By Jason Wagner
A little background information is in order…I’ve had this in my food storage for quite a while, and being the astute person that I am, I figured I’d better do a little pantry rotation…This is the rotation of the day!
Taste – 10/10: I’ll start with the sauce: The sauce itself is creamy, surprisingly light in body, but notably flavorful. In fact, out of all the elements, I think the creamy sauce may be the greatest asset of this delightful survival food. The vegetables have a real everything about them, including an exponentially refreshing taste. Meanwhile, the pasta…oh, the pasta – so delicious! The pasta tasted like regular pasta, is there anything else to say? No. Before we proceed, I should clarify the 10/10, I consider this to be a 10/10 in the field of taste for one reason – I was making a delightful chicken rice dinner, and despite it being homemade and delightful, I couldn’t help but to focus my attention on the pasta primavera that I had prepared for the purpose of writing this review. A few hours later I was still thinking about the pasta primavera, wishing I had more. Any emergency/survival/apocalypse/Zombie-Apocalypse/Armageddon product that gets you thinking like that, or almost distracts you from a fine homemade meal is a 10/10. At least in my book, anyway.
Texture – 10/10: Let’s start where we left off in the taste department – the pasta. The pasta not only tasted like, well, spiral pasta noodles – but also, the texture was spot on. I’ve got to admit, when the cooking was done and it was time to dispense the contents onto a plate, I got slightly freaked out when it looked like a giant, solid, gelatinous blob of pasta, but thankfully, with a little persuasion with a fork, the spirals perfectly came into form. The vegetables tasted as good as frozen, and almost as good as fresh produce, so, yeah – I’m impressed. Finally, the cream sauce was light, smooth and completely non-offensive. I rarely award 10/10’s in both the departments of taste and texture; however, this Mountain House product nails it just right.
Convenience – 9.0/10: No more, no less convenient when compared to the myriad of other pouched Mountain House food products. Well, except for the freeze-dried ice cream sandwich – that requires no boiling water, or any water, but that’s the exception that proves the rule. Anyways, as is almost always the case, you need boiled water, 16 ounces in this case and a utensil to stir and eat it with. There’s nothing to really gripe about here, as far as food that must be prepped goes, this is extremely easy.
Filling Factor – 6.0/10: The serving isn’t good enough, the calories aren’t good enough – there’s nothing here that would leave you feeling full in the event you were positively famished. A further factor that works against this is that of just how delicious it is – if you’ve got to choke something down, then you probably don’t need a huge serving, while the opposite can be said as well. Keep in mind that the score is a 6.0/10, so it isn’t terrible in this respect, but unremarkable, unlike the taste and texture.
Shelf Life – 9.0/10: Not really much to say here, the contents don’t seem massively susceptible to moisture. The rated and realistic shelf life is about 5 years, the packaging is fairly sturdy – as far as pouched Mountain House freeze dried foodstuffs go, this is pretty run of the mill.
Bulk/Weight – 9.0/10: The weight is slightly over 4 ounces, the bulk is quite un-obnoxious, so yeah – another good score.
Man Portability – 9.5/10: These things are practically made for carrying on the go, literally intelligently designed with that in mind. As you no doubt remember, these are small profile and at a minimum of weight. There’s no forgetting that while this scores well strictly in the theory of man portability, it’s also easy to prepare.
Operational Security – 9.2/10: You probably know the drill by now, the cooking is done with the zipper closed, boiling water produces vapor but no scent. Once the cooking process is done and the product has cooled enough wherein it’s still very hot, but it’s tempered just enough to very much minimize the aroma carrying steam. Basically, unless you’re dodging a marksman, I do not believe this is a high risk item to eat. You should be nice and stealthy while enjoying this.
Nutrition – 8.7/10: This is one of those things where, while it doesn’t scream nutrient rich, you can tell just by eating it that it’s good for you. Plus, its got a pleasing amount of calcium, with the amount totaling in at 40% per pouch, almost an entire day’s worth of vitamin C, a nice padding of vitamin A, a little bit of Iron. The calories are a bit on the miniscule side of the scale, but the protein is surprisingly good considering the low calories and vegetarian nature of the dish, while there’s some noteworthy amounts of fiber here, which presumably come from the vegetables. I only wish they’d of fattened this up with a few more calories than 420. 420, while not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, could have been increased to at least 500 or something, or anything more substantial.
Final Review – 9.8/10: This is very tasty, nutritious, stealthy, lightweight, many other good things and very true to freshly made primavera. Despite the sub-par portion size, I can say in confidence that this is something that you would be so happy to munch on while the zombies bang their heads against the nearest hard object…just make sure to chew slowly, you know, so they don’t hear you; it would be a shame to die before you could finish your primavera.