Dehydrated Food and flying burritos

posted Nov 2, 2010, 10:54 AM by Paul Wagner
We've been backpacking for quite a while now, and we have to admit that there has been a general improvement in the quality of freeze dried food over the years.  When P first started backpacking in the 1960's, he used to take a lot of pasta and instant rice, and a series of sauce mixes.  He'd catch trout every night for dinner, and mix it with the sauce over the pasta.  Ever had Trout Stroganoff?  Trout Cacciatore?  Trout Goulash?  Those were the days...or not.
But these days you can get some pretty exotic menus right off the freeze dried shelf, from Salmon Diavolo to Katmandu Curry and everything in between.  We're not convinced this stuff is great, but it is edible, has some flavor, and seems to contain enough calories to keep us alive.   We add a bowl of Miso soup to start, and fill out the menu with some dried fruit, an energy bar or two, and maybe some dark chocolate M&Ms for dessert.  That's dinner!
And we tend to select these for their calories as much as for their flavor--although we were very happily surprised by a recent Biscuits and Gravy meal that had well over 400 calories per serving and tasted...pretty darn good.
But a few months ago we bought a food dehydrator.  We didn't really know how it would work, or how well, but we'd thought we'd give it a try.  And the first thing we dehydrated was a burrito from our favorite local taqueria.  We sliced it thin, laid it out on the trays, and left it overnight.  Unfortunately, we didn't take the trouble to weight the thing beforehand, so when it was dry, we didn't have a good idea of how much water to add later.
But that didn't stop us.  We took it along on our last trip and were just a little hestitant about how well it was going to work.  When we found a lake with fish, we decided to try the burrito--that way, if it didn't work, we had a backup plan.  We boiled the water, tossed in the shredded burrito, and let it sit.  Fifteen minutes later, we opened up the pot and started eating. 
Ay chihuahua!  This was the best meal we ever had backpacking!  Wow !  Rich, flavorful, and yummy!  The tortilla had turned into a kind of pasta, but the rest of the thing was pretty much as it had been made by Tania's Taqueria.  It was delicious. 
So now we're hooked.  We're trying all sorts of things, and not all of them work.  But we've started to look forward to dinner on our trips in a whole new way.  And that's a good thing!