ORLEANS PARISH PRISON COOKING METHOD
All fire is banned from most OPP dwellings. Only one part of OPP allows smoking, Conchetta. Everyone who smokes, and that’s lots and lots of prisoners, wants to be in Conchetta. The OPP tents used to allow smoking until a number of incidents ended that practice.
All cooking fires are verboten also. This method heats up already cooked food, melts cheese. When this method was utilized, a spaghetti and meat sauce lunch was reheated with cheese added, vegetables from lunch were also heated up with the addition of cheese.
You take three small milk cartons from breakfast and wash them out and open the tops completely. Take the bottoms out of two cartons and stack the cartons together vertically. When burned, waxed milk cartons don’t produce much smoke. Place the stacked cartons on the linoleum floor.
You need two or three 12 by 24 pieces of heavy aluminum foil obtained from the serving prisoners. This foil is used to cover the big serving pans before the food is served. Join the pieces of foil together by folding the long edges together several times. Place the spaghetti in the center and place the cheese on top. Put the vegetables next to the spaghetti and add more cheese. Fold foil over the food, and join the foil together. Take the ends of the foil and make handles on each end to hold the food over the flame.
Hang a blanket between two bunks to hide the fire. Light the milk cartons when the coast is clear. Three cartons stay lit for about 10 minutes. They don’t get too hot, which is good, but hot enough to heat the food and melt the cheese. As they burn they produce partially lit ashes which float up in the air, making a very striking sight. I’m told the whole image of the burning cartons and the ashes is quite surreal.
Naturally, the cartons burn an ugly black mark on the linoleum floor. The floor has dozens and dozens of burn marks from other cooking sessions. This is a time honored tradition that will never end.