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May 9, 2010 12:43 AM

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:

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          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:


            1 Reply
            1. re: archstreet

              that was an amazing article, so interesting.