“Spread” is a general term for ramen + whatever the fuck else (usually other junk foods from the commissary) cooked with hot water in a trash or ziplock bag. I figured I should explain that straight away because people react to the term "prison spread" with varying degrees of apprehension whenever I bring it up. Microwaving may be involved depending on the prison and the prisoner’s level of privilege. Apparently it’s very popular and it’s easy to make enough to share with cellmates. This is my second foray into prison food. I’ve been looking into prison food recipes a lot lately because they're so easy and inexpensive. You know what I noticed? Prison snacks tend to display creativity, whereas dorm food tends to display laziness.
That’s a bit telling, isn’t it? Meditate on that the next time you’re writing yet another unappreciated screenplay/short story/ sonnet/ song about two Williamsburg twenty-somethings trying to come to grips with their feelings of mutual attraction while being faced with with the soul-crushing ennui caused by living in a world where consumer culture is so prevalent and poisonous that the only way to rebel against it is to ravenously indulge in very worst and most tasteless parts of it and look down on others who do so without irony. Please do so for twice as long if there’s also a subplot about one or more characters reconciling with rich parents that never understood them. You know, the one you have that’s totally going to blow people’s minds and open their eyes to the corporate dystopia and social stagnation that only you were special enough to notice? (I’m VERY happy to be done with college. Can you tell?)
*Ahem* Yeah, so prison spread…
A can of tuna
Total cost: $1 - $10
Ok, I know I said that this is usually done in a trash or chip bag but frankly I just don’t want to. I’m cheating and using tupperware. This is my reward for not being too big a nuisance to rich, white people. Anyway, start by breaking up the ramen in the bag. Dump it into the bag or container and set aside the seasoning packet. Now, add your can of undrained tuna.
You can either add pretzels to it as it is, or you eat the spread on them. Hell, do both if you want. I think I’ll use them for dipping though.
Add just enough hot water to cover it, seal up the bag or container and let it sit for about 2 minutes, more if you want softer noodles. While that cooks, heat up your nacho cheese in microwave, if available. Once the spread is done cooking, drain carefully drain off about half of the excess water (or don’t, it’s up to you) and add the cheese and seasoning packet. Top with hot sauce and mix it up.
Awesome. It’s like the best chip dip ever. It’s a spicy cheese dip with soft pasta and meat after all. Like the slim jim surprise, it’s ridiculously filling works well as a comfort food. You know what? I see no reason why this should be kept in the domain of prison. Set this shit out at a party next to a big bowl or pretzels or tortillas chips. Yeah, it’s not fine dining but, if anyone complains, just invite them to read what goes into pate sometime. There are a ton of ways to make this too. Add whatever you want. Mayo, popcorn, jalapenos, veggies, etc. There’s no one recipe for spread, it seems like ramen is the only consistent ingredient. For the sake of authenticity, stick with stuff you can get in prison, barring things like toilet sangria…unless you’re over 21 of course. Stay queer!