Back Country Cuisine meals are made with simplicity and convenience in mind, and if you have your staple of favourite dishes then it’s reassuring to know you’ll be getting the same meal each and every time you pack for a trip.
The meals might be always reliable but we humans are weird and wonderful creatures and we always try to find a way to put our personal and creative touch on even the most straightforward things - and for some, preparing and consuming a Back Country freeze dried meal is no different.
Sometimes circumstances dictate a requirement for ingenuity, other times it’s just our own idiosyncrasies that complicate what should otherwise be a very simple three step program to quick and delicious nourishment.
In this article we pull from our time in the hills observing mates at dinner time and how they have personalised their Back Country Cuisine experiences, for the better, and for the worse.
Who would of thought that just adding boiling water to a pouch could be so complex and at the same time so entertaining!
This is usually the domain of someone who has forgotten their eating utensil, and history would show these types are likely to be a repeat offender in this area. There are those who will forget something every time, no matter how hard they tried to be prepared.
But hey, there’s a lot worse things you could forget, like boots for example (true story), or toilet paper – so leaving your trusty eating utensil back at home or at last night’s campsite isn’t going to be the end of the world.
Method number one is to make yourself a set of custom back country chopsticks. Just find a couple of straight enough looking sticks (Beech is nice) and get your whittle on. Chopsticks still won’t be the easiest tools to use to eat your Back Country meal with, but if you persevere and use more of spoon + scoop technique you’ll get there eventually.
Method number two is to use the top tear tab of your Back Country packaging. By folding it in on itself you can create just enough structural integrity to scoop out a small mouthful at a time while saving on one less dish to clean afterwards. Be warned, there is a limit to the load bearing nature of this technique and if you push it too far you’re likely to end up with a lot of dinner living in your lap. So slow and steady is winner on the day.
The ultralight, fastpack, trail blitzing, no time to spare crew wouldn’t dream of packing a cooker with them so you know a nice, warm cooked meal at the end of the day is out of the question. Don’t even think to ask them about the joys of a simple cup of tea without having the inefficiencies of caffeine in hydration being pointed out to you. We want food, we want it now and we sure as hell don’t need a cooker to get the job done.
So while you’re out there battling the elements trying to get your water boiled, they’ve already rehydrated their breakfasts, fruit snacks, smoothies, or desserts, and are ready to hit the road. Half the time they don’t even stop to eat. It can be a hard crew to keep up with.
That is the question. Do you go for the convenience of the tear off top section of the pouch to create a handy bowl and keep your cuffs clean, or will you leave as is and use it as a convenient, resealable pouch for the rest of your meal rubbish and easy recycling when you get home? Both have their advantages but some would say the tear off tabs are there for a reason…
Making a delicious and nourishing hot meal couldn’t be simpler than preparing a Back Country Cuisine meal. It only requires three easy steps and it’s job done, but occasionally you come across one member of the group that manages to stuff it up, and it’s usually through impatience.
The recommendation on the packaging is to wait for “at least ten minutes”, which for some people means “seven minutes is close enough” but, understandably, they might be feeling extremely depleted after a long day on the track and have been dreaming of cracking into a large serve Roast Beef & Vegetables for a few hours now, so what difference does three minutes make? There’s also a reasonable chance that in their race to sustenance they have neglected to give things a thorough stir too, further compounding the eventuality of a mostly rehydrated dinner with a few crunchy bits in the mix.
Of course they’ll grin and bear it, but you know on the inside they’ll be thinking if only they gave it another five minutes…
They’re out there, and there’s more of them than you think. The “only eat the Cooked Breakfast” types. Now, without trying to pigeonhole too much here this is usually the realm of a 14-21 year old male who knows what he likes, and likes to stick with what he knows. And it’s large serve, three times a day for these growing boys. Why mess with a good thing?
There’s always one. The person that insists on eating their meal out of a pot or plate even though the pouch is the ideal, mess free approach. Perhaps they’ve watched too much Masterchef and live by the phrase “people eat with their eyes” as they put the final touches on their meals by sprinkling a few beech and manuka leaves on top. It’s the extra 5% that makes the difference right?
After a few days in the hills dining can get monotonous so why not spice things up Donald Trump style and start making some deals, the best deals ever. Like kids comparing packed lunches, an offer for exchange is in the making. How about two smoothies for that Fish Pie? Throw in a muesli and you’ve got yourself a deal.
Hard bargains are driven and mistakes are made in the heat of the moment that you’ll regret over the coming days.
When all else fails and sporks, sticks, and pouch tear tabs just won’t get the nutrition in you fast enough, just get hands on. Literally. And go full caveman. Ugh ugh ugh. (just remember to let things cool first!)
Feel free to share this article and let the world know if you or your adventure buddies identify with any of these profiles – and if you have any of your own bespoke methods, or have observed some outlandish preparation and consumption of Back Country Cuisine meals in the wild, then please drop us line and we’ll add it to the list.
This is a safe space and we promise to keep your identity a secret…
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