Recipe: Jailhouse sous-vide pasta and toilet broccoli
The major obstacle to cooking in prison is not a lack of food: the kitchen was the scene of a daily heist that went on under the guards’ noses, silently and profitably for the inmates who were in on it. Bags of 50 hot dogs cost two packs of cigarettes each, and a 5lb block of cheese was only one. It was your problem if you got caught with it, but the price was right.
No, the big obstacle, if all you had was a cheap hot pot/stinger and a plastic spoon, was gear. And the solution was in the garbage.
Every trash can had a plastic bag, and underneath it was a clean one ready for replacement. Beginners had to dive in and under to snatch out the extra before the guards noticed, but Rusty had friends who were garbagemen who supplied him with full rolls. He had the bags; I had dry spaghetti, canned tomato sauce, a stick of pepperoni, and a broken hot pot. He took the ingredients, and half an hour later handed half of them back in the form of a hot, greasy red bowl of delicious.