We are now carrying Meals Ready to Eat – (MRE’s). Many many requests for a good MRE product have come in over the years, and we actually spent a good deal of time trying to source them about 2 years back. Back then the companies that were producing were in various stages of either merging, closing, or so swamped with government orders that we weren’t able to get any solid commitments from anyone. So we simply didn’t have any product to bring in. And production in Canada has always been basically non-existent for MRE’s, so that doesn’t help. We are happy to report that we have finally been able to secure goods from a reputable source. This MRE is made in the USA by the same company that makes the military versions. And of course, we needed to do our due diligence and try them out.
One of the biggest concerns with MRE’s is taste, and I’ve read plenty of reviews about people who would have rather eaten the box the stuff came in, than what was inside the box. I’m happy to report that our first experience with a Meal Kit Supply MRE was quite good.
Here we go…
We started out by trying the Vegetable Lasagne Meal.
Orange electrolyte crystals
Cocoa beverage powder
I have been doing a lot of reading on these particular MRE’s, so I almost had the instructions memorized. Take the MRE main dish out of the cardboard box, open the heater pack and pour in 2 ounces of water – or fill to the line shown. (The instructions are all quite good too, plain, simple and straight forward.) Done.
Wrapped up the lasagna in the heater pack and set it against a log to hold it up. Set the timer on the phone for 10 min. Then put my hand against the heater pack to see if it was going to actually do something. I’ll admit, I’ve had way too many cold meals on the tops of mountains due to faulty heater packs. Not exciting.
This heater pack took about 45 sec to get going, and within about 2 min it was too hot to touch.
While we waited for the lasagna to warm up, we popped open the crackers and jam for our appetizer. Jam has never been my favorite, but this jam on crackers was very nice. No qualms on this part.
Next, I opened up the orange drink. Added a cup and a half of cold water, mixed it up. I folded down the top of the drink bag and shook it by hand as per the instructions. Must not have been holding the flap tight enough because some of it shook out of course and got my hand all sticky. Good thing there is a wet nap included! So next time I presume that I will just use the included spoon to do the mixing and save the clean up.
Sorry about the pic, we drank most of it before I remembered to take a pic. That cup was basically full to begin with.
We decided that it was basically orange Gatorade. Taste was good, and even with just the 30 seconds of mixing, it wasn’t granular or anything like that.
Next, took the cocoa mix. It comes in a zip lock type of bag, so I added the appropriate “to the line” amount of water, closed up the zip lock and shook. No spillage on this one. Then I placed the cocoa drink in between the heater and the log to see if the heater would heat up both at the same time.
The heater pack did a decent job of such, but after I pulled the main dish out, I then wrapped the heater pack fully around the cocoa pack. The heater pack was still pumping off the heat, this after 10 min. So it seemed like it should work, and sure enough within about 2 min the cocoa was letting off steam.
Opened up the lasagna main dish. The picture shows about 3/4 of it on the plate, so its a decent portion. Remember we had two mouths to feed with this taste test! – so we had to share. (sort of)
And the verdict on taste… not bad at all! I was actually quite impressed. If this was the cardboard that some people talk about, I’ll happily eat this cardboard any day on top of a mountain, or when I’m bunkered down.
The meal was warm, but not scolding hot, so the heat pack did its job just right in the 10 min called for. I was also a little concerned being a happy meat eater that this was “vegetable” lasagna, but honestly there was no issues there either. Tasted like normal lasagna. There were beans, and the beans weren’t hard or crunchy like you sometimes get in pre-prepared food. It tasted just fine.
And there is the cocoa mix. First sip proved bland, and I’m not a coffee drinker so none of the included coffee additives mean anything to me. But I spotted a packet of sugar and thought I would experiment. Poured the whole packet in and mixed it up. Sip #2. Wow, now I’m on a sugar high. Who wouldn’t want a sugar high while climbing a mountain? Not bad, and should it have been a cold day, would have been a happy addition to the meal.
Something I noticed: the heater pack continued on very hot for a good 20 min after its 10 minutes cook time for the main dish. At about the 15 minute mark I shook it up, wondering if that would re-engage it, and it certainly did. I’m almost wondering if the longevity of the heat pack is a bad thing, in most scenarios I can think of, after eating for about 20 min, most surely you are ready to be on your way. But the heat pack was no where near ready to be disposed of or packed up. Can you pack up a hot heat pack safely some how? I’ll need to get some further intel on that one.
Last but not least, dessert. A fudge brownie. Looked like a pretty solid slab of brownie, and it did not disappoint. Flavor was good, texture was thick. Could have been made better by a scoop of vanilla ice cream ( did you hear that Sokopak?), but once again, for the mountain top, the tent, the bunker or the backyard – not bad at all.
I was very impressed over all by this meal. Two of us were filled to the brim when it is suppose to be a meal for one.
Now a recap and final ratings, and my rating system is based on apples to apples – so camping or survival type food – not gourmet restaurant. So a 10 would be an awesome campfire meal, and 0 would be eating the marshmallow that just fell in the mud:
Vegetable Lasagna – 8 out of 10
Zapplesauce – no rating here – we both tasted it, but neither of us was into it, or not into it.
Fudge brownie – 7 out of 10
MRE cracker – 8 out of 10
Grape jelly – 8 out of 10 (suprisingly)
Orange electrolyte crystals – 7 out of 10
Cocoa beverage powder – 7 out of 10
Hot sauce – didn’t try it, not hot sauce fans in this home.
Concluding statement: Very satisfied and impressed. It wasn’t steak @ the Keg, but it certainly wasn’t cardboard either. I’m happy to see a heat pack that actually works, even if it was a bit of an overachiever. Overall there were quite a few smiles and laughs as we had our MRE supper. We will be trying a few more of the meals over the next few days and I’ll try to report those as well. If this Vegetable Lasagna is the quality of meal in this MRE pack though, I can truly say I will have no problem sticking a few cases of these in my personal preps.
Your turn to try it out… you can find these MRE’s on the Briden site here.