We try out a lot of things here at The Manual. So when a box of MRE’s arrived on our door step we pondered how we were going to try all of these bags of food. Result – We hosted a dinner party with six friends and plenty of wine and bourbon!
Meal Kit Supply is a company that makes MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) for police and fire companies, EMT, Emergency Preparedness groups and, of course, the military. Now it’s being used by the avid outdoorsman across the US and Canada. The company is based in Sonoma, California (hello, where is the MRE wine?) while the meals are made in North Carolina for them and the Department of Defense. (The military is the largest user for sure.)
When we spoke to a representative from the company they were just back from Oklahoma helping out disaster victims there with Team Rubicon (a veteran based disaster relief organization). They provided both MRE’s and man power.
Each bag has a five year shelf life and is perfect for hiking, camping or hunting when high caloric and easy-to-cook nutrition is needed.
Taking this into consideration we gathered around the dinner table and each person got to choose their bag of dinner. We dined on the following:
- Spaghetti with meat sauce and a side of potatoes au gratin
- Chili with beans and a side of fried rice
- Vegetarian ratatouille and a side of potatoes au gratin
- Chicken with noodles and a side of fried rice
- Beef ravioli and a side of potato cheddar soup
- Chicken fajita and a side of fried rice
Thank God one of us had used these before on a camping trip (following bears for a college class credit – that’s another story) and she broke into her MRE with abandon and guided us along. The flameless ration heater was everyone’s highlight. We added a bit of water to the sheet of chemicals, wrapped it around our food and began drinking. Well that was a mistake. Half of us got so sauced we forgot how long the food had been cooking, others didn’t realize how hot the heaters would get and nearly burnt the dining room table and their hands. But we managed to get the food pretty well cooked and then we began the taste tests.
I have to say my beef ravioli was off the chain. Hearty, tasty and warm. I could imagine this would be a dream meal on a cold night in the mountains. The potato cheddar soup was pretty thick, like melted Velveeta. Not a favorite, but again, after hiking all day I bet it would taste a lot better. Everyone else was thoroughly surprised at how good their meals were as well (wondering if the bourbon helped?). One misfire was the vegetable ratatouille. Bland, blah and plain ole no good. The potato au gratin tasted a bit pulpy with the same gelatinous cheese from the soup.
The ‘Bread & Spread’ segment of the meal was pretty delicious for a snack. Crackers and cheese spread or jelly, jam and peanut butter were all good to go. And as for dessert the chocolate chip cookie was rather dry but paired beautifully with the ‘Coco beverage’ that came with most meals. One dessert we found amusing (possibly because the bourbon bottle was now empty) was the fudge brownie that fell out of the bag with a ‘Do Not Eat’ plastic pouch stuck to it. It was also the exact same size and shape of an iPhone. This had us all on the floor in hysterics. The bourbon had won.
An added bonus of serving MREs for a dinner party is that clean-up is a breeze. Just throw it all back into the bag and pass to the trash.
All in all we are fans of these products. We are all obsessed with the flameless ration heater. These would be great in our sleeping bags, car, bed, clothes on any day in January. And luckily we do have several kits left over so if we come home in the next five years with the munchies, coco beverage and brownie to the rescue!
If you would like to order your own kit go to MealKitSupply.com. Unfortunately the menus are set so you can’t pick and choose. Hey, maybe the Ratatouille will be your favorite.
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