Prison Ramen: Shia LaBeouf, Slash detail their lives behind bars

By Sarah Kelsey

What do imprisoned celebrities do to kill time? Apparently they dream of certain foods they enjoyed on the outside – and dream up new recipes to make in jail. A unique new cookbook is exploring these dishes, and inviting celebrities who have been in the slammer to pen personal essays about their experiences.

In Prison Ramen: Recipes and Stories from Behind Bars, A-listers like Slash from Guns n’ Roses and Shia LaBeouf have a bit of a share fest in regards to what it’s like to live in prison, and catalogue how certain foods influenced their lives.

Slash and Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf and Slash are among the book’s celebrity contributors. Photos: © Getty Images

Ex-con Gustavo “Goose” Alvarez came up with the book idea after a bowl of ramen saved his life while he was behind bars (the Asian dish was a peace offering to rival gang members). He co-authors the book with Clifton Collins Jr., while actor Samuel L. Jackson writes the forward for Prison Ramen.

So what kinds of things do celebrities have to say about jail and this ubiquitous dish?

Slash shared his ‘ Jaywalking Ramen’ recipe and tale with the Daily News, which was "drawn from his stint in Los Angeles county jail for a delinquent jaywalking ticket. The recipe combines classic chicken-flavored Ramen with minced pork and, for an extra kick, Sriracha.”

Prison Ramen Cookbook cover
The cookbook combines stories and recipes from incarcerated A-listers. Photo: © Workman Publishing Company

Then there’s actor Danny Trejo’s recipe, called ‘ Machete Ramen,’ which contains sausage, Doritos, onion and tomato. For his essay, the Machete star discusses the importance of seeing his friends on visitor’s day when he was in juvenile hall. Here’s a snippet of his tale from Entertainment Weekly: “The weekend spreads helped me think That’s not important, this is important. My friends, my camaradas, were important to me. I knew my family wasn’t going to visit, but I’d have a family feeling with my homeboys.”

Read more: Drink like the stars: 4 must-try TIFF cocktail recipes

As for Transformers star Shia, he talks openly about how his incarceration has helped his creativity. “I have been incarcerated five times… When I’m nervous in my creativity, I think of my failures in life and in art… Thinking about my screwups loosens the grip of fear. It’s freeing to [screw] up and to recover.” His recipe combines an egg salad sandwich (which he loved to eat while in jail) with the bowl of noodles, complete with two slices of American cheese.

Which dish would you try? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

Sarah Kelsey is a gal in the know who regularly appears on television and writes for a variety of outlets. Check out her work at, on Twitter @sarahkelsey, Instagram @sakelsey and Pinterest @sakelsey.

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