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#282515 - 10/17/16 06:19 PM Making Your Pack Food Taste Better
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3600
Loc: Ontario, Canada
It's the time of year again where I go through my kits and rotate out the hot weather specific stuff and swap it for cold weather stuff. Part of this process is changing batteries, topping up fire kits, etc, but I also use it as a chance to change up the food options I carry.

I add more food at this time of year, and think more about cooking meals that I do during our few months of summer. Hot drinks and food go a long way to fighting the cold and hypothermia. They're also a huge morale boost and cooking is one of my favourite outdoor activities.

As I was repacking my main day hike kit this weekend, I switched up my main emergency food menu - sticking with just add boiling water rice/noodles/soup and foil-packed fish/chicken, but I added more calories and changed up the varieties.

I don't want to derail ATN's thread about what kind of emergency food we pack and store in our trunks. My question to you is: do you keep anything in your kits to make your food taste better? Not main or side dishes, but spices, seasonings, sweeteners, hot sauces, etc. You can survive well on boring, bland food but why? LOL!

When re-stocking my main day hike cooking kit this weekend, I decided on salt, pepper, honey, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, soy sauce and hot sauce as my always packed go tos. Other than the black pepper and hot sauce, these are all either in convenience packs from MREs/take-out food or have been re-packed into small containers at home. The pepper and hot sauce take up some room and weight but the rest packed easily within the containers I already had in my kit. The pepper is in a bottle with it's own grinder and the hot sauce was a gift from a friend, so they are indulgences I am willing to sacrifice for. wink (Edit to add that I also carry cooking oil in a 4 oz collapsible flask.)

My thinking is that these should work well to season whatever trip-specific meals I bring, and will also go nicely with the basics I keep in the pack for an unanticipated meal or two, as well as any wild edibles I catch or collect. (Not to mention, some of them can be used or combined to make a nice cup of tea.)

What your pack's panty, my fellow foodies?


Edited by bacpacjac (10/18/16 01:08 PM)
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#282522 - 10/17/16 07:52 PM Re: Making Your Pack Food Taste Better [Re: bacpacjac]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1749
I think i do not qualify for the foody part. In the outdoors i'm just hungry and everything tastes good! No need for sauces.

I do make sure i mix things up, so i'm not eating the same thing the entire trip. But thats about it.
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#282523 - 10/17/16 08:24 PM Re: Making Your Pack Food Taste Better [Re: bacpacjac]
LCranston Offline
2
Member

Registered: 08/31/09
Posts: 172
Loc: Nebraska
I keep a magic stove in the car all year, inside a coffee can, ~ 10 hot chocolates, 8 powdered cappuchino packets, and either lemonade mix or gatorade mix.

In the summer I just keep pop-tarts, cliff bars, and pre-packaged rice krispy treats.

In the winter I add in instant soup packets for more calories.

Thanks for the reminder- it is time to swap out the old stuff...

I don't keep spices in the car, though I will admit to grabbing every possible condiment when I at a good gas station for my office food supply....

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#282524 - 10/17/16 08:27 PM Re: Making Your Pack Food Taste Better [Re: bacpacjac]
LCranston Offline
2
Member

Registered: 08/31/09
Posts: 172
Loc: Nebraska
related- I have picked up some single use condiments and food supplies at minimus.biz (no relationship to them, just buyu stuff there)

It is a website that specialized in single serve items; I find it useful both for travel, and to try small quantities of new items before buying a large supply- very useful when looking for Gluten- Free stuff that my wife might like....

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#282525 - 10/17/16 08:27 PM Re: Making Your Pack Food Taste Better [Re: bacpacjac]
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1973
Loc: Somewhere in Florida
Mom included Meals Ready to Eat and bottled water for the emergency kit in her car. An MRE has or should have everything pertaining to food.

I have decaffeinated coffee or a soda (usually caffeine-free soda) with a meal. Sometimes I've had milk or tea with a meal. I drink water all the time between meals; the only time I recall having plain water with a meal is at a vegetarian potluck. Drinking plain water with a meal is as appealing as eating baking soda.

Though the kit includes the PSP and matches, it does not have anything in it to heat water, therefore no coffee. A bottle of soda will just take up space and it does not store well, especially in a car.

Suggestions?

Jeanette Isabelle
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#282526 - 10/17/16 09:15 PM Re: Making Your Pack Food Taste Better [Re: bacpacjac]
MoBOB Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 1219
Loc: here
BPJ - I do a lot of mortar and pestle mixing/grinding of herbs/spices. I typically look at the ingredients at what I find good and look at the ingredients list. You will see that there are about 10-12 basic herbs/spices that you can make loads of different mixes with.

Try onion and garlic powder, oregano or Italian blend, paprika, I like chipolte or chili powder (they have distinct flavors differences:smoke and heat for chipotle and a little more earthiness and heat for chili powder), ginger, celery seeds, and coriander seeds. Of course black pepper you have ground yourself and coarse sea salt are required. Maybe dried orange peel.

Use a container/method of your choice for storage.
Check out this idea for storage: http://willowhavenoutdoor.com/general-survival/quick-cheap-backpack-spice-kit-ideas-2/


Edited by MoBOB (10/17/16 09:25 PM)
Edit Reason: Added link.
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#282527 - 10/17/16 09:22 PM Re: Making Your Pack Food Taste Better [Re: bacpacjac]
Montanero Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1457
Loc: North Carolina
+1 for the spices. Need spices always and for everything! They are good for you as well.

Teas and coffee. A good hot drink is a great pick me up.

Even though it weighs more, I like to carry some fresh food for maybe 2 or 3 days into the hike. Breaking out a kielbasa and some potatoes, maybe some fresh fruit, is great after some days of hiking and trail food. Vacuum sealed fresh food will keep for a good while.

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#282529 - 10/18/16 01:23 PM Re: Making Your Pack Food Taste Better [Re: MoBOB]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3600
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: MoBOB
BPJ - I do a lot of mortar and pestle mixing/grinding of herbs/spices. I typically look at the ingredients at what I find good and look at the ingredients list. You will see that there are about 10-12 basic herbs/spices that you can make loads of different mixes with.

Try onion and garlic powder, oregano or Italian blend, paprika, I like chipolte or chili powder (they have distinct flavors differences:smoke and heat for chipotle and a little more earthiness and heat for chili powder), ginger, celery seeds, and coriander seeds. Of course black pepper you have ground yourself and coarse sea salt are required. Maybe dried orange peel.

Use a container/method of your choice for storage.
Check out this idea for storage: http://willowhavenoutdoor.com/general-survival/quick-cheap-backpack-spice-kit-ideas-2/


Nothing better than fresh, MoBOB! That's why I carry the little pepper mill. I've got one for sea salt too but usually leave it at home unless I'm planning to cook with fresh foods. Like Montanero, I like taking fresh foods on short trips. There's just nothing better! There's usually more weight involved but the upside is that you eat it! wink

Great link, MoBOB. Thanks!

I am on the hunt for a compact multi-spice container and there were some good suggestions in that link. Right now I'm using little plastic containers I found in the craft section at the dollar store. I've seen some pretty fancy set-ups but I'm think I'm going to land on the weekly med/pill holders. It's a cheap and easy solution.

As for what spices to carry you've hit on my conundrum: SO many options! I decided to go with simple seasonings that I can use as the building blocks to create other things. You've reminded me that I forgot onion. DOH! Thank you! Chipolte and chili powder are two that I use often and debated putting in my kit. I may still.

Mrs. Dash is also a classic. Also considered were those mixes like Cajun, Tex-Mex, Montreal steak spice, roasted garlic and peppers. This summer I also found maple bacon! (Really good but almost too sweet for me.) Manufacturers like Club House and McCormick are always inventing new flavour combinations and most grocery stores around here carry an assortment.

Once upon a time, I had a backpack solely dedicated to camp cooking. The ribbing I took because of it is where my nickname came from. I've come a long way since then but, as you can see, I'm still prone to being indecisive and over-packing. I whip up some pretty good chow though. smirk

Side note: I just bought my daughter her first canteen kit, and my son has now added a little billy pot to canteen kit and frying pan. Teaching them to cook is high on my priority list. wink
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#282530 - 10/18/16 02:12 PM Re: Making Your Pack Food Taste Better [Re: MoBOB]
Russ Online   content
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5029
Loc: SOCAL
Thanks for reminding me of the mortar and pestle. I haven't used one in years but it is a simple tool that comes in extremely handy for making some things soluble that would otherwise just sit there. Spices are just for starts...

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#282531 - 10/18/16 02:20 PM Re: Making Your Pack Food Taste Better [Re: Tjin]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3600
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Tjin
I think i do not qualify for the foody part. In the outdoors i'm just hungry and everything tastes good! No need for sauces.

I do make sure i mix things up, so i'm not eating the same thing the entire trip. But thats about it.


I totally agree, Tjin. Everything tastes better outside, especially when you're out there working hard. I love cooking, but ramen noodles often do the trick. They're light, cheap, easy to make, and I actually like them. It can get boring though, so like you, I try switch it up too. Something as easy as adding flavoured tuna or some peanut butter brings life to those noddles and adds extra calories and nutrients too. wink
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