By Jason Wagner
I love spaghetti, and I always have which probably explains why I never seem to make it. When I do make spaghetti, I have a propensity to prepare it with spicy red pepper sauce and…and why am I even putting this here? This is a review of the Mountain House freeze dried spaghetti with meat sauce, after all!
Taste – 8.5/10: This is good, right? I mean it doesn’t suck…it’s good, but it isn’t great, either. You see, my problem with it isn’t the deliciously authentic tasting medium-thickness pasta, or the quality of the meat in it – or even the delicious sauce which was sweet, flavorful and with a strong hint of basil…my complaint is of the meat variety; I know I said that the meat is of good quality, and it is, it really is, however I’m strongly of the opinion that the way it is presented, in meatball form instead of the meat sauce that was promised takes away from the taste experience…I’d of enjoyed the taste of this product a great deal more if the meat was in the form of smaller ground up pieces and if the pasta was cut to a longer lengths…otherwise, I’ve really got no complaints – if you’ve got this, you can eat Italian every single day of the apocalyptic calendar. Ultimately, despite my complaints I’m actually pretty happy with this dish, I really am.
Texture – 9.0/10: Let’s start with the second most predominant feature of this entrée – the sauce: The sauce, hmm…it was good, very good but I wasn’t completely thrilled with it, for instance I found it to be slightly, and when I say slightly I mean very slightly, I found it to be slightly slimy, but other than that the sauce was actually quite spot on in its texture. The pasta, the pasta and sauce mingled together, they mingled like ah, two, um, two regal dancers performing an act…that is basically my ridiculous way of saying the spaghetti was al dente and pleasing. Lastly, the last of the trio: The meat. Well, I believe I’ve already voiced my disdain for the size of the pieces of meat, but given that this is the section devoted to texture it’s my onus to bring it up again, and perhaps in greater detail; the meat, well it was like really coarsely chopped ground meat – way too course to be considered any sort of proper spaghetti meat sauce and while it didn’t really bother me that much, this claimed to be a spaghetti with meat sauce and the meat was good quality so I’d of liked to have seen it spread around a little more.
Convenience – 8.5/10: So…this is exactly the same as every other Mountain House freeze dried entrée, so…yeah…How can I word this differently? You take 16 ounces of water, you boil it, you add it to the contents, then you give it a good stir and finally you seal it. Look at it this way, in the world of today this is a convenience food, wherein the world of tomorrow, it may not be such a convenient thing to make…but this is still quite convenient, and if you want the ultimate in convenience than get some of the MRE’s that I’ve reviewed for your emergency supply cache, or some beef jerky which I’ve also reviewed!
Filling Factor – 9.6/10: Honestly, this seems more like a dinner for two more so than for one…a meal, or dinner for two that’ll leave two average people feeling reasonably full, so really – this makes for a fairly economical and efficient addition to any good survival supply closet. I’d rather have food items that would leave me feeling filled then one’s that don’t, but is that any surprise?
Nutrition – 7.5/10: All right, so just to be clear – the nutrition on this one is quite substantial in the sense that you’ve got your iron, your vitamin A, a little calcium and decent amounts of vitamin C…but for something so filling, it’s something of a surprise just how low the calories on this one are…at least a lot of those calories are made up of fiber and protein, but alas – the calories left me wanting more from a survival food.
Weight/Bulk – 9.2/10: Despite my gripes towards the nutrition, you do get plenty of food that’ll leave you filled AND better yet the Mountain House freeze dried spaghetti with meat sauce is, as is always the case with Mountain House’s freeze dried pouched offerings very efficient in the realm of weight & bulk. I’d say this particular offering does an even better job in the category of weight & bulk on account of just how much of the goodness Mountain House has been able to stuff into this pouch.
Man-Portability /Hoofing-It/Bugging Out Score – 9.1/10: Well, let’s review what this one has got going for it in this context: Not much in the way of aqua is needed to cook this, although any use of the precious commodity that is water for anything other than drinking is unfortunate…As far as stuffing into a pack, a pack designed for a human (backpack, but that’s kind of obvious!) this stuffs fits rather easily taking up a near-minimum of space and adding little to the weight, even when stored in large quantities, and least but not least you don’t really have to worry too much about this giving you away!
Operational Security – 8.2/10: The operational security depends on how you plan on heating the water…for instance if you were to cook it over an open fire then, well I guess this is more of a signal to raiders than anything else, but if you were to cook it over a small, controlled flame like a portable stove or over some charcoal you shouldn’t have to worry too much. As far as any smell goes, there’s really no concern for one reason – sealed, vacuum like cooking. You see, and as you probably already know you boil the water, then you add the water directly to the bag and give it a good stir and you seal the zipper. With the sealing of the bag, you’re done until the entrée has been fully cooked, which in the case of this one the cooking time is a scant 7 – 9 minutes…the cooking process for all of Mountain House’s freeze dried offerings is broadly similar.
Shelf Life – 9.0/10: Yeah, yeah – 7 years and completely impervious to rust and the bag is foil lined and it contains a desiccant to protect the contents from humidity-brought upon damage. It’s my view that this entree makes for a good addition to your long-term food options, and if you want to think in the extremely long term, well then – you’ll want to point your cross hairs on towards the canned version.
Final Review – 8.2/10: I liked this one, and while I cannot see myself stocking this disaster entrée in quantities far and above other apocalyptic food offerings, I’ll certainly make it a point to keep perhaps a dozen and eventually more on hand…I can safely say, no matter how worried you may be about the freeze dried meat in this one, Mountain House’s freeze dried meat is usually a safe bet, and is definitely the case here. The bottom line above all else in the case of this freeze dried spaghetti with meat sauce is, if you want some spaghetti during the apocalypse for dinner, you’ll covet this product. You can simultaneously feel happy and borderline prideful that you prepared so well that you can eat things like this while everybody else eats Vienna sausages and cats, while simultaneously feeling dreadful that cats are being eaten.