Prison Pete

Sunday, June 19, 2005
I know many readers think there has been too much talk of food on this blog, but I thought I might give an update. I am not sure exactly what has been posted of late as far as the food and cooking goes so bear with me if some of this is redundant.

Unlike Club Fed, I do not have access to microwaves. A recent rule change by the New York Prison Department requires that all hot pots be made of clear plastic. If someone knows anything different than the following, please be sure to drop an email to the editor.

Currently there are two models of clear, five cup hot pots. One has a 300 watt element and will heat up to around 180 degrees. The second model has a 600 watt element and will heat up to 200 degrees. Both are made by the West Bend Company. (If any one knows of a clear hot pot that will boil, that would be great.)

While you may be able to use 200 degree water for hot beverages (coffee, tea and hot chocolate), and some instant soups, you should try cooking spaghetti in non-boiling water.

I had started out cooking a half a pound at a time but have moved down to around one third a pound. Since I am currently cooking for three people, I do cook the whole pound. I am working with two pots. One holds the sauce, the other makes three batches of pasta.

It takes twenty minutes once the water reaches the 200 degree mark to cook one batch of pasta. Yes that means to do the whole pound takes over one and a half hours. Lot of work for a bowl of pasta.

There are two basic meals I slow cook. The healthy and the not quite as healthy but better tasting.

The last three meals, one healthy and the other two were... you get the idea.

The first meal was a real spaghetti meal complete with a can of Del Monte Spaghetti Sauce and 8 ounces of chopped pepperoni.

This meal was followed by black beans and rice. That much would be fairly healthy. But why stop there? I rounded up a can of evaporated milk, and sacrificed three quarters of a pound of American cheese and made a cheese sauce.

One of the other two people that I cook for likes hot food, the other can not take any heat. This meal occurred on Saturday, my birthday and I was feeling ambitious. I ended up making two different bean mixes. One was just the onions, black beans and corn.

To the other pot I added 4 medium size jalapeño peppers. I like hot food, but this turned out really hot. We also had a bag of corn chips to go with the meal. Usually I would throw some chopped jalapeño peppers in the bowl after I was done cooking.

This time since I was doing two different pots I put the peppers in from the beginning while I cooked the onions. My "I-like-hot-food" friend did not even break into a sweat while eating the food, yours truly almost lost a quart of sweat, all of it on my forehead.

Today's meal went back to the basic healthy stuff. Spaghetti, with a can of tomato sauce and vegetarian beans. This is truly a low fat, high protein meal, but has no where near any the eating enjoyment (TASTE!) of the previous two meals!
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