June 13, 2005

Steve, Don't Eat It! Vol. 8

Prison Wine

I'm simply not cut out for jail. Where I really shine is watching Tivo on a couch. As soon as you need me to survive a sharpened-spoon attack, (or even a regular spoon attack)-- I'm just not your guy.

Nevertheless, if I do ever end up in the big house, there's a chance I'll make it out alive as the prison brewmeister. I know this for I have read the 1994 book "You Are Going To Prison" by Jim Hogshire. (Well, I actually only skimmed through the book, so I'll probably be dead in a day and a half.)

The following book excerpt contains the prison wine recipe...

"Prison hooch can be made in your cell toilet (as long as you don't mind using other people's toilets or finding some other solution), or more often, in plastic trash bags. The recipe is simple: make a strong bag by double or triple-bagging some plastic trash bags and knotting the bottoms. Into this, pour warm water, some fruit or fruit juice, raisins or tomatoes, yeast, and as much sugar as you can get ahold of (or powdered drink mix). Now tie off the top of the bag, letting a tube of some kind protrude so the thing won't explode while it gives off carbon dioxide. Now hide the bag somewhere and wait at least three days. A week is enough.

One of the problems you have right away with making wine in prison is the difficulty getting yeast. It's a strictly forbidden item and you might not be able to get any. In this case you can improvise the by using slices of bread, preferably moldy (but not dry) and preferably inside a sock for easier straining.

If you choose to brew your wine in your cell, you'll need to hide it behind your bunk and do what you can to hide the smell. Burning cinnamon as incense is one way. Spraying deodorant around is another. Normal wine takes at least a month if not six weeks to make at all properly -- but in hell, this is all you get."

With that, I give you the longest, scrolliest, bandwidth destroyingest Steve, Don't Eat It to date. Phooey on you sobriety! I'm makin' some hooch!

I gave serious thought to whether the straining sock should be clean or not. I came to the conclusion that it shouldn't. In the spirit of Steve, Don't Eat It, I need to take it to the extreme! Plus, I was already wearing dirty socks and my clean ones were in the bedroom, like 20 feet away.

Here are all the ingredients necessary. I thought it would be nice to make both red and white prison wine to match well with whatever dishes the prison chef might prepare. I'm sure Martha Stewart did the same if/when she brewed this stuff in her cell toilet. But she probably used a clean sock, being as she's fancy.

Getting slightly moldy bread proved to be more difficult than I expected. I bought the cheapest white bread I could find and waited for it to go green. I swear to God it stayed good for a month.

Whenever I WANT bread in my house, it's moldy. Now that I actually needed it to happen, it wouldn't. Luckily, I discovered an old green hot dog bun in a bag on top of the fridge and put that in with the bread to teach it the ways of the mold. In this way, the green bun was Yoda. It worked perfectly. And it didn't even sound suspiciously like Grover.

It was finally time to begin the brewing process. I reflected on the artisans around the world who've dedicated their lives to the craft of winemaking, as I lovingly shoved moldy bread in my socks.

I decided to break up the two wine recipes thusly...

The Red Prison Wine (pictured above) would be made with red grape juice, tomatoes, raisins, sugar, the dirty sock filled with moldy bread, and one packet of yeast. (I thought it would be interesting to add yeast to one batch and not the other, and compare the results.)

As stated in the book, yeast is definitely contraband, but for the sake of this culinary experiment we'll just assume I gave the prison baker a hand-job.

But then the guy wouldn't give me the yeast! SO I STABBED HIM WITH A PEN IN THE EYE AND TOOK IT! And I was all, "DON'T FUCK WITH STEVE!"

Yes. This is what we should assume.

As for the White Prison Wine, it would contain: White grape juice and the moldy bread sock. No extra yeast added. For the requisite sugar, I went with some powdered drink mix, a few packets of ketchup and a handful of Tigger fruit snacks.

Hmm... I can't put my finger on why, but I could swear these ingredients almost look at home in this garbage bag. It must be the lighting.

(Incidentally, I realized I forgot to take a picture of this one with the grape juice, but then I remembered that's okay because... in Hell, this is all you get!)

I knotted up the bags, poked a straw in the top as the recipe called for and tucked them away in our bathroom for safe keeping. If you're wondering why I didn't actually make this stuff in my toilet-- give me a break. I'm all too aware of my previous creations in that toilet. Just be glad I'm drinking moldy sock juice at all for you fuckers.

Within a day or two, the bathroom had taken on a strong sour smell. That "bar at 4 AM" smell. Everytime my wife went in there she complained about it. Everytime I went in there I just had the urge to pick up a skank.

7 long days later it was time to crack open the bags and see what we had...

I started with the red, and it somehow smelled amazingly good! Like fresh, sweet grapes. You know, there's an old expression that says In wine, there is truth. In this case, I could also make out some chunks and what appeared to be a severed foot.

Then there was the "white" wine. This one's aroma was slightly more earthy. Do you know that smell of grass right after it's cut? That's nice. I was just making chit-chat, because this smelled like rotten eggs tucked into the anus of a dead cat.

I really don't understand what could have gone wrong! I used moldy bread and socks, EXACTLY LIKE THE RECIPE SAID!

I purchased two large decanters, carefully transferred my fruity after-birth into them, and brought it to my friends Anthony and Steve for a group tasting. I didn't strain the red, just in case anybody wanted Prison Sangria.

First we sampled the red prison wine. It was sour, but certainly not terrible. And the good news was it was definitely wine... like... ish. It was surprisingly dry. All the sugar was gone. Then again, if you were sugar, would you have stayed in that shitty-ass garbage bag?

We were all pleasantly surprised.

Regarding Red Prison Wine

Anthony: "I would drink this in prison."

Steve: "I would drink this in high school!"

It was time for the white. Wine tasters refer to a wine's aroma as its "nose." This wine's nose was a rectum. If this wasn't wine, I had somehow stumbled upon the recipe for Prison Stink Bombs. Forget about drinking it, I was afraid of getting it on me.

Through some miracle, it actually tasted nothing like it smelled. In fact, there was very little flavor other than sour, watery alcohol. It's hard to believe this started out as a bag of fruit snacks and grape juice. Yet somehow these ingredients went from sweet and child-like to harsh and alcoholic quicker than Lindsay Lohan.

Now that I think about it, prison inmates frequently turn to religion. I'm not very religious, but maybe I should be. Sure, Jesus made wine from water, but I did it with a dirty sock and fruit snacks! You tell me what the bigger miracle is. And I'm not even the son of God...or am I?

Out of curiousity, I purchased a device from a brewing supply house that allowed me to measure the wine's alcohol content. The red came in at 10.5% alcohol. The white was a whopping 14% alcohol! All of this led me to a simple conclusion: I miss old Lindsay Lohan, with the big boobies.

WARNING: Don't try this yourself. Brewing alcohol in unsterile conditions is an obvious health risk. Stay safe, and leave the food stupidity to me. Thanks. (That goes for you too, Lohan.)

All episodes of Steve, Don't Eat It! can be found here.

Purchase "You Are Going To Prison" here.

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