What's Cooking?

Tales from death row: Justice for Rodney Reed by Caitlin Adams


I have never doubted the ingenuity of human beings and it's always seemed a fairly accurate maxim that "necessity is the mother of invention".  At this week’s visit with Rodney, I learned just how true this saying is and how ingenious we human beings can be.  

The horrors stories about the food served TX death row inmates abound: mystery meats, extra protein in the form of various insects, mold, fungus, hair (human and not), unidentifiable substances, dirt, rat feces, and probably many more I haven't heard about.   

If you are fortunate enough to have family and friends who send money for your inmate trust fund, you can supplement your diet with foods available in the unit commissary. Rodney is one of the "fortunate" ones; he has the "luxury" of being able to pass up the prison food and not starve. The food items available in the unit commissary would make the developer of the essential food groups pyramid cringe (for example, only one piece of fresh fruit per inmate is provided by the prison once a year at Christmas).

Spam, chips, candy, chili, tacos, instant coffee varieties, instant creamers, bread, and soups are some of the food items available. There are many items available in the unit commissary for general  population that are prohibited to death row inmates and death row prisoners are only permitted to go to the commissary every two weeks.  

The only cooking utensil Rodney is permitted is an electric hot pot which serves as coffee pot, soup pot and all-purpose pot. Another indispensable culinary tool Rodney uses is an empty, large corn chip bag.  He takes all of his taco ingredients mixes them in the corn chip bag and then puts the corn chip bag into his hot pot to heat.  Two of Rodney's "homemade" favorites are "thug mud" (my personal favorite, which we call a vanilla mocha out in the free world), and chili tacos with spicy fries and spam (spicy fries are used to spice up lots of Rodney's recipes).  

Necessity, ingenuity, and an undying belief that justice will finally be served for him, have helped make it possible for Rodney not just to survive the unjust, inhumane conditions of his incarceration but to in so many ways grow and thrive as a human being.  To this I say, “In solidarity in your struggle, Rodney, always, Wildflower”. 


Caitlin Adams is a resident of Bastrop, Texas.  After meeting the family of Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed outside of their home in early 2011, she began writing with Rodney.  She has developed a friendship with Rodney's mother Sandra and his family in Bastrop, as well as making regular trips to death row to visit Rodney. 

After learning about the facts of Rodney's case, Caitlin has become an advocate for Rodney Reed – here we present Caitlin's story about her journey for justice.