer parts of LA are pretty intense. i've had them serve mesclun greens with vinaigrette, pasta puttanesca, roasted sweet potatoes, beets, and carrots, and rosemary roast chicken. not sure who foots the bill, as the feedings aren't done by the city, but it's nice of them. i think mostly christian organizations. quite a spread.

                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                        interesting story of yours, thanks for sharing it

                                                        I'd bet the nice meals were recycled from a commercial kitchen somewhere

                                                        1. re: Russel Shank

                                                          Nothingswrong-in my experience food is a fairly high priority in prison. Prisoners have such little control over their lives that a simple dish that he/she can produce as the result of an independent decision makes a difference. Also, while many people might retreat into a book as a refuge from a bad reality, most of these guys are not readers. I've heard hardened criminals wax nostalgic for their mother's cooking and they can be really enthusiastic about recreating some food that reminds them of home. I'm not saying that the Food Channel is the number one viewing choice in prison (I don't think prisons have cable anyway :) ), but any variation from prison food is usually welcome. Of course, there are lots of people, in and out of prison, for whom food is just "fuel." For the people that cook in prison, one of the main reasons, I think, is that it helps pass the time in a fairly pleasant task in which you are choosing what you want to do. As for passing the time, ever try to achieve a fine dice using the edge of the top of a tuna can to slice? From my observations it takes a lot more time than using your Wustoff!
                                                          I never thought about cooking by homeless, but in prison at least everybody has a fixed place and a few basic tools at their disposal.

                                                          1. re: lawmann

                                                            that makes sense. i know this isn't allowed in prison, but ever since i was homeless i've always carried a nice serrated smith and wesson knife. i never realized prior to those days how handy a sturdy knife is throughout the day. we used to all also carry P-38s on our belts. i don't know if that's the army name for them or something, but they're little can openers/bottle openers. tiny, like a little bigger than a quarter.

                                                            i was never incarcerated in prison but in my wild teen years (before i was homeless), i spent about 14 months in a privately-owned sadistic lockdown facility for troubled teens. we had the local utah state prison chef cook our mass-produced meals. some weren't too bad, but most of them were unidentifiable. since i was underweight, they held me down by the neck and force fed me canned green beans, "chicken-fried steak" (having to put that in quotes should say something), and loads of protein shakes and crackers and whatnot. there were little things we did in there to try and enjoy our food, like put butter and packets of white sugar on our toast in the morning, even though it was against the rules. i also found a way to smuggle candy into my room (we had cavity and full body searches almost daily) though i still don't remember how i did it. i had a peach jolly rancher that i would suck on for two seconds a night, then i hid it again in the bottom of a stick of deoderant. it's so disgusting to think of now, but that thing lasted me a good two months. i would have sold my soul for an endless supply of chocolate, strong espresso, and french fries at the time...

                                            2. I realize this reply is over two years too late, but I found a delicious prison tamales recipe you, or anyone searching for jailhouse food, must try, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yufq7... and it stays true to the "real" thing with just one adaptation.

                                              I became interested in this popular jail food after more than several young fellows I mentored through the church, former inmates, bemoaned how much they missed the great taste of prison tamales which were better than tamales on the outside. I Googled the term and came back with several recipes I made but didn't care for whatsoever, Then a co-worker brought the prison tamales made by the Ava Flava girl in the video to our office Christmas party and they were a hit!

                                              She makes them just like her family member who was in prison made them, but instead of the industrial / food service quality beef he used she substituted store bought pouch chicken and I think that's what makes this recipe so good.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: timsosee

                                                One of my close friends served time in a minimum security. She said they would mash Chick o sticks and PB into a crust and make mini desserts with them. She said they would fill them with pudding cups melted candy bars, stuff like that. They made little tuna casseroles with chips, tuna, mayo, and some sort of cheese spread that came with crackers. I am not sure how they cooked them, but they did. They also made "salads" with ramen noodles soaked Italian dressing packets. They would add tuna and eat it that way. They would also make embellished soup with cup o soup type packets and various other things. She said they made Mexican casserole with Doritos, salsa, canned tuna or chicken, and cheese dip. They made noodles with spicy peanut sauce. She said they also managed to make semi-drinkable flavored coffee drinks. She described other things they made and it was insane. I though that if prisoners could manage to be that self-sufficient and resourceful outside of prison, they wouldn't "need" to commit crimes.

                                              2. This would be kind of the same thing as cooking in a dorm room, right? Well....without the incarceration part.....

                                                1. Russell-- I've not cooked in prison but I was on the staff of a state juvenile facility. Where I worked, non of the "wards" would be allowed to have anything in their rooms/ cells that could be used for cooking. However, several wards were allowed to be part of the cooking crew where food was cooked for the rest of the population and they produced some excellent meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

                                                    1. My friend teaches in prison to young men and she says the biggest motivator to behave and learn is Hot Cheetos.
                                                      Huge commodity and trades like gold.

                                                      1. My personal favorites: spicy chilli ramen with Armoni chilli pack with cheese spread you can get all on commissary next is chicken or beef ramen 1 whole spicy dill pickle and 2 tbsp of pickle juice mayonnaise crushed cheetos just heat your hot pot cook noodles drain and mix up the rest great on bread saved through the day or tortillas. And for desert what we call breaks you flatten a honey bun and then crush up cupcakes and set on top then crush your flavor candy bar on top of that and last mix hot coco with a little bit of hot water and drizzle over top.