Prison Food: Alcatraz

A short break from my standard post, for something a little darker…
After a far too long stint on my bucket list, I finally made
it out to The Rock! It was just as you might imagine, equal parts fascinating
and disturbing. We did the audio tour with voices of prisoners and guards
leading you with sound effects of prison life as you move through the space, which I highly recommend. Morbid stories of solitary confinement, escape and murder were offset a tiny bit, at
least in my mind, by some surprising tidbits about the kitchen!
Apparently, this place that locked up some of the worst criminals in the country served them up some of the best food in the entire prison system! The guards quickly learned that with mealtime being the most dangerous scenario – convicts all together wielding silverware and bad food being the number one reason to riot – they better serve to please. They hit all the major food groups in their dinners: soup, veggies, a starch, meat, AND they didn’t skimp on dessert! They also set this food rule, which I love: Take all you want, eat all you take.
Knife Lock Box: Complete with outlines of each to quickly determine if any are missing… Chills.
Equipment: What the prisoners used to cook for their fellow inmates, supervised.
This of course made me think about one of my all time favorite ways to peek inside a person’s soul, the admittedly dark question: What’s your death row meal? It may seem like a simple question of favorites, but it’s much more complex. If you were faced with one last chance to enjoy the simple pleasures this world has to offer, what is the one dish that would make your daunting fate a little more acceptable? Is it the best thing you’ve ever tried or something mom used to make you as a child? Something that shocked you or something that comforts you? Something you can’t live without or something you’ve always wanted to try?
I’ve shared mine here before: a perfect Quiche Lorraine. I saw Anthony Bourdain share his at a talk in Santa Rosa: bone marrow on toast.
Now you’ve had a peek into both of our souls. Share yours?


I’m a good cook and a better baker but my borderline unhealthy obsession with dining out tends to keep me out of the kitchen. I absolutely love discovering new restaurants and devouring all the best they have to offer. Here I’ll share my best finds and hopefully hear yours, all in an effort to add to my ever-expanding-and-contracting culinary bucket list.