|Dinner in Haiti|
|Spicy grits in Port au Prince. Can you say, "Yum!"??|
|Lunch: As in a lot of places around the world, this is the main meal of the day in Haiti.|
Sound familiar? I had packed the prison commissary.
My experience with these foods mirrored the stories that women told to me about their days and nights eating in their prison cells. At first, these snacks are kind of fun. Skittles and peanut butter offered a welcome taste of home. But after a few days, cold tuna on crackers gets old. Very old. Without any prompting from me, the folks in my Haitian travel group began to engage in the same food-related activities that my study participants had described. Asking each other, "What have you got? Want to trade?" Experimenting with different combinations, mixing the food in an effort to make them more palatable. After several days of this, none of us wanted to ever eat granola or peanut butter again. Imagine 18 months. Imagine 5 years.
When I got back from my trip, I received a copy of a prison cookbook written by women incarcerated in the CA system called, Stinging for Their Suppers: How Women in Prison Nourish Their Bodies and Souls. Pity I didn't have this resource when we were in Gonaives. Did you know you can make lemon pie with graham crackers, Sprite, and non-dairy creamer? Written as a collaboration between faculty at the Claremont Colleges, an LA community-based organization, and formerly incarcerated women, this lovely cookbook provides dozens of creative recipes that highlight the ingredients for survival and joy in the face of hardship. Worth reading to catch a glimpse of prison life and also learn some creative cooking ideas - you never know when it might be just you and a box of crackers.