[by NYS prison inmate Jon Fontaine, who is in the Monroe County Jail awaiting a hearing, after being transferred from Mid-State Correctional Facility.]
They call it Gumbo. It looks like slop in a garbage bag, which, basically it is.
Inmates in the Monroe County Jail will pool their food to “cook” together each night.
They start with a garbage bag. That’s their cooking pot, casserole dish and serving tray.
They’ll break up a few Ramen soups and toss them in the bag, and then add a couple of packs of cheese crackers, or maybe a few small bags of Doritos. Someone will break up a dill pickle, which comes individually in a pouch, and then someone else will break up a greasy summer sausage. Into the bag they go.
They’ll scoop Jalapeno cheese out of a small, chip-dip sized tub, and then sprinkle in all of the seasoning packets from the Ramen soups.
Then, they shake the bag; mix it all up before adding a teaspoon of warm tap water. They tie the trash bag and wrap it in a bath towel to keep it warm.
A half-hour or so later, when everything has softened and expanded, the “Gumbo” is ready to serve.
A half-dozen bowls are set out. An inmate tears off a corner of the bag, turning it into what looks like a giant cake icing bag. The inmate squirts the Gumbo into each bowl in equal proportions, and then the inmates enjoy their meal, which has eight times the daily limit of sodium and four times the daily limit of saturated fat.
This is an overpriced heart attack in a bag.
In jail and prison, inmates can buy food, cosmetics, writing supplies and a few other items off commissary. There’s no healthy food on jail commissary. It’s all cookies, cakes, chips, candy and Ramen soups. Everything is overpriced. A 10-pack of Ramen soup at a retail store is $1. Here, that’s the price for just a single soup.
It’s a captive audience, so commissary companies can charge outrageous prices. The sad thing is most inmates’ loved ones are poverty stricken and they’re the ones getting gouged by multi-million dollar companies to buy soap, deodorant and toothpaste for their loved ones.
Hey commissary companies – How about some dehydrated blueberries, or apple chips, or trail mix? Then, we could make “fruit salad” in a bag.
Also published on Medium.