“An army marches on its stomach.”
Trail food serves a dual purpose for me when backpacking. Its primary value is utilitarian; to provide nourishment and fuel for hiking. Its secondary value is psychological; to provide an appetizing, delicious meal to look forward to after a long hard day of strenuous physical activity. Good food boosts morale while filling the belly.
To this end I prefer to prepare my own food at home. In doing so I am able to create meals that are healthier, tastier, less expensive and less bulky compared to the typical store-bought highly processed, sodium overloaded prepackaged meal pouches. I also don’t care to poor boiling water into a plastic pouch, a material known to leach toxic chemicals into food under such circumstances, and marinate my food in a tea of potentially poisonous substances.
The two meal mixes shown in this post I prepared at home by dehydrating the ingredients in the oven, apart from the dried porcini mushrooms which were store bought. When out on the trail, I add boiling water mixed with a quality broth or bullion, which is available in stores in small foil packets, and let the mix sit while I set up camp. When I’m ready to eat, I add more water as needed to make soup or leave the mix thick with less water for a stew consistency. I fire up the stove and boil the mix for a few more minutes to fully rehydrate the ingredients and get it hot and then chow down. It’s good stuff, Maynard, I’m tellin’ ya.
In choosing the ingredients I incorporate foods that don’t just taste good but are nutritious, too, and which provide high fiber and protein for a long lasting energy boost. I also add a complimentary mix of herbs and spices depending on the particular meal. By preparing meals at home I satisfy nutritional necessity while also pleasing the palate, which is something freeze-dried, store-bought prepackaged meals utterly fail to provide in my opinion. It requires a small amount of preparation, but adds a lot to overnight trips and makes them more enjoyable.
Beef stew (BBQ Tri-tip and Porcini Mushrooms with Chili Beans, Rice and Mixed Vegetables).