By Jason Wagner
Lasagna with meat sauce? Curious, not necessarily an item I jumped to review, but I do make it a point to keep an open mind, and it’s Mountain House, so it’s likely worth the risk…the risk of grizzle and otherwise disgusting meat.
Taste – 9.6/10: Impressive, I’m impressed! There are three main taste characteristics in this one, and those three taste characteristics are: Cheese, tomato sauce and pasta. Let’s start with the tail end of that, the pasta – you’ve got to love it when freeze dried pasta tastes like something that just came off the power boil, this was good, and the shape of it made it almost seem like baked lasagna. The cheese, ah, the cheese – I knew this would be cheesy in the perfect kind of way when I was stirring the boiled water, and when the fork was lifted, behold, it was encrusted with cheese…mmm… And the last of the trinity of primary tastes, the tomato sauce and tomato flavor – it permeated everything in all of the right and delectable ways, and really, if the tomato sauce didn’t taste genuine and rich, this wouldn’t make for a very good lasagna, now would it? Final tasting notes: The beef, while in relatively small number didn’t contain or taste in an offensive manner, and if I say that, trust me – I’m way too fussy for my own good when it comes to meats, particularly ground ones. The seasonings were pretty much spot on, not too salty, not bland, maybe a little Italian seasoning – all and all, very well put together.
Texture – 9.5/10: The texture, ah – the texture; the texture was devoid of all of the terrible things I had concerned myself with. For instance, the meat seemed pretty lean, there wasn’t any sliminess to the sauce or anything else that would take away from the rich taste experience, and as I always like to point out with Mountain House pasta – the pasta tasted like freshly cooked pasta.
Convenience – 8.2/10: Eh, it could be better, it also could be worse with the very worst of the whole preparation consisting of boiling of water, stirring it in and allowing it to sit. For on the move, not the greatest, for the home it’s very good, so ultimately, pretty good.
Operational Security – 8.5/10: This is pretty standard as far as operational security goes and Mountain House pouches seem to go. That is to say, if the malcontents aren’t within 10 meters, I’d be quite fairly surprised if they were able to even remotely detect the aroma. Perhaps a bigger concern would be the boiling of the water potentially giving you away, but again, not too much of a security risk and overall, this is fairly safe as far as survival food goes.
Filling Factor – 9.8/10: This is a BIG portion, well, not huge, but as I said – big. Not only has it got size, it has got those certain ingredients that seem to make you feel really well fed, which is of course exactly what you want in a survival food.
Shelf Life – 8.5/10: Not really too much uniqueness to report here; as is the case with virtually every other pouched freeze dried Mountain House product this will hold up for about 7 years. Again as is always the case, if you get the canned version you’re looking down the barrel of 30+ years of stable storage.
Nutrition – 9.6/10: Usually these sorts of freeze dried meals contain good all-around nutrition, yet they’ve been known to leave my stomach, and the stomachs of many others wanting for more. In the case of the Mountain House freeze dried lasagna with meat sauce, you shouldn’t be left wanting for too much more! Just to rattle off some the best nutritional aspects, this is loaded with protein…meat, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium – even potassium, and of course there are plenty of calories present here, too. Almost no freeze dried entrée I’ve had dealing with will last a person an entire day, and indeed is the case here; however this one is pretty damn good as far as nutrition goes!
Weight/Bulk – 9.0/10: I’ve never encountered a single Mountain House product that hasn’t impressed me with its ease of storage, lightweight and space efficient aspects. I’m glad that trend hasn’t been broken here. The cans are great because they can be neatly stacked, while the pouched versions that I’m reviewing here are great because they’re lightweight and are easy to box up.
Hoofing It/On-The-Move Score – 8.8/10: Lightweight and because they’re pouched, perfectly shaped and sized for the pack, check. This requires 16 ounces of water and something to bring it to a boil, negative, but not exactly a death blow and the item is fairly stealthy – check, negative and check. I’d definitely considering stocking a bug out bag, or a scouting pack with these or something similar to these, they’re definitely worth their miniscule weight.
Final Review – 9.5/10: I’ll admit, I really didn’t want to review this one, and as such I’ve delayed it a tad, but being the pragmatic survivalist that I am, I knew that I was doing myself a disservice, and not to mention acting in a less-than-brave manner by holding off on this one, and to tell the truth, I kind of wish I reviewed this one a bit sooner! If there is one message to take away from all of this, a message for me and a message for you ladies and lads, it’s that sometimes, even if something doesn’t sound like it would taste the absolute best, every now and then you may indeed be pleasantly surprised; although this isn’t the first time I’ve been relatively pleasantly surprised by a survival meal, as was the case with the chicken fajita MRE I review on the Fourth of July. Thanks to these surprisingly good experiences, I suppose, when it comes to sampling certain esoteric sounding survival eats, I’m much more open minded to trying them in search of apocalyptic gold, and I hope you’ll be more open-minded, too. If you take all of the good associated with this product, smash the good together and really examine what you’ve got; I do believe that you’ll quickly find that you’ve got a truly delicious, apocalypse-ready freeze dried entrée that you’ll truly savor.