Walks’ Footpan Foodz

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

Hello, my tastebud buddies! I’m gonna start out with a quick explanation of what creative prison cuisine is all about. Now, I’ve been in prison for over 37 years and let me tell ya, prison food is not exactly tasty, nutritious or sufficient to fill empty bellies. But I like to eat so much so that Booger and I have developed a plethora of recipes that can be made with only the food items available in 98% of the prison commissaries in the federal system, at 30% markup over retail, of course. They are also available in one brand or another in most any store out there too. (Disclaimer: Also not necessarily nutritious or healthy.)

These recipes are pretty inexpensive since I ain’t never been rich, but I’ve always been hungry, so they are all taste tested time and time again, and of course, “Booger” approved! Now I have recipes for several meal categories from the lockdown dinners for when you can’t get to a microwave, to the microwave extravaganzas that are sure to have everyone going, “Man, this is gooood!”

First, let me take you thru one that I just so happen to have the taste of in my mouth right now, cuz I just smashed one down the gullet for lunch, and for desert, you guessed it, another one. So folks, buckle up, open wide and prepare to be amazed.

I wish I had a Pizza Pepperoni Pizza Burritos

You will need:

1 pack of sliced pepperoni

1 bag of cheesy flavored rice (instant)

1 jar of mixed hot peppers in oil

Some Italian spice

Some minced (dried) garlic

Some minced (dried) onion

One 8 oz tub of cheese spread

2 crackhead soups (Top Ramen)

One pack of flour tortillas


Now, take the pepperoni, and slice them into quarters with a flimsy plastic knife (or a real one if you’re that fortunate). Personally, I prefer the side-sanded prison identification card for a perfect cutter/chopper, but you get the point.

Take the pepperoni after they have all been quartered and toss ‘em in a bowl, the bigger the better.

Then take the 2 soups and slam them on the floor repeatedly till they are crushed into small little bitty noodles. Into the bowl you toss em.

Then the rice, bite the bag to rip it open, pour it in the bowl.

Now it gets tricky, take a cap of Italian seasoning, into the bowl, half cap minced garlic, into the bowl, and a cap of minced onion, also into the bowl.

Open the tub of cheese, into the bowl.

Take the peppers, drain 98.375% of the oil (just kidding, just drain the dang stuff out) and put the peppers into the bowl as well.

Now it gets fun. Turn on the hot water till it’s smokin hot, then add some to the bowl till you have covered the rice and noodles.

Stir till everything is mixed up really good, now let it sit for 15 minutes for all the deliciousness to seep together.

OK, now the cooking part comes in (or not, it will soak to deliciousness without cooking, but its better if ya cook it in the microwave.) So you put it in the microwave for 8 minutes. That will nuke the monkey mess out of it.

Then you take the flour tortillas and spoon liberal amounts of the concoction into them, then burrito roll them up and “presto magico” you have a delicious almost pizza pepperoni pizza burrito. These things are so good they will make ya wanna bite your own tongue off looking for another bite.

This easily makes 8-10 burritos and you can leave them out overnight, and re-heat them the next day, like I’m gonna do with one right after I get out of the shower. Smile!

OK, a warning, if you see a scroungy little black dog anywhere in the area where you have these burritos, better keep a close eye on them cuz Booger loves ‘em and he will think nothing of climbing up onto your counter and snatching one and running off to eat it. But really, these things are delicious. Enjoy…

Oh, I forgot to tell you and inquiring minds want to know… a foot pan is this plastic thing we can get from medical to soak our feet in. duh! Yes, I know, it isn’t meant to go in a microwave, and that can be hazardous to your health… but what isn’t around here? We can purchase microwave safe bowls from the commissary, but when cooking up a big batch, the foot pan gets the job done.

Pirate’s Peanut Butter Sandwich

OK, I’m crazy, or just a tad bit warped, but that has never really been a question. What is a question is some of my eating habits, and or combinations of foods that I love. Now this is a little something that necessity brought to me and I’ve been eating them ever since, in fact, I won’t even eat just a choke sandwich (straight peanut butter) anymore! “Oh No!” I’m spoiled! If it ain’t a pirate sandwich I won’t bother.

Here’s the skinny. You get a couple pieces of bread (generally liberated from the chow hall) and you take the peanut butter and put a goodly amount on both pieces of bread, not so much that its gonna squish out when you bite it and land on you, but enough to know you’re eating and to not be hungry after you do. Then, and here’s the secret that makes it a “pirate,” you take a slice of cheese, put it on the sandwich, press it together with the peanut butter, and you’re ready to eat a delectable tasty treat!  

I can personally attest to the consumption over the many years that I’ve been making them of hundreds of these, and here’s another tip. Get you some regular potato chips to go with it, preferably the rippley kind. Man, a bite of sandwich, a couple chips in there with it and munch em all together, this is the bomb! Smile. And since I’m so good at already explaining what it takes to pull this munch fest off, I won’t add some lame “what you will need ” section, cuz if you ain’t got it figured out by now, well, it ain’t gonna matter. Smile. So Bon Appetite! and I know you’ll like it after all. It may sound weird but you like those little cheesy peanut butter crackers don’t ya? Well, there it is, the “AHa” moment. I especially like giving ‘em to Booger. It’s funny to watch him with his mouth all stuck together…

Shepherd’s Pie & Fisherman’s Pie

Wow, just the thought of these dishes makes me hungry but let me be clear, I make them both the same way in here but they have very different and unique tastes that are so good you will wanna slap your hand away from the last bite, because it’s (of course) the last bite.

Anyway, this all goes back to 1974, in Florida, in an apartment in the Cannon Point Complex, in Ft. Lauderdale, just down the street from Inveraray (a very expensive and trendy place to live). My mom was in the kitchen putting all this stuff together in a casserole dish and I was kinda just keeping an eye on the whole situation. At 14, I was too cool to want to hang out with my mom in the kitchen, but I was also too hungry not to. Then to my surprise Mom took some instant mashed potatoes and topped the dish with it. I was like, “Mom! That looks terrible!” She said, “Baby, just you wait to taste this!”

Man, that dish was SOOO good, and I never forgot the taste. So fast forward to a couple years ago, I was making a bowl of food not thinking anything of it, until I got it out of the microwave and tasted it. In an instant I was transported back in time to that moment in my mom’s kitchen…and Shepherd’s Pie has been a part of my diet in here since I re-discovered it.  I promise you will like it too, and if you don’t then feel free to mail it to me. I’ve got a place for it. smile.

You will need:

1 bag 4 cheese instant mashed potatoes

1 crackhead soup (Top Ramen)

either 1 pack of yellow-fin tuna steak or 1 pack of shredded beef. (this will determine the name and taste of the dish, either Fisherman’s Pie or Shepard’s Pie.)

some minced garlic,

some minced onion

and 1/3 jar of mixed peppers

the peppers can be substituted with dried vegetable flakes, but  isn’t nearly as good when you do, just something about those peppers that I love.

so you take the soup, crush it up, put it in the bowl, take the tuna pack squish it up kinda sorta, then into the bowl, also with the garlic, and peppers or veggie flakes, add a little water and then pour in half a bag, roughly an ounce and a half of the mashed potatoes, stir in a little more water so it’s all like gooey and kinda runny, but not watery. Take it to the microwave. Now here’s the magic secret touch that will turn this bowl up to yummy!!

Put your low wattage microwave on 8:00 minutes, let it run all the way out, and then stir it all together. A lot of the time is for it to cook down to a thicker consistency and also to meld the flavors together, it’s important to cook the heck out of it, so if you got a higher wattage microwave, 6 minutes will do it, so at least that. Now it’s ready and to make it enough for 2 just double the ingredients.

I promise you, it will be really, really good and I love food. If you have seen pictures of me you will see that I am in very good shape. Round is a shape. Smile. Okee dokee, this one is gaur-on-teed to be repeated and I really like both varieties. The fisherman’s is just as good as the shepherd’s version. Ok, enjoy, and if you’re like me, turn the lights out, close your eyes and savor the taste, as well as the memories of much simpler times…

© Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher, 2021

Published by Sings Many Songs

I'm an 80-something child of the great depression and WWII. Throughout my life I have been a seeker, an outsider, never quite belonging anywhere, still always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. A lifelong student with many interests and a love of writing and editing, my elder's path led to encouraging and assisting some remarkable people to write out their amazing stories. This calling became the magic elixir that keeps me growing, keeps me alive.

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