Unique Eats: Prison Style!!!

Georgia and I enjoy watching Cooking Channel and a show on that station we like to watch is called Unique Eats.  So I had Dr. Jobalia write up this article about Unique Eats-Prison Style.  Hope you enjoy!!!


Necessity is the mother of invention.  Nowhere else brings that phrase to life like prison.  The woeful lack of resources spurs a plethora of modifications on our favorite treats.  The desire for some happiness we all link to food creates a powerful creative force.  I really had no idea that so many different foods could be made without any kitchen utensils, small appliances, ovens, etc… Let’s dig in on what several prison inmates do to make these treats!!!

Ice cream (no cream or sugar allowed).  A special and time tested combination of non-dairy powdered creamer, powdered milk, jelly (the kind of packets sitting at your table at IHOP) and water form the base.  That alone creates a great flavor.  Bananas, cocoa powder, peanut butter all can contribute, if desired.  Place the mixture into several cleaned out peanut butter jars and bury in a mop bucket filled with salted ice (who knew inmates were familiar with the scientific concept of freezing point depression?!?).  Several hours later, a frozen treat emerges.  Mmmmm.

The non-dairy powdered creamer forms the basis of many treats: taffy, fudge, “cheese” cake, etc…  With varying amounts of other ingredients and water, a smorgasbord of happiness finds its way to the inmate’s awaiting taste buds.  Personally, I’ve made taffy using Kool-aid flavor packets, creamer, and just the right amount of water to achieve a perfect texture.  Knead for a bit.  Roll into a log and cut to size. 

Fudge contains similar ingredients, substituting cocoa powder and/or peanut butter for the kook-aid.  Of special note, the prison rules strictly prohibit possession of real sugar or too much jelly.  Why?  You guessed it!!!  Those can be fermented to make “hooch”, as the inmates have designated it. 

Imagine fully operational skills in the cells, utilizing a “stinger” to heat the liquid.  A “stinger” consists of two pieces of bed spring each attached to an inert rod (like a tooth brush handle) on one end and the other ends are attached to the wires of a plug.  When plugged in (only AFTER being placed in a bucket of water) it heats the liquid.  AMAZING!!!

Another “cooking” staple is 205 degree water.  The prison provides it for the instant coffee.  Put in in a plastic bowl and make instant rice (in a bag put into the hot water).  Or lay the water on top of pizza in a bag, of course, to melt the cheese.  Now, pizza.  HOW?  The crust consists of moistened tortillas melded together.  The toppings and cheese go on top and it all comes together when heated using the super hot water!!!  Burritos or wraps can be heated the same way.  Truly ingenious use of water at 205 degrees F.

Creativity and ingenuity abound, delivering delicious treats!!!!!

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