Meals Ready to Explode

I’m on the fence about these newfangled eat-them-straight-out-of-the-pouch backpacking foods. I’m talking about those pre-cooked slabs of salty lemon-and-pepper tuna, mushy lentils, squishy soups and gloopy curries that smell like fungus. Sure, they’re convenient, and they are -stable. Eat them now, or eat them in 350 years, and you will notice no difference in mouthfeel, taste or quality. They also preclude the need to carry a stove into the woods. But the new MRE’s have a couple of slight drawbacks. For one, the “food” looks and smells vomitous. For another, the contents of these pouches are so pressurized that they sometimes explode in my backpack. During my trip to the Southeastern backwoods, a pouch of pumpkin curry self-detonated all over my mess kit, tool pouch, Maglight and sleeping bag. I was able to remove the larger pumpkin chunks, but even now, my backpack has an unbearable stench that attracts varmints, from possums to mice and all the way down the food chain. From now on, I’m going back to Power Bars, protein powders and meat stick.

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