If you’re looking for proof of mankind’s inveterate need for altered states of consciousness, look no further than pruno. Long created beneath the bunks of prison inmates, and often consisting of such odious ingredients as ketchup and sauerkraut, pruno is notoriously unpalatable, even for the most hardened toughs. According to a participant in a harrowing 2006 taste test, the stuff is reticent not of black currant and cinnamon, a la Spain’s finest riojas, but rather “a rotten compost heap of tropical fruits consumed by maggots.”
But it’s not just the terrible taste that inmates must contend with. According to a new CDC study, recent batches of pruno have been found to be rife with botulism—yeah, the stuff that gets injected into Nicole Kidman’s face on a semi-daily basis, but was once better known for killing people.
Fortunately for pruno aficionados, they can probably avoid botulism by eschewing potatoes in their recipes. According to the CDC, that was the likely culprit in a 2004-2005 California prison outbreak. Inmates of America, live by this code: Potatoes are for making decorative stamps, not for turning into mind-erasing quasi-wine.
(h/t on sweatshirt photo to Ultimate Fight Shop)