By Jason Wagner
Was this a pouch of freeze dried soup or something a bit different? Maybe, just maybe it’s just a very thick chicken noodle soup? These are just a few of the questions I asked myself while I waited for the water to boil.
Taste – 8.2/10: As a whole, the taste was very good, for instance – the noodles, and broth, which were by far both the best parts, were very flavorful, savory and in the case of the noodles, very true to noodle taste. I’ve got one, somewhat major complaint, and a minor one. Minor complaint: The vegetables were delicious, and in way too small of quantity. Major complaint: The chicken consisted of relatively small pieces of cubed dark meat, which is kind of disturbing in of itself. I, as many others find dark meat to be greatly inferior to white meat, especially when used in soups. Specifically, the meat tastes too gamey, and never seems to have quite the same bite to it, but more importantly, the dark meat tasted to be of only average quality, which of course, further compounded the problems.
Texture – 8.5/10: Above, I got the good out of the way first, so let’s do things differently here. Again, my biggest complaint is the mediocre dark meat. It just doesn’t have that nice shredded texture nor taste that I like in food. The good, is what you’d probably already of suspected; The broth has a great body to it, and so does the pasta. Oftentimes, small pieces of pasta in these types of things are mushy, to say the least, so I was pleasantly surprised here. Considering the very scant nature of the vegetables, they barely seem to warrant mention, but, I guess so – they had a good texture and that’s about all that merits discussion.
Convenience – 9.0/10: I’d argue all day long that, besides a few obvious things like chemical heaters, canned food or eat right from the package, that the boiling of 2 cups of water, adding said water to package and eating from the package is pretty much the ultimate in emergency convenience.
Operational Security – 8.5/10: Watch your six, so long as nobody is right on top of you, I cannot see this being in any way a high risk food item. Even with the boiling water requirement, unless your cooking it over a wild, un-obscured fire, I think that this a low-detection entrée. As is always the case, if you want to go about being ultra-stealthy, yet still have a hot meal, then an MRE is probably more applicable to you.
Filling Factor: 8.5/10: You know what, the portion is pretty good, and, in addition to some other factors, this is a filling meal. You eat this and I think that you’ll be ready to tackle any zombie. I love things that are filling because that means you can have one of something, instead of two of something and that translates into a more efficient use of storage space, plus it’s cheaper this way.
Bulk/Weight – 8.5/10: In terms of, well, bulk & weight, this serves equally as well when grabbed for the trail, or when stored inside of the house. This is small in profile, it only weighs 4.73 ounces; so, in a broad sense, there really isn’t anything to complain about. Pack these up in boxes, throw them into a corner of a cool basement, and thus, you’ll be all set.
Shelf Life: 8.5/10: The shelf life is the standard that all of the freeze dried pouched Mountain House meals seem to adhere to: 7 years when kept in good conditions. In the case of the can, that number goes through the roof to 30+ years, but again, that’s always the case with Mountain House.
Man Portability & Efficiency 8.5/10: Its lightweight, it doesn’t take up much space. Its got several other admirable traits, such as having high amounts of protein, carbohydrates, vitamin A and a nice infusion of Calcium; in addition to that mouthful, it requires very little fuel; and in there lies my primary complaints – it requires fuel and water, so in that sense, it falls well below the mark of ideal in the category of Man Portability & Efficiency.
Final Review – 8.6/10: This is an interesting meal, to me, anyway – what you’ve got here in something that, in terms of convenience and taste is a compromise between canned chicken noodle soup and a chicken noodle soup mix, but its also unique all its own, hence the lack of a broth, and instead – a very thick sauce replaces it. Beyond that, this is, in many ways the ultimate emergency food – you’ve got the long and extremely long shelf life (extremely in the case of the can, as always) the good, unique taste, the nutrition – I could go on, but you get the point. Despite the taste not being my exact cup of tea, I cannot truthfully say that this isn’t a very fine thing to stock, you know, just in case we’ve got an impending Armageddon on our hands. Its paramount that you remember, while I may not find this one to be the very pinnacle of emergency food tastes, it could very well be your favorite, but more importantly – I recommended you diversify your survival food with many a variety, not just your absolute favorites, but ones that you think are very good, but not great, too. From a nutritional standpoint, this is important, but it’s just as important when keeping your sanity in the event of a long term emergency, which if too long term, may just as well be called an Armageddon.