It’s the easiest fuss-free tasty camping meal you’ll ever eat.
I’m lazy. If it only takes pouring some boiling water on top of a mass of cheap lightweight dehydrated ingredients to get a half-decent feed then count me in.
My arthritic hands do not like to chop and prepare anything. I can spoon ingredients into a Ziplock freezer bag and stir in hot water. That is the extent of my culinary skills and this recipe asks nothing more of me. Ease of preparation goes a long way to earning this meal five stars.
In a nutshell, for anyone who considers themselves a serious thru hiker it delivers on:
- Ease of preparation
- Flexibility and
It is simply equal portions of dried mashed potato and uncooked Ramen (Two-Minute) Noodles. It weighs nothing even if you choose to use a full packet of each. It can trim several kgs off a 6 to 7-day carry if you eat it each night in preference to commercial dehydrated meals and other heavy pulse-like alternatives.
A single packet of noodles will set you back 50c to $1 and a packet of Idahoan Mash Potato (when bought in the US) approximately $2-$3 a serve. Regular single-serve dehydrated meals from companies such as Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry will set you back $13-$20 and they are bulky.
Ease of Preparation
Ideally mix the two main ingredients in a quart sized Ziplock Freezer Bag (stronger than storage bags) (7” x 7 7/16” or 17.7cm x 18.8cm) with roughly 2 cups of boiled water.
Add any combination of the following for added flavour
- Dehydrated vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, broccholi, mushrooms etc.)
- Bacon bits or diced beef jerky or vacuum-sealed tuna, salmon or chicken pieces
- Diced cheese (tasty or long-life processed)
- Croutons for crunch
- Seasoning – flavour sachets, salt, pepper, spices and herbs
Give it a good stir, seal the Ziplock bag, leave to warm through in a pot cozy for roughly 10 minutes or sooner if there are fewer dehydrated vegetables added. I loved using Gossamer Gear’s Pot Cozy to warm all my meals. In addition to providing insulation, I used the cozy as my meal bowl and ate straight from the plastic bag with a long-handled titanium spoon.
Afterwards, simply wrap up the Ziplock bag and stow in your dirty bag to dispose of responsibly later. And the best thing. There is no further clean up required as you have only used your lightweight cooking pot/cup to boil water. How simple is that?
This meal is difficult to stuff up. Don’t worry if you get the consistency slightly wrong. Start with less water for a heavier Mornay-style meal and for a soup-like feel add more water.
As the ingredients noted above indicate, you are free to adapt this meal to your own preferences and add more or less of whatever ingredients you like.
It won’t win any Michelin star for fine dining but it’s the best meal I’ve eaten out of a plastic bag.
The more ingredients you add the weightier the meal becomes but if you have access to the Idahoan Mashed Potato brand it has a wide variety of flavours in its range with many of the suggested ingredients pre-loaded. Favourite flavours I enjoyed on the PCT included Buttery Homestyle, Baby Reds, Roasted Garlic and Parmesan, Four Cheeses, Loaded Baked and Sour Cream and Chives.