It’s certainly no secret that jail and prison food can be absolutely disgusting. Therefore, it is also no surprise when prisoners take it upon themselves to upgrade the quality of their daily cuisine.
They do so by using items purchased from the commissary, a few ingredients stolen from the kitchen (kitchen workers earn extra money by pilfering food to sell to fellow inmates), from prison/jail gardens and, if they’re lucky, someone smuggles something in from the outside that’s really good, such as real meat.
By the way, most of the food items smuggled from the kitchen are concealed inside the pants of the workers. Officers often tend to skip the crotch area when conducting pat-downs, so yes, that delicious piece of leftover cake or chicken breast was once, well … right “there.” Yum …
Most prison culinary pros use only the best of cooking tools, such as a sharpened vegetable can lid (one edge folded over for safe gripping), used for slicing, dicing, and chopping. Also necessary are plastic garbage bags for steaming and boiling, and microwavable bowls. If the commissary doesn’t sell bowls, and most do, the cut-off bottom of a plastic bucket serves nicely. Five gallon bucket bottoms also make excellent pots for cooking stews, soups, and pasta, as well as being utilized as nice serving containers for large groups—birthday, holiday, or Super Bowl parties.
If the facility does not provide microwaves or, if you’re confined to a cell without access to a microwave, well, you’ll have to be a bit more creative, such as perhaps using a stinger to generate heat.
Stingers are used to heat liquid and/or boil water
A stinger is a device made from electrical wire and two metal objects, such as razor blades, spoons, forks, or even parts from fingernail clippers.
So, what sort of dishes are concocted from these piecemeal ingredients and crude cookware? Well, for starters …
- One bag of plain corn chips
- One bag of spicy hot chips – Cheetos, Doritos, etc.,
- Hot water – (only the amount needed to transform mixture into a thick mush/paste)
- Hot sauce
- Place all chips into one chip bag
- Mash/crush/pulverize the chips
- Add just enough hot water to transform mixture into a thick mush/paste
- Knead mixture well
- Drain excess water, if any
- With mixture/dough still inside chip bag, mold into shape of a tamale
- Let “tamale” “cook” (let it stand for 5 minutes or so).
- Remove tamale and top with hot sauce
Spicy Tuna Surprise
- One can of tuna
- A hunk of stolen kitchen cheese
- One package of Ramen noodles (flavor is optional)
- Jalapeños – stolen from kitchen, jail garden, or purchased from commissary
- Break noodles into smaller pieces
- Cook noodles per package instructions (add hot water heated with stinger)
- Drain tuna and then place it into a bowl
- Top tuna with jalapeño slices/wheels
- Add cheese crumbles or slices
- Mix seasoning packet into steaming hot noodles
- Top dish with prepared noodles
- When cheese has melted to desired consistency … enjoy
The Spread (for serving large groups – parties, social gatherings, etc.)
- Top Ramen Soup (one package per guest)
- The kitchen sink – whatever you want to add—tuna, corn chips, chicken pieces, summer sausage, popcorn, etc.
- Place noodles and spice mixes inside a plastic garbage bag
- Add any and all other ingredients of your choosing (see list above). Be creative
- Add enough hot water to “cook” the entire dish into the consistency of a casserole.
- Tightly close the garbage bag and allow mixture to “cook”
- When done, cover a tabletop with a newspaper or similar item and “spread out the ingredients.”
- Everyone uses a spoon to dig in and share this delicious “spread.”