Learning to Cook – Feb 17, 2015

A couple of months ago, I talked about Cooking in Prison.  While I was at CP (Central Prison), I cooked with a guy and it was terrible.  I wanted to throw up.  I threw it away after 2 bites.  Since I have been at Marion Correctional, I have seen everything.  A lot of different combinations of stuff you can buy at the Canteen (Jail Store).  Most of it isn’t healthy at all.  Every once in a while, however, you need to get something or cook something, because lunch or dinner is just not good.  Some people don’t go to Chow at all. They just cook.  You can cook for pretty cheap.

There is this one guy in my block who loves to cook.  The other night, he said, “Hey Ed, you want to cook?” I said “Sure!”  So what you do is you split the ingredients evenly by # of items and money.  I paid $3.25 and he paid about the same within a few cents.  We cooked a “Swoll”.  It sounds gross, but the way Buck cooks, it is amazing.  I am going to put a recipe in this blog as well.  You can try it at home.  We spent $7.00 and it ended up feeding 7 people.  Everyone was full and happy!  They call them “Swolls” because they swell up in the bag. Close custody prisons don’t have microwaves.

One thing we do have is near boiling water.  It is an attachment onto our water fountains. The water is super hot, and almost boiling.  They sell cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, meatball subs, Philly Cheesesteaks, beef stew and Chili with Beans at the Canteen.  All of these are heated up by putting them in an unused trash bag, hot water, and closing the bag.  You keep the items in the sealed package.  Warms up real good.  It is amazing.  Now the great thing about a “Swoll” is there are many different things people put in their “Swolls” but Ramen noodle is a must have, or it isn’t a “Swoll”.

List of Ingredients (* = required)

* Ramen noodle (Chili, Beef, or Spicy)
* Rice and beans dry mix; or
* Chili (wet) with beans    (one of the above two is required)
– Squeeze cheese (aka Cheese Whiz)
– Pasta sauce (marinara)
– Summer sausage
– Pickle
– Cheese crackers
– Tuna
– Canned/bag fish (mackeral, fish steaks, etc.)
– Mayo
– Mustard
– Ketchup
– Tortilla wraps
– Onions
– Green peppers
– Block of cheese
– Pulled pork
– Chicken
– Bacon

The “Swoll” is the most popular, but there are other things people cook, such as: Pizza, Burritos, State Cakes, Enchiladas, Nachos, and simple tuna salad.  Nachos are real easy.  Doritos, wet chili, and Cheese Whiz.  I have seen some very complex enchiladas and nachos however.  I an going to put a “recipe” for Buck’s Swoll in a blog.  Try it out!  Measurements will be approximate because we don’t have measuring cups.  Haha!


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