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I Want to Give the World Nachos

A Tale of Cheesy-Meaty Awesomeness

By Kyle CejkaPublished about a month ago 7 min read
Top Story - October 2023
Nacho Ingredients Courtesy of My Amazing Wife

The Story:

I have been incarcerated for nearly 22 years. Throughout this time, food has held a special kind of significance: food served by the prison is rarely filling, cooked by inmates who are more concerned with stealing anything good and filling their own bellies than they are with seeing that their fellow inmates are able to eat as well as they. On the rare occasions we are fed something decent, there is a rush of people trying to buy or barter for the "good tray." Thanksgiving and Christmas trays, with their extra portion of real turkey meat, rolls, and extra cake with white icing can be sold for as much as $10.

Food sold by Commissary is of course better than anything the prison serves, but it is expensive. An 11- oz. bag of chips that you can purchase in the FreeWorld for a dollar and change costs me $2.50. Even the most basic unit of food -- Ramen noodles -- is expensive. That case of 24 you can purchase for five bucks costs me ten. It's no surprise, then, that food is used as currency in prison.

As someone who grew up used to going to bed hungry, this particular hardship hasn't been new to me. Actually, the opposite has been true: when people I have met -- both within the prison and from the FreeWorld -- have shown me kindness that has led to having a full belly, it has taken a lot of getting used to. One particular instance of this is what I want to share you.

A few years ago I was transferred from my prison to Loudoun County Jail for my Habeas Corpus proceedings. I was placed in a maximum security block which held a total of sixteen inmates. Of those other men, two of them and I became fast friends. This isn't unusual in institutional settings -- you bond quickly with others you meet who share your interests and your friendship insulates you from the misery that surrounds you.

A couple months into my Habeas proceedings, my Hatching Day came (that's a birthday for you normal folk). I was blessed by my Loved ones with funds enough to go to Commissary to purchase foodstuffs for a Hatching Day meal. My two friends pitched in, knowing how important events like this to people in our position can be; between the three of us we made a pretty splendid spread of nachos and what I can assure you was the most bootleg birthday cake you can imagine. For us, though, it was a literal feast!

As we were preparing to sit down to our nachos, I felt a sublime happiness. It wasn't because of the food itself, or the fact that I was going to bed that Night with a full belly for once, but because... because I was sitting at a table with two other men who had become part of my chosen family. We had pooled our resources to make something none of us could have afforded on our own; something only made possible because people beyond the walls we lived behind cared about us. A feast made possible by kindness.

In that moment, in that lonely place with so much uncertainty about my future, I was perfectly happy. In that moment, the only thing I wanted in all the world was for everyone else in the world to feel my happiness.

I invited all thirteen other inmates to join us. I didn't even know half their names, had never spoken more than a word to some of them. But it didn't matter. That Night, I shared my Hatching Day feast with the entire unit.

It was while watching them eat, hearing the joy in their voices as they enjoyed the jailhouse nachos that I realized how much happier I was in that moment than I would have been had the three of us eaten everything by ourselves. I was happy simply because they were happy; I was happy they were enjoying themselves.

Several of the guys thanked me. One of them asked why I shared my Hatching Day feast with a bunch of strangers. It was a fair question; in prison, sharing with anyone not in your clique is usually a trick, a prelude to a con or predation in one form or another. Most of us are not accustomed to kindness of any kind.

I gave him the only answer I had:

"Everybody likes nachos!"

In that perfect moment, seeing how happy the guys in my unit were in the act of sharing a simple feast of jailhouse nachos, I wanted in that moment to give the world nachos.

I want to give you all nachos.

The Recipe:

The Kyle's Super-Cool-Awesome Jailhouse Nachos!

(Also known as The Kyle's Cheesy-Meaty Awesomeness!)

(Also known as "Oh Dear God, YES!")

Okay, Cats & Kittens, you're about to get a crash course in authentic jailhouse cuisine! But first I must tell you that I know how much everyone likes to pile on chili, guacamole, and all kinds of other munchies, I'm a really simple guy, and my recipe reflects that: all you'll need for this is meat, cheese, and chips. This simplicity is the essence of the Zen of Cheesy-Meaty Awesomeness. =-)

The ingredients below are listed exactly as I have access to them. Of course, you are free to use whichever brands you wish. Likewise, I have described the tools and methods I use to make my Cheesy-Meaty Awesomeness here in prison, but you can substitute your fancy FreeWorld kitchen tools if you'd like. I won't judge. =-)

Ingredients: (Feeds Four)

(2) 8 oz. Bags Cool Ranch Doritos

(1) 11 oz Bag Cactus Annie's Baked Cheese Puffs

(2) 5 oz. Brushy Creek Summer Sausages

(1) 3.5 oz Bridgford Sliced Hard Salami

(2) 4 oz City Cow Sharp Cheddar Cheese Bars

(1) 4 oz City Cow Mozzarella Cheese Bar

(5) 3 oz Maruchan Top Ramen noodles (There is a huge variety of flavours; I had Low-Sodium Beef)

(1) Chess Board

(1) State Issued Prisoner ID Card

(1) Plastic Denture Cup

(1) State Issued Towel or Shirt

(1) Large Microwave Safe Bowl

(4) Plastic Sporks

The Process:

1) Open the bag of Cheese Puffs and crush the contents to powder.

2) Open all five Ramen and remove the flavour packets. Then break the Ramen into pieces and pour them into the Cheese Puffs bag.

3) Add seasoning. Then add hot water, filling to just cover the crushed Ramen and Cheese Puff powder.

{NOTE: If you don't have one of those shmancy hot water spigots with nearly boiling water, fill a cup with water and stick it in the microwave for one minute}

4) Mix the contents by kneading the bag with your fingers. Make sure the Cheese Puff powder is well distributed.

5) Fold bag closed and wrap in Towel or State Issued Shirt to swell while you finish your prep (the Towel or Shirt helps retain heat while you're working -- there are no heat lamps in prison!)

6) Open one of the Cheddar Cheese Bars and, using the perforated tray in your Plastic Denture Cup, grate the cheese into the Microwavable Bowl.

7) Repeat with 1/2 of the Mozzarella Cheese Bar.

8) Using your State Issued Prisoner ID Card (oh, fine, use your driver's lD or a knife if you must), dice the sausages and sprinkle on top of Cheddar and Mozzarella Cheese.

9) Grate the remaining Cheddar and Mozzarella Cheese onto diced sausages. The resulting mix is an evenly-layered cheese & meat bowl, which will come in handy in a couple steps.

10) Carefully open both bags of Doritos fully by splitting down the back seam while laying them flat on the Chess Board (be careful not to tear the bags -- this will be your platter!).

11) Spread the Doritos evenly across the board. Be careful to keep all chips on the plastic.

12) Open the Cheese Puffs bag and spread contents onto Doritos. (WARNING! The Cheese Puffs should have absorbed all excess water. If there is excess water, pour it out before pouring contents onto Doritos)

13) Add contents of Microwavable Bowl onto Doritos. You've just created nachos! Don't drool on the food!

14) Lay Hard Salami slices across landscape of Cheesy-Meaty Awesomeness.

15) Using Chess Board as a pizza board, put nachos into microwave and nuke for three minutes.

(WARNING! Don't put the Chess Board in the microwave! It will burn!)

16) After three minutes, if sausage and salami are not cooked to your liking, nuke it for another minute or until done.

17) Sit down with your people and enjoy that delicious Cheesy-Meaty Awesomeness! I advise everyone starting on opposite sides and eating toward the middle.

{SPECIAL SECRET TIP: The Sporks are important! You're gonna need them when you get to the last scraps of nachos -- the pieces will be too small and too messy for your hands, but you're not going to want to waste a bite!} =-)

The Affirmation:

Kindness is easy, but this world teaches us to look out for Number One. As a result, some people go their entire lives without experiencing kindness, and in dark times it is the last thing people expect.

Don't be Number One. Let everyone else be Number One. The Gods will to treat you the same.

Everybody likes nachos!


About the Creator

Kyle Cejka

Kyle Cejka is an incarcerated author whose profile is facilitated by his Wife, Cydnie. He lacks direct internet access, but is determined to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a world-reknowned bestselling author despite any obstacles.

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Comments (10)

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  • The Dani Writer16 days ago

    I am so glad I got to read this! Ingenious recipe and just goes to show how much waste there is in current society. There is no need to be a throw-away culture because so much of the packaging is environmentally harmful and can be reused. The beauty of sharing and thoughtfulness outshines our surroundings and pours through us when we let it. This story encapsulates that and is well-deserving of the recognition that it received. Wonderfully done!

  • Hi we are featuring your excellent Top Story in our Community Adventure Thread in The Vocal Social Society on Facebook and would love for you to join us there

  • Everyone likes nachos and everyone appreciates kindness. Whatever nachos may cost, kindness costs nothing and I have seen plenty of kindness in prison. Really struck a chord. Congratulations on your win.

  • KA Stefana about a month ago

    OMG - my son and his friends call this chi-chi, and I won't let them make it when I'm around. He tries to make it whenever he comes home. We've had some good laughs over this through the years.

  • Matthias Evans about a month ago

    I love nachos

  • A. Lenaeabout a month ago

    This is lovely. Your genuine spirit, and the way you allow this to unfold, just breeds such positivity. What a special piece. Definitely craving these nachos now.

  • Aleena Hudaabout a month ago

    Great job

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    Nicely done. Congrats on the TS.

  • Naomi Goldabout a month ago

    I love this so much, Kyle. I’ve not known much kindness in my life, and I too have faced poverty and hunger. Life is much better now, but along the way I’ve become very resourceful. Not quite this resourceful! Holy shit. It was wonderful reading your authentic process for creating the nachos in prison, making do with what you have. Lil Wayne shared a kinda similar process for making a prison burrito in his memoir, and I recreated it. Might have to try this, because you’re right—everybody likes nachos. They truly are a feast. Your story of generosity was incredible. Food nourishes the body and soul, but sharing it with others feeds the spirit. I’m so glad you were surrounded by companions on your “Hatching Day” (haha, never heard of that!). Thank you for sharing this with us, and congrats on your Top Story. 🥂

  • Amazing and I agree 👍 kindness is everything ♥️💯✌️📝Thanks for sharing 😉🌟

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