Sunday, February 12, 2006

More camping food reviews

Whereby I talk about a couple of MRE entrees and a freeze-dried entree:


  • Minestrone: Rather forgettable, but quite edible. Tastes like the minestrone soup you get at the supermarket, but surprisingly is less soupy and more chunky. Eat with crackers. I save my MRE crackers from other MRE's to eat with the Minestrone (MRE crackers, unlike regular crackers, appear to be made out of some super-hard material that doesn't turn into cracker crumbs like other crackers do in field conditions).
  • Beef roast with vegetables: Forget about the old Alpo reputation. While this does have a slight tinge of the lard taste that used to characterize MRE's, it is not outrageously intrusive and blends well with the tender chunk of real cooked beef at the heart of this MRE. The vegies are a bit soupy, so the best thing to do with this meal is to serve it over instant mashed potatos and add a bit of Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning and a tiny bit of butter buds to the mashed potatos first. Instant mashed potatos are very easy to make -- simply stir hot water into the potato flakes while stirring until it attains the desired consistency. Pour hot MRE over a bed of these potatos, and your purr of culinary contentment will make your tent hum.
  • Beef ravioli: These were truly put together by a chef. Chef Boy-ar-di, that is. They taste just like the canned ones from the supermarket. When you've come to the end of a long day of hiking, this is pure comfort food.
The freeze-dried entre' that I tried is the Mountain House Freeze-Dried Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. Unlike the last one, this one is actually edible. It is somewhat soupy, so eat it with a spoon. Adding a couple of teaspoons of grated parmeson cheese helps it greatly, both in making it less soupy and in improving the overall flavor. Especially if you get the "Pro-Pak" version, this makes a hearty trail meal that will go down even better when you're tired and hungry.

And that concludes this edition of "how to eat well on the trail." Boy, things sure have changed since the days of choke'n'puke trail foods that required guts of steel and taste buds of stone in order to eat. Today even military MRE's taste like real food -- something that, fifteen years ago, I would have stared at you incredulously if you'd said that was possible.

- Badtux the Satiated Penguin


  1. I gave up on freeze-dried camping food ages ago, I have never found any that are palatable. I stick with high calorie protein and Energy Bars, along with pasta or rice flavored with chicken or beef broth and some beef jerky occasionally.

    Real food is something I can look forward to when I'm off the trail. (There's not much else).

  2. Thank you for the interesting reviews. My half brother sent some MREs to my parents. They, slowly, ate them, and gave me updates. They thought the meals were pretty good. It's nice that there are ways of packaging food, to carry, so it doesn't get all smooshed up.


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