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things that just are

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Watch Your Back, Martha
The prospect of a prison stay for homemaking guru Martha Stewart inspired much speculation, rarely serious, that Ms. Stewart would soon be cranking out domesticity tips for the penal environment. But a group of inmates at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla have beaten her to the punch, producing "The Convict Cookbook," including recipes for such dishes as Cell Block Fudge, Jail Mix or the Dope Fiend Sandwich, many of which can be cooked using nothing more than a radiator -- a critical consideration, since most prison cells lack cooking appliances. Some dishes, such as Blue Mountain Crabbies, don't require heat at all: simply throw the ingredients, including canned crab, crushed crackers, cream cheese and mayonnaise, into a plastic bag and hang the bag outside to chill (don't try this in the summer.) And Jailhouse Pizza, consisting of uncooked Top Ramen noodles smeared with pizza sauce, cheese spread, pepperoni and corn chips, probably wouldn't taste any better heated than cold.

The authors of "The Convict Cookbook," all of whom are near release, met in a community college class on adjusting to post-prison life and combined their talents for writing, illustration and culinary ingenuity. The book was paid for by private donations and will sell for $17 a copy at bookstores throughout Washington. The proceeds will go to the Children's Museum of Walla Walla, and some of the inmates' kids will get free passes to the museum. "We all agree that it would be 'a good thing' to provide other worthwhile activities for children [when visiting Walla Walla] besides seeing Dad," author/inmate Ricky Webb told the Associated Press. In case you missed the joke, "a good thing" is one of Ms. Stewart's catch-phrases.

From the WSJ Afternoon Report


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