Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook isn’t your average cookbook. Rather than gourmet spreads and fresh produce, you’ll find meals concocted out of tinned and packaged products. Hip-hop duo Mobb Deep’s Albert ‘Prodigy’ Johnson served three years in prison, and during that time he tried to keep as healthy as possible… but the US prison system made such aspirations pretty damn difficult. Commissary Kitchen provides readers an insight into the realities of prison life, and how Prodigy made the best of the food situation behind bars.
Meals like ‘P’s Clean Hands Sweet Potato Pie’ and ‘P’s Don’t Try This At Home Prison Surprise’ (an inventive combination of ramen noodles, Doritos, tinned mackerel, and hot sauce) show that you can pretty much make a meal out of anything, but also reveals the limited access prison inmates have to healthy food. Prodigy relates in an interview with Billboard, “The three meals they serve inmates every day is like slop. There’s glass and all sorts of crazy stuff in the food,” and that in an attempt to consume some sort of nutrients “my family would send me 30, 35 pounds of canned green vegetables every month”.
The cookbook is informative and speaks to anyone who wants to get crafty in their cooking with limited ingredients (hello students), but is also about making changes to prison conditions. Prodigy hopes the cookbook will shed light on the grim nature of prison life, and lead to reforms.
You can purchase Prodigy’s prison cookbook here.
- Words: Maki Morita