Alpha Male Ryan: Dining behind bars.

Do you like fine food? Then don't head off to prison, Alpha Male Ryan says. (Photo by Alpha Male Ryan).

Do you like eating really good food?
Then I have some advice for you: don’t go to prison. You won’t like what’s on the menu.
On my first day in prison, in June 2010, my first meal was hot dogs, baked beans, a little bit of what they called macaroni and cheese — only it wasn’t macaroni and cheese — and a little bit of relish. It was always in the slot in the tray where the plastic knife was, and I always spilled it on myself.
One night a week, you got a chicken leg. That was considered by some to be the most loved meal, because if you didn’t want it, you could sell it to other inmates and make money. There was always somebody who wanted a chicken leg.
The inmates were always doing push ups and sit ups, and they thought chicken would help them get big. What they didn’t know is the state was regulating their protein intake so they couldn’t put on muscle. They were regulating their diet to make it harder to grow muscle, and limiting access to weights.
Instead, you could buy tuna at the prison canteen. It was $1.81 for one pack of tuna, and it had 27 grams in it. So you figure the average male trying to put on muscle needed to consume 2 ½ pounds of protein for their desired body weight, if you’re looking to gain muscle and put on weight.
The prison had other ideas.
By giving us soy protein and vegetables, they fed you what we called dog food. It was TVP, Textured Vegetable Protein. It was hard to sustain and build relevant quality muscle eating that.
The way they seasoned it, TVP is rather tasteless. It’s the way you cook it, and they don’t cook it well in prison. There were inmates who said that TVP was one of the ingredients they used in making dog food. ”TVP is used in dog food.” That’s just what they said.
Sometimes you’d have ground-up TVP with tomato sauce. They called it a Sloppy Joe.
You pretty much had some sort of TVP in every meal you ate. You get a TVP patty one day, and another TVP patty with some seasoning and some pepper in it the next day, then TVP mushed up and called spaghetti. When you had a Sloppy Joe, the next day you always had spaghetti because they used the leftovers from the day before to make it.
I was always disgusted at the prison kitchen. I don’t see how it ever passed inspection, with all the stuff in there. It’s not very “clean” in there, let’s put it that way.
There were rumors at times that inmates were messing with the food – ‘Oh, don’t eat the food tonight, so-and-so said he’d get back at someone by messing with it.’
Even for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the food was nothing too special — a turkey slice with gravy, maybe a sweet potato casserole. It was supposed to be a dessert, but it ain’t no good. It was from the potatoes we grew out there in the fields near the prison.
Mind you, I did get a sort of satisfaction eating the potatoes I grew out there on the farm. We ate all sorts of things we grew — almost all of the vegetables we ate in the chow hall come from there.
You could also buy food at the prison canteen, but you had to spend money for overpriced s**t. They knew you couldn’t get it anywhere else, so they jacked up the price for everything. It opened up an underground market for items that could be obtained for a fee – cigarettes, dip, and so on. When they removed cigarettes at canteen, people stocked up on them. What they did was buy all the cigarettes they could with the money they saved up that their family sent them, and when the cigarettes left the prison, you had packs selling for $50.
You take $50 per pack at 100 packs. Do the math on that.
Every so often the prison would raise prices on everything. A Roman Noodle soup tin was 50 cents at canteen. Those tins cost 15 cents outside. They were doing the same thing to us that we did to get in there – highway robbery. They know the family would be sending the inmates money, so why would you hurt their family by pricing it like that?
At least we had vodka with our dinner.
You think I’m joking?
You’d be suprirsed what the guards brought in. Everybody has a price, especially in the Department of Corrections. I’m convinced half of those guards became criminals working in prison, even if they were good, honest people before they started working there.
Everybody comes out of prison a criminal in some way.

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