The Absolute Worst in Prison Food

Ian-Fortey by Ian-Fortey on Jan. 03, 2014

Prison seems like a fascinating place if you watch Orange is the New Black or Oz.  Fascinating and awful, I guess.  But one thing every prison movie and show assures us of is that prison food is somewhat less than gourmet. 

Loaf

 

 

Nutraloaf is what happens when prison officials get a clever yet insidious idea.  Sure, prisoners are required to be properly fed with a diet that meets nutritional requirements, but how you achieve that goal is never specified in any particular rule or law.  That lack of specificity is where Nutraloaf comes in.  It can be anything – beans, rice, vegetables, meat, something called “dairy mixture,” all ground into a paste, and baked into a loaf. 

A food critic from a Chicago newspaper drove out to his nearest maximum security prison just to give it a try and was startled to discover just how bizarre a food it is.  It’s not that loaf tastes bad, or that it tastes weird, it’s that it doesn’t taste.  It’s a veritable stew of ingredients that prison cooks somehow bake into a log of nothing but texture.  Like the world’s most rubbery meatloaf, it has no taste of anything at all.  It’s just a thing to eat and give you calories, removing any potential joy from the act of eating at all.

So hated is Nutraloaf that it’s been accused of being “cruel and unusual punishment” in the past and lawyers have argued for it to be banished altogether.  Unfortunately, every prison has their own recipe and none are denying inmates the nutrition they need, so it’s a hard case to make.

Pruno

 

 

Not sanctioned in any way whatsoever, but vile in ways that is hard to understand, pruno is prison hooch.  It’s like moonshine, only more disgusting because you have to make it on the sly with limited ingredients.

So what goes into a batch of pruno?  Anything you can scavenge behind bars – apples, oranges,  milk, bread, ketchup, fruit cocktail, whatever.  You’re taking the most fundamental approach to booze making here which is sugar and yeast reacting as fruit (or ketchup, whatever) ferments.

A prisoner may use a trash bag and toss in some fruit cocktail they stole from dinner.  Bread provides the yeast.  Toss in some water and wait.  As the fruit ferments, a sock helps keep the fermented fruit stay separated from the liquid.  The taste has been described as vomit flavored win an you can pretty much guess why.

Creamed Chipped Beef

 

 

An institutional favorite, sometimes called shit on a shingle if it’s served with toast, creamed chipped beef is something like slime with chewy bits swimming in it.  Because it’s institutional grade, this stuff often comes dried in packages to be reconstituted on site.  Beef in a cream sauce should probably never be dried and reconstituted, but here we are.

If you’ve never had chipped beef, it’s basically the leftovers from making anything good with beef that you press together and partially dry to make new slabs of beef.  Hormel, makers of various processed foods including Spam, have described chipped beef as “an air-dried product that is similar to bresaola, but not as tasty.”  When the maker of Spam says it’s not tasty, you have an issue.

Lettuce and Tomato burger

 

 

Commit a crime north of the border and you may end up in a Toronto prison where you get to choose to eat off the vegan menu, because Canadians are progressive like that.  What kind of advanced menu do Canadian vegan felons get?  A leaf of lettuce and a slice of tomato on a burger bun.  Not sure how many days a week you have to eat this, but it’s literally the only vegan menu item I could find reference to, so you may have to eat this for your entire stay in prison.

If you’re not a vegan, you of course get the tasty alternative of eating a cheese sandwich, so that’s something.

Kongbap

 

 

Prisons in Korea took a page from the old school approach to prison management and provide prisoners with Kongbap, a mix of rice and beans that’s the rock bottom cheapest crap you can serve to someone.  In theory it doesn’t even sound that bad, rice and beans are a staple of cuisine all around the world, except that sometimes you end up with rocks in the rice and there’s literally nothing else included to spice it up, and you eat it three times a day potentially forever. 

144 comments
jeffalmighty
jeffalmighty User

American prisons are such a scam, they charge us a fortune to keep people in there and all their cronie friends get the money with their b.s prison contracts for goods or services that are junk.

Aaron-Baker-277
Aaron-Baker-277 User

People that call each other dog obviously eat like dogs too.

laptop31
laptop31 User

dont feed them artall

Jason-Bickford-782
Jason-Bickford-782 User

Pruno is nothing like Moonshine. Moonshine is distilled, pruno is not. Moonshine ABV can be as high as 95% but pruno is typically limited to 15% or so.

Aidan-Lacombe-226
Aidan-Lacombe-226 User

With all the grey laws coming to fruition these days the average person unknowingly commits felonies daily. Some are caught and others are oblivious to their own actions as being illegal. The system is being rewritten and revised daily to make everyday citizens in one way or the other a future criminal. Be careful what ya wish upon others, it can come full swing around for you. I understand there are bad career criminals without possible option to reform them from their own ways but many folks are framed by a corrupt system that is becoming a new age juggernaut for the corrupt elte to profit from everyday people with no intent to commit a crime against another person.

blakemoresimon
blakemoresimon User

prison food in the uk is nowhere near as bad as that. if you ask me there lucky to be given anything other than bread and water

Jeffery-Pix-712
Jeffery-Pix-712 User

come on, we know this isn't true

there are people that I  have seen on FB that have 'been' to a prison (on some tour or something like that)

they should know first hand then

they said it was like a country club and old folks homes are worse for food and health care!

pimpg
pimpg User

They are lucky they get a FN MEAL, in other jails and prisons sometimes they dont even eat. Break the law and you get to eat crap, DEAL WITH IT or stop breaking the law.

Matthew Laforest
Matthew Laforest

So all these people saying you get what you deserve. Do you realize how many innoc ent people are in jail? Do you not see how many people that are found innocent daily. Happens all the time.

Matthew Laforest
Matthew Laforest

Thats the best prison food folks. Thats pruno. Done right though it will look like water in the end.

puppetshow
puppetshow User

Boo whooo..........F-you prisoners!

Chrisvsod
Chrisvsod User

Prison in the U.S. is too comfy, Go look at other countries prisons.


Sunny Bains
Sunny Bains

All criminals must be shot why feeding the scum and wasting money??

Travis Franzen
Travis Franzen

in my view, if ya killed, raped, or abused somebody, you don't deserve a comfy punishment.

Harter Bulle
Harter Bulle

That's hooch that that guy has. They don't get steak but they get more than they allowed their victims to have.

Scott Bryant
Scott Bryant

well said lisa .. I think like myself would totally agree with u.. :-)

Pat IndaHat
Pat IndaHat

No matter what the crime my brothers and sisters there are. Other ways to punish criminals !

jamessavik
jamessavik User

if you are a nuisance to this goverenment, you two could end up in prison on BS charges.

David Chapman
David Chapman

Mick not to bright are you. everything i said is fact try reading a book hillbilly

Corinna Eaton
Corinna Eaton

Well, they get 3 meals a day. That's more than some of our military get, so boo--freaking--hoo. Heck that's more than a lot of low income kids get too.

Nick MacManus
Nick MacManus

Shit on a shingle is bomb ass grub! Hey, and what about a Slam!? That's grubbin too!

Zachary Heck
Zachary Heck

Good they deserve it! I wish our country would give them that shit instead of actually cooked meals. We'd save a lot of money! But no, we have to take care of murderers, rapists, psychopaths and other criminals.

Lisa Sheline
Lisa Sheline

They didnt sentence you to Holiday Inn......its prison. In my opinion, you are lucky to have 3 meals a day and a bed to lay on.You can eat your own shit for all I care. We pay to keep you living, and honestly some of you should of been hung. People in the real world are working their ass off for all you losers.....and dont have it as good as those in prison. Our system is so f

Lin Robinson
Lin Robinson

Hey, I like creamed chipped beef. I didn't find food in the California state prison system particularly bad. Better than our high school cafeteria. It is interesting how the legal nutrion requirements can be met, though. I pissed off the guards while I was in solitary and they just ran my chow tray through a meat grinder. Loses a little character. The guard slang for it is "dog food".

Keith Denig
Keith Denig

Eat up law breakers. Bubba no like skinny dudes

David Chapman
David Chapman

you might not care about fellow humans, You probably care about money though. The prison industrial complex cost 74 billion a year. 52 percent of inmates return to prison this way is not working. a prison in NJ has a 85 percent rehabilitation, drug abuse therapy, teaching inmates a trade to find a job after incarceration, and relocation for area where they committed the crime, but that does not line the pockets of the rich who have government contracts at these prisons paid by the tax payers money

David Chapman
David Chapman

the prison industrial complex is a vile monster used to line the pockets of cooperation and elected officials instead of rehabilitation. America incarcerates more people per Capita then any other nation. why because its a money machine and we are paying for it.

Nick-Howe Gets-all The-cats
Nick-Howe Gets-all The-cats

It can't just be isolated exceptions when 10% of prisoners are those who actually hurt people (based on types of theft/cons and homicide statistics in 2012)

Anna M Olvera
Anna M Olvera

Again the law is the law regardless of whether you agree with it or not.....

Anna M Olvera
Anna M Olvera

@ Nick Howe I highly doubt the majority of prisoners are harmless kids who smoked pot. Puh-lease.... Lol

Nick-Howe Gets-all The-cats
Nick-Howe Gets-all The-cats

The justice system fails a lot of people, my friend went to prison for assault defending a girl who was getting raped, the rapist didn't even get charged. either way prisoners should be provided with a basic level of nutrition, but try looking at it from a few other angels.

Nick-Howe Gets-all The-cats
Nick-Howe Gets-all The-cats

What if I punched a man who was raping a ladies and couldn't evade the assault charges? It's more common than the prosecution of murders ya know.

Will-Stewart-686
Will-Stewart-686 User

Because, as we all know, the only crimes people get imprisoned for are the violent crimes. The white collar criminals and people in trouble for drug offenses (which accounts for most people in American prisons) all get sentenced to a secret Club Med, where they laugh and sing and play golf and tennis and eat gourmet pizza and filet mignon.