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One Inmate's Perspective on Cooking in Prison

Uncle Paulie slices garlic for a prison feast in Goodfellas | Image: Warner Bros.

When one thinks of inmates cooking in prison, an image that often comes to mind is the scene in Scorsese's Goodfellas, in which the gang on the inside gathers to cook a large, delicious meal complete with wine, Italian bread and the works.

But obviously, no one eats well in prison besides the "VIP" inmates. What's the experience of most? Esquire makes a list of eight from a detailed feature article in Thrillist, written by former inmate Daniel Genis, who gives us the nitty gritty. With the emphasis on gritty: 

1. The most common food inmates eat in prison is instant ramen, which is called "crackhead soup" because it's the cheapest thing you can buy in the commissary at 10 cents a pack. Turns out prison isn't all that different from college.

2. It's not like prison cells come equipped with a stove, though, so in order to cook the ramen, inmates rely on a little trick called "the stinger." To make one, all you need is cold water from the tap, an electrical outlet, nail clippers, a power cord, and "the courage to drop a live wire into a cup of water."

Read more of Genis' anecdotes about correctional institution cuisine here | Feature article in Thrillist

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