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PRISON CUSINE ... What is a typical menu?

PHREDDY Aug 26, 2013 12:40 PM

Any chowhounders ever prepare food for any type of penal facility? At some time in the past I employed some ex-offenders from a work-release program, but never discussed nutrition with them? Please give me some insight as to menu,nutrition, levels of management, and resident (inmate) participation.

  1. f
    ferret Aug 26, 2013 12:54 PM

    Mmmmm.... Nutraloaf:


    1. mcf Aug 26, 2013 12:58 PM


      1 Reply
      1. re: mcf
        PHREDDY Aug 26, 2013 02:35 PM

        Just like the North Shore cuisine we complain about on Saturday night !

      2. t
        treb Aug 26, 2013 01:06 PM

        Friend who is a CO stated they spend about .70, yup 70 cents, per day for inmate food.

        28 Replies
        1. re: treb
          Veggo Aug 26, 2013 02:23 PM

          New York State spends $165,000 per year per prisoner, but only 70 cents per meal? Do the guards have chauffeurs?

          1. re: Veggo
            mcf Aug 26, 2013 02:28 PM

            that's three full time salaries with fringe benefits per shift per year, facilities maintenance and building, administrator, health care, and other salaries... the pennies left go for food. I've heard it's basically gruel like stuff with lumps alleged to be meat served over white bread or other starch.

            1. re: mcf
              Veggo Aug 26, 2013 02:32 PM

              It 's still 3 times the price of the best boarding schools in the country.

              1. re: Veggo
                mcf Aug 26, 2013 04:18 PM

                They don't need quite the number of armed and awake staff around the clock. And private school teacher pay is very low, and the schools do a lot of fund raising privately.

                1. re: mcf
                  Veggo Aug 26, 2013 04:33 PM

                  I'm sure the low paid private school teachers with masters degrees would like to earn half of what publicly funded prison guards with a GED earn.

                  1. re: Veggo
                    mcf Aug 27, 2013 07:02 AM

                    Education isn't the only factor in pay rates. Risk/danger is.

                    1. re: mcf
                      Veggo Aug 27, 2013 07:34 AM

                      There are more shootings in schools than in prisons.

                      1. re: Veggo
                        mcf Aug 27, 2013 07:40 AM

                        Shootings aren't the only risks one faces at any job that determines risk and stress level.

                    2. re: Veggo
                      flavrmeistr Aug 29, 2013 06:07 PM

                      Work union, live better.

                      1. re: flavrmeistr
                        PotatoHouse Sep 1, 2013 01:15 PM


                        1. re: PotatoHouse
                          flavrmeistr Sep 1, 2013 04:52 PM

                          Enjoying your weekend, are you? You're welcome.

                        2. re: flavrmeistr
                          The Professor Sep 29, 2013 10:46 AM


                    3. re: Veggo
                      westsidegal Aug 30, 2013 12:04 AM

                      the administrators of the boarding schools don't get paid anywhere near what the executives of the private prison companies get paid.

                      1. re: westsidegal
                        youareabunny Aug 30, 2013 12:24 AM

                        The prison business is a boomin'. Need to keep those cells filled so the CCA execs can enjoy their mansions and jets.

                        1. re: youareabunny
                          westsidegal Aug 30, 2013 12:39 AM

                          iirc, CCA makes over a $billion a year.
                          the ceo gets multimillion dollar BONUSES (i.e. over and above a salary)

                          1. re: westsidegal
                            The Chowhound Team Aug 30, 2013 10:06 AM

                            Folks, this discussion is getting well away from anything that has to do with food. Can we ask that people bring it back around to the original topic? Thanks.

                  2. re: Veggo
                    treb Aug 27, 2013 05:07 AM

                    That's seventy cents per 'day' not meal. Mostly a single slice of bologna with 2 slices of day old white bread, frozen veggie, potato and maybe a piece of bruised fruit. The prisons buy old or nearly outdated product. Most of the budget is used as mcf has stated.

                    1. re: treb
                      westsidegal Aug 30, 2013 12:05 AM

                      <<frozen veggie>>
                      i only saw canned

                      1. re: westsidegal
                        treb Aug 30, 2013 05:20 AM

                        Probably what ever is dirt cheap.

                    2. re: Veggo
                      coll Aug 27, 2013 05:19 AM

                      I used to sell food to one of the prisons in upstate NY. Don't know what they sent there on the trucks, but their guards would come in on a regular basis (once a month maybe?)for ribeyes and lobster tails. Not sure if for special occasions or normal meals, but whatever. Unless there were a lot of electric chair last suppers going on that I didn't know about!

                      1. re: coll
                        mcf Aug 27, 2013 07:03 AM

                        Administration meals, very possibly.

                        1. re: mcf
                          coll Aug 27, 2013 07:31 AM

                          I know it wasn't for the prisoners, since they picked it up specially!

                    3. re: treb
                      BiscuitBoy Aug 30, 2013 09:20 AM

                      I'm good with that

                      1. re: BiscuitBoy
                        mcf Aug 30, 2013 09:33 AM

                        You're good with officials using government money for their personal food purchases and other luxuries?

                        1. re: mcf
                          Veggo Aug 30, 2013 09:39 AM

                          Read above again - he's good with 70 cents a day.

                          1. re: Veggo
                            mcf Aug 30, 2013 09:50 AM

                            Oops. My bad.

                        2. re: BiscuitBoy
                          JMF Aug 30, 2013 09:53 AM

                          Me Too.

                          1. re: JMF
                            BiscuitBoy Aug 30, 2013 10:50 AM

                            ! I'm good with yuse guys too!

                      2. gaffk Aug 26, 2013 01:37 PM

                        Is there something you'd like to share Phreddy? Should we expect no posts from you for the next 3-5 years?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: gaffk
                          suzigirl Aug 26, 2013 01:42 PM

                          This comment alone made it worth opening this thread.

                          1. re: suzigirl
                            gaffk Aug 26, 2013 01:52 PM


                            1. re: gaffk
                              PHREDDY Aug 26, 2013 02:28 PM

                              I am serious , I have been told a distant cousins son-in-law is a chef in a prison in central Ca.

                              1. re: PHREDDY
                                gaffk Aug 26, 2013 03:02 PM

                                Sorry. I tried to google California prison menus, but this is the closest I get (it's about Arizona).


                          2. re: gaffk
                            PHREDDY Aug 26, 2013 02:25 PM

                            LOL!!!!!! Going to change my wet shorts now , after your response !!!

                          3. mrbigshotno.1 Aug 26, 2013 02:27 PM

                            Sheriff Joe's the menu master on this one. Honestly though, I worked with a cook who did 8 years in the federal pen for invoulintary manslaughter (it was an accident). He said they eat fine. Most of them eat better than they did on the street.

                            1. pinehurst Aug 26, 2013 02:35 PM


                              I found this semi-recent (4 yr old) piece on google:


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pinehurst
                                PHREDDY Aug 27, 2013 02:47 AM


                              2. s
                                Sherri Aug 26, 2013 02:52 PM

                                I live in "Sheriff Joe" country; people either love him or hate him. Currently, the food cost per day, for two meals a day he serves, is about 60 cents pp. Inflation has hit and there are plans afoot to charge inmates $1 a day for their food by setting up an account that deducts money before the prisoner can hit the canteen to buy chocolates, etc. Arpiao states that he will continue to feed prisoners who have no money.

                                There is no coffee served, a single plastic spork is issued daily and expected to be used for both meals. I believe the days of green bologna have passed; most breakfasts are oatmeal. Joe believes that prisoners should not eat better than members of the US military so he does not coddle his inmates.

                                NB: the above refers to jails in Maricopa County, AZ and not to prisons where sentences longer than one year are served.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Sherri
                                  Hobbert Aug 26, 2013 03:04 PM

                                  Charging inmates is a fairly common practice and quite reasonable, too. Our inmates just eat like you'd eat in a public school except the only real options are for religious reasons.

                                2. f
                                  foodeye Aug 26, 2013 02:59 PM

                                  I visited San Quentin once, many years ago (not to see a prisioner, but with a college class on civil rights), and recall they said they call it "meals" because it wasn't good enough to be called "food." I hope it has improved, but I wouldn't bet on it. Maybe Michele Obama can take an interest in the issue...

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: foodeye
                                    Veggo Aug 26, 2013 03:08 PM

                                    I dunno. If prison food sucks, it can only improve the rate of recidivism.

                                    1. re: foodeye
                                      foiegras Aug 26, 2013 03:20 PM

                                      I think Martha Stewart should.

                                      1. re: foiegras
                                        gingershelley Sep 28, 2013 05:54 PM

                                        Martha should What?

                                      2. re: foodeye
                                        2m8ohed Aug 26, 2013 04:39 PM

                                        The last time I ate at San Quentin, the meal included baked chicken in BBQ sauce, a "cobbler" type dessert, a roll, and some kind of formerly frozen vegetable (I can't remember, probably corn). The time before that, it included mini corn dogs, without sticks (think about it). Both times I thought it was better than expected, but I was hungry. Definitely better than the food served at my sons' public elementary school. At the county jail, I believe the last meal I saw included 2 bologna sandwiches, each one with two slices of white bread and one slice of bologna and a packet of mustard on the side. I didn't sample that but it looked very unappetizing.

                                        I should probably add that I am a college professor who teaches a seminar on criminal justice policy so I was visiting with my classes on field trips. (And I'm sticking with that story.)

                                        By the way, the walls of the cafeteria at San Quentin are decorated with amazing huge murals painted by a former inmate, with lots of fascinating secret details.

                                        1. re: 2m8ohed
                                          gaffk Aug 26, 2013 04:44 PM

                                          Hey, if that's your story stick to it.

                                      3. c
                                        cleobeach Aug 27, 2013 06:08 AM

                                        I interviewed for a job at a Federal medium security prison and spent an entire day touring the facility. The lunch I saw didn't look too bad, on par with typical public school food. It looked like meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy.

                                        Timely topic as I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts. The hosts were discussing Orange is the New Black and arguing about the prison food.

                                        Turns out one of their friends spent 5yo in a fed prison and here is a link to a multi part interview. In one of the episodes, he talks about the food -


                                        The interviews are between 1408 and 1411

                                        1. jrvedivici Aug 27, 2013 07:16 AM

                                          I have personally consumed a bologna sandwich or two in local lock up's. Having never been to club fed, or state prison I cannot comment, however I do have a friend who took a vacation at club fed.

                                          Most food was basic but edible. Meatloaf, pasta w/ sauce, mac cheese things of that nature. He was assigned to kitchen duty one time and he said the freezers were also full of expired fast food. Cases of expired fast food chain burgers etc. (don't recall the exact chains)

                                          1. jrvedivici Aug 27, 2013 08:01 AM

                                            This was just on CNBC, I don't think you can judge fairly from him.


                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: jrvedivici
                                              mcf Aug 27, 2013 08:04 AM

                                              My understanding is that a lot of prisoners are paying, or their families are, for better living conditions around the country. It's a program meant to mitigate the expense of running prisions, not just some fat cats getting away with something.

                                              1. re: mcf
                                                fara Aug 28, 2013 01:04 AM

                                                Still, they are fat cats getting away with something.

                                            2. s
                                              sedimental Aug 27, 2013 08:08 AM

                                              I regularly work consulting in correction facilities. Prisons have better quality food than jails most of the time. Not just the price effects they type of food served, but nutritional standards mandated by the government as well as safety issues effect the food (I.e. powdered peppers and spices are not served due to turning them into weapons). I could tell ya stories......

                                              Prisons have cafeteria style services with some variety, jails do not, they have trays, often measured out in measured "scoops" by calorie load to meet standards.

                                              Aramark provides food in many facilities, both prisons and jails across the US. They use processed and frozen foods. No salt and limited spices, soy and turkey for most meats shaped like hot dogs and hamburgers. High carbs with rice, beans, noodles. Seriously, boxes arrive at the facilities that are marked as "not fit for human consumption". These things are mixed with other items to make them "fit"...all trans fats, all the time.

                                              Watered down vegetables like cooked carrots (the water has to be included in the serving as it contains the mandated vitamins required). Lettuce is iceberg, bread is wonder style white, butter is oily margarine. Packets of koolaid is served with water to drink but breakfast might include a carton of milk. Fruits are underripe and often not edible. Breakfast might be a hard roll, a slice of lunch meat and maybe an orange.

                                              The only bright spot are the cookies and cakes. One serving at dinner and maybe at lunch depending on the rest of the calorie counts for the day. They are actually tasty!

                                              20 Replies
                                              1. re: sedimental
                                                ratgirlagogo Sep 1, 2013 10:25 AM

                                                " Prisons have better quality food than jails most of the time."

                                                Yes - in general prisons have better quality everything than jails. It would be good if more people understood that prison and jail are different. Prisons are set up for long term, including lifetime, stays; jails, in theory, are for short-term stays. Prisons have kitchens, jails don't - thus the famous bologna white bread sandwiches.

                                                1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                  Hobbert Sep 1, 2013 12:04 PM

                                                  Not always true. In VA, at least, jails may house those with sentences of less than 364 days. The jail in my area has a fully functioning kitchen.

                                                  1. re: Hobbert
                                                    ratgirlagogo Sep 1, 2013 12:24 PM

                                                    Yes, you're right. Some jails have more facilities than others. But a problem all over the US is that jails, esp. in larger cities, are being expected to house folks for longer and longer periods of time, often while they await sentencing - and they're not really set up for it, especially with the staffing. A year in jail is a long, long year, for both the prisoner and the guard.

                                                    1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                      Fowler Sep 1, 2013 12:34 PM

                                                      " A year in jail is a long, long year, for both the prisoner and the guard."

                                                      I would take a year in jail over a year in prison anytime.

                                                      1. re: Fowler
                                                        sedimental Sep 1, 2013 04:47 PM

                                                        A year in a county jail is much, much, much harder time than in prison. County jails usually have no "programs", poor food, non contact visits, no pictures or calendars allowed on the walls, no pen or personal belongings in the cells, no ability to work except a few "trustee" positions, limited commissary (personal food and toiletries) limited phone calls with no long distance allowed, only group t.v., no music, limited medical care (no vision care in order to read), no gym, no education options, often no "yard" for fresh air.

                                                        Most county jail folks are offered "a year and a day" sentencing for the express purpose of allowing the inmate to spend their time in the much more "livable" prison environment rather in the claustrophobic, over crowded county jails.

                                                        County jails have never kept pace with the numbers of bookings we see now and they have not allowed for the incredibly slow ( serial continuances) public defender processing issues that most counties face. It is a real mess in most counties.

                                                        A "food issue" can turn into a real medical crisis and a huge cost issue for counties. Imagine diabetics, Crohn's disease, diverticulosis, celiacs, etc all eating jail food for 6 to 12 months. They often have frequent medical crisis episodes while there (just due to dietary issues alone, let alone other situations) that are all covered by taxpayer dollars. Hospitalized, treated (insulin adjustments, antibiotics, etc) then back to jail for the same diet. It is more than a little disturbing, really.

                                                        1. re: sedimental
                                                          Fowler Sep 1, 2013 04:57 PM

                                                          I am sure you are right and perhaps maybe they should not have done whatever it was that landed them in jail in the first place? I do not feel sorry for people in jail because they do not have television or a gym to work out in every day like they would be granted in a prison. There are many law abiding people that don't even have those things.

                                                          1. re: Fowler
                                                            sedimental Sep 1, 2013 05:05 PM

                                                            That brings up two issues though.

                                                            The first, is that a large number of people in jails have not been convicted of a crime. "Innocent until proven guilty" is certainly a US value we hold dear. They must await trial and some are actually not guilty or simply get stuck in a slow system where the punishment does not fit the crime. Many people spend more time in jail due to a slow system, than what their "crime" would garner for a sentence.

                                                            The second is the cost to the county (you and me) that is astronomical for some of these very preventable issues.

                                                            Neither of these things have anything to do with feeling sorry for anyone.

                                                            At any rate, I was responding to your idea that jail time is preferable to prison time. It is not.

                                                            1. re: sedimental
                                                              gingershelley Sep 28, 2013 06:02 PM

                                                              Sedimental, thank you so much for your insightful comments to a challenging conversation. One that I imagine MOST chowhounds have no idea about actualities of prison/jail daily life.

                                                              I appreciate your knowledge and responses!

                                                            2. re: Fowler
                                                              flavrmeistr Sep 1, 2013 05:10 PM

                                                              "If it's a good jail, I'll join you."

                                                              ---W.C. Fields, to the officer placing him under arrest for drunk driving in a Hollywood funeral procession

                                                              1. re: Fowler
                                                                gingershelley Sep 28, 2013 06:00 PM

                                                                Fowler, Sedimental was NOT even remotely addressing why an inmate is in jail, just that the issues faced (and associated costs for taxpayers - let alone human costs), for anyone who has to eat that kind of garbage diet are huge.

                                                                Should we not care about their eating better food, to help them be able to choose to turn into better people (it's possible). But, if you feed a person garbage, you certainly get a very old saw that is true....

                                                                Garbage in - GARBAGE OUT!!!!!!!

                                                                1. re: gingershelley
                                                                  Fowler Sep 29, 2013 08:52 AM

                                                                  >>>Should we not care about their eating better food, to help them be able to choose to turn into better people<<<

                                                                  Yes, I definitely want murderers, child molesters and rapists eating better food than you or I eat because that is most certainly going to turn them into better people.

                                                                  1. re: Fowler
                                                                    foiegras Sep 29, 2013 09:15 AM

                                                                    I hope as a chowhounder, you're eating very well indeed.

                                                                    How we treat our prisoners is a measure of our humanity, not theirs.

                                                                    1. re: foiegras
                                                                      mamachef Sep 29, 2013 09:24 AM

                                                                      Nicely put, and hear hear.

                                                                      1. re: mamachef
                                                                        Fowler Sep 29, 2013 09:38 AM

                                                                        What would you advocate to be a suitable menu for someone in prison for murder, rape, child molestation and other felonies?

                                                                        1. re: Fowler
                                                                          mamachef Sep 29, 2013 10:08 AM

                                                                          I don't have a suitable background in penology to offer any educated opinion on your question, but I do believe that for the large part, "the time is the punishment," and as such shouldn't be unduly harsh in ways that in the long run, don't really matter. When we're talking about human monsters, isn't what they eat kinda petty? I'm not suggesting anything above the pale of what a typical person generally eats; neither am I behind the idea that maggoty gruel is going to solve anything at all.

                                                                          1. re: mamachef
                                                                            hill food Sep 29, 2013 03:52 PM

                                                                            I think very few check themselves in for the quality of the sustenance.

                                                                            1. re: hill food
                                                                              mamachef Sep 29, 2013 10:43 PM

                                                                              Exactly, hill food. Those that do the "three hots and a cot" thing are driven by much more than food issues, either way.

                                                          2. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                            Hobbert Sep 1, 2013 01:13 PM

                                                            Yes, I'm familiar with the corrections system.

                                                            1. re: Hobbert
                                                              ratgirlagogo Sep 1, 2013 07:39 PM

                                                              Apologies if it seemed like lecturing, not my intention of course.

                                                              1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                                Hobbert Sep 2, 2013 12:12 PM


                                                    2. k
                                                      kseiverd Aug 27, 2013 11:51 AM

                                                      Was in prison in NJ for over 12 years... AS A TEACHER!! Small, separate dining area for COs and staff... same food as inmates got. Not "haute cuisine" by any means but nothing funky, that I can recall. Usually some kinda home-made soup. Small salad bar... good source for snack of celery/carrot sticks and a little dressing for dipping. They made the BEST, soft/bendy molasses cookies from time to time. Would REALLY have like to have gotten that recipe before I was "paroled".

                                                      Every inmate had some kinda "job" that they got paid for... cleaning, stacking weights in the yard, teacher's aide, kitchen work. Got paid something like $1 a day and bought non-perishablefood items from commissary... like canned tuna/sardines or other meat, peanut butter & jelly, ramen noodles, etc. They were allowed to take something like 3-4 slices of bread out of mess hall and back to their wings.

                                                      Family/visitors were allowed to leave food items during visits... as long as on list of things permitted. If someone left hardboiled eggs, they HAD to be BROWN?? Reason... kitchen ONLY used white ones, so if you had a white egg that meant you or someone else STOLE it!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: kseiverd
                                                        foiegras Aug 27, 2013 12:01 PM

                                                        I can imagine Martha's first question ... can they be blue-green Araucana eggs??

                                                      2. westsidegal Aug 30, 2013 12:02 AM

                                                        start with a moldy loaf of commercial bread. . . .

                                                        most of the rest of the stuff was not necessarily identifiable as any food eaten on the outside.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: westsidegal
                                                          PHREDDY Aug 30, 2013 03:05 PM

                                                          What then did you perceive it to be ?

                                                          1. re: PHREDDY
                                                            westsidegal Sep 3, 2013 12:43 AM

                                                            brown stuff
                                                            brown and green stuff
                                                            tan stuff

                                                        2. Fowler Sep 1, 2013 12:20 PM

                                                          It depends upon A.) the Prison and B.) if the convict is part of the general population or isolated in solitary confinement.

                                                          That is according to an acquaintance of mine that is a SuperMax prison Warden. From his description, the general population convicts eat fairly well and better than many people who are not incarcerated for being convicted rapists, murderers, child molesters, etc.

                                                          1. Atomic76 Sep 1, 2013 07:36 PM

                                                            I had to do a 30 day stint in jail a few years back. The food they actually serve is beyond awful, however most people try to eat out of the vending machines as much as possible, and throw out the food they give you there - unless you're really broke then you don't have a choice. You're only allowed a certain amount of money every few days, so people would buy out all the stuff in the machines then sneak it up into their rooms. The food they do serve there is on filthy plastic bubble trays, often with food scraps from the last meal stuck to the bottom of the trays, along with soap suds. They stack the trays of food, so all that goes into your food. The food looks like it was all flavored with "spices" that look more like grey ash flakes than "parsley". I don't think they used any salt to be honest. Usually it was a slice of some baloney type meat that was full of gristle, a slice of bread, and some unflavored grits with soap water in them.
                                                            Before that, I had to stay 3 days in a holding cell, and the food there was much better. It was simple but tolerable. I would get something like a Belgian waffle, syrup and scrambled eggs, and some milk for breakfast. A fried chicken breast and some bread for dinner. Whoever was responsible for the food there was obviously being considerate even though everyone else there treats you miserably.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Atomic76
                                                              foiegras Sep 2, 2013 03:48 PM

                                                              Wow ... sounds like a complete nightmare. I am imagining that you lost weight ...

                                                            2. hill food Sep 2, 2013 01:07 AM

                                                              I used to live with a media studies professor and sometimes we had self-published inmate magazines laying around the house and a BIG part covered what an inmate can buy at the comissary and improvise in the cell with next to no utensils or equipment - really inventive and astounding.

                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: hill food
                                                                Fowler Sep 2, 2013 11:31 AM

                                                                And don't forget washing it all down with cell-made pruno.

                                                                1. re: Fowler
                                                                  hill food Sep 2, 2013 06:23 PM

                                                                  is pruno the liquor made in the toilet? clever. disgusting but clever.

                                                                  1. re: hill food
                                                                    sedimental Sep 2, 2013 07:00 PM

                                                                    No. It is usually made in a piece of fruit, like an orange.

                                                                    1. re: hill food
                                                                      coll Sep 3, 2013 06:21 AM

                                                                      I thought that too. Probably because I saw it in "Let's Go To Jail". Thank goodness, no personal experience.....yet!

                                                                      Oh I just looked it up, they called it "Toilet Wine" in the movie. Sort of gross, because he also refers to it as "Merlot"!

                                                                      1. re: coll
                                                                        hill food Sep 3, 2013 07:33 PM

                                                                        I think I'll follow sedimental's idea when the sad day comes.

                                                                        1. re: hill food
                                                                          coll Sep 4, 2013 05:07 AM

                                                                          I love how you say "when" and not "if"!

                                                                          1. re: coll
                                                                            foiegras Sep 7, 2013 10:07 PM

                                                                            I take it hill food is not an optimist.

                                                                  2. re: hill food
                                                                    Atomic76 Sep 3, 2013 04:04 PM

                                                                    The jail I was in was actually an old school that they converted into a low security wing of the main jail. So there were windows in our rooms & curtains. I was there during the winter time, and we would take the refrigerated food from the vending machines and store it between the curtains and the window to keep it chilled. It was funny when we had to go outside for fire drills because we didn't want the guards to look up and see all burgers and stuff we had stashed in the windows.

                                                                    1. re: Atomic76
                                                                      hill food Sep 3, 2013 07:35 PM

                                                                      Atomic - ha! funny, as I've done that in dive-y fleabag motels with no fridge! ehh and I guess on some level we were both paying for the experience.

                                                                  3. b
                                                                    beevod Sep 2, 2013 07:27 AM

                                                                    Baloney and water, according to my Rikers Island Cookbook, second edition.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: beevod
                                                                      foiegras Sep 2, 2013 10:55 AM

                                                                      Now I'm suddenly quite curious to get my hands on that first edition ...

                                                                      1. re: beevod
                                                                        PHREDDY Sep 2, 2013 12:03 PM

                                                                        Have done some plumbing work at Rikers, but we had to bring our own food. My workers never got to sample the food, at least when they were employed by me. Would like to start a thread CBOM - prison recipes!

                                                                        1. re: beevod
                                                                          JMF Sep 2, 2013 01:27 PM

                                                                          Hmmm... Rikers food may not be that bad...


                                                                          1. re: JMF
                                                                            PHREDDY Sep 2, 2013 06:13 PM

                                                                            Thanks JMF... Very interesting

                                                                            1. re: JMF
                                                                              hill food Sep 2, 2013 06:26 PM

                                                                              it's gotta beat the jail fare in (TX? AZ?) where the warden instituted nothing but the Nutraloaf that ferret mentioned upstream - the theory being not only it's cheap but keeps the inmates docile and weak...

                                                                          2. mamachef Sep 28, 2013 10:52 AM

                                                                            Interesting thread. In the late '90's, I was hired via grant to work in the education department at Valley State Prison for Women, in Chowchilla, CA. Staff (all staff; medical, correctional, educational) was given the option of eating meals either purchased at a low price from a separate commissary/dining room than the inmates' cafeteria, or to eat what they were being offered, free of charge. The staff meal was always passable; usually along the lines of say, chicken fried steak, or meatloaf: something filling and institutional. In that way, I didn't see it being much different than the inmate menus. I have to say though - what they ate was of the same quality, and also very passable. The first breakfast I opted into was an inmate meal: scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, something that looked (and tasted) like taco-seasoned ground meat, milk, juice, an orange - and one of the best turnovers I've ever had, pastry-wise: baked in-house by an inmate who was trying to learn a trade before she completed her sentence.

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: mamachef
                                                                              suzigirl Sep 28, 2013 12:34 PM

                                                                              I haven't seen hide nor hair of you in months. I hope I have just been missing your posts Marci and all is well with you.

                                                                              1. re: suzigirl
                                                                                mamachef Sep 28, 2013 03:13 PM

                                                                                Suzigirl, how nice!! I haven't been here at all lately, so nope; you missed nothin. :) Between a move, a not-new-to-me (but new again) job at the Frat., and generally re-grouping, I've had to spend a lot of energy in a lot of different places. Add to that some profound computer trouble, and you get the idea.
                                                                                I've missed you, and I've missed being here. I sure won't be able to be around as much, but it's good to check in and see what's what. I'm stewing about a topic: "Return of Hot Dish. " :)

                                                                                1. re: suzigirl
                                                                                  gaffk Sep 28, 2013 05:05 PM

                                                                                  Heh . . . I stalk her posts, so I knew I wasn't missing anything ;)

                                                                                  But I was very good and did not hound her over her absence.

                                                                                  1. re: gaffk
                                                                                    suzigirl Sep 28, 2013 06:54 PM

                                                                                    Staying on topic, good to meet you Kim. We can stalk her together now that she is back. :-)

                                                                                    1. re: suzigirl
                                                                                      gaffk Sep 28, 2013 07:05 PM

                                                                                      Sounds like a plan Suzi :)

                                                                              2. mamachef Sep 28, 2013 06:00 PM

                                                                                One thing that seriously impressed me was the level of ingenuity by the inmates as far as using what they were able to get from the canteen and liberate from the kitchen. One lady told me in great detail about using tomatoes, peppers and onions and a tuna-can lid to chop them up - she added cumin and garlic powder, which were received in her quarterly package back when inmates could still get them. But this is where it gets genius: she cooked her salsa in a double-boiler mechanism, using: two heavy plastic bags, a one-gallon bucket, and a couple "stingers." (electrical coils that some prisons still allow.) And I hear it was good. The stuff I heard about goes waaaaay beyond "spread," which is another name for really gooshy top ramen noodles mixed w/ process cheese, refried beans, salsa, and maybe a handful of crushed doritos; scooped up w/ chips. Unfortunately, I couldn't ask them to write about this stuff, though I'd have loved to, because it would have compromised their anonymity as far as, say, using authorized electrical equipment in an unauthorized way in an unauthorized bucket using wwaaaaayyy contraband ingredients, which is not a good thing.

                                                                                1. coll Sep 29, 2013 08:06 AM

                                                                                  I hear the oatmeal cookies are very good, wherever it is that OJ Simpson is residing!

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: coll
                                                                                    Tripeler Sep 30, 2013 12:01 AM

                                                                                    Yes, I hear that OJ is currently in a gated community somewhere.

                                                                                    1. re: Tripeler
                                                                                      coll Sep 30, 2013 04:16 AM

                                                                                      Turns out it wasn't true anyway.

                                                                                  2. GraydonCarter Sep 29, 2013 12:53 PM

                                                                                    The daily meal in the holding cells at the West Palm Beach the countty jail consists of a bottle of water, apple, and bologna sandwich made with whole wheat bread and greenish bologna, with a packet of mustard.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                                      coll Sep 29, 2013 01:39 PM

                                                                                      I've had worse! Well not the greenish bologna, but it does last a VERY long time.

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