On this last trip, we experimented with a few new ideas in the food and nutrition area. Usually we stick with our favorites: oatmeal with nuts added in for breakfast, salami and cheese with crackers for lunch, and a combination of instant Miso soup and the usual freeze-dried entrees for dinner. Add in assorted bars, dried fruits (apricots, blueberries, craisins, raisins, prunes...) and that's about it.
But (Full DISCLAIMER here) a very nice person from Tasty Bite had contacted us, and suggested that we might like to try a few of their dinners as trail food. We explained that we had some pretty specific criteria for our trail entrees: lightweight, high in calories, and they have to taste reasonably good. She suggested that we look at their offerings and see if we saw anything that might fill the bill. And (Full DISCLAIMER again!) she would send them to us free of charge.
Hard not like a deal like that! Admittedly, these are a bit heavier than our normal dinner entrees, at between 8 and 10 ounces per package. And the calories are in the 200-250 range...not as high as some of the freeze dried offerings, but certainly in the ballpark with others.
Sure enough, a few days later, the package arrived with six different entrees.
Now you have to understand that we are not about to take an untried dinner entrée along on our backpacking trip, and run the risk that one of our precious dinners isn't edible. So we tried the first one of these at home:
The Kung Pao noodles. We heated them up in a pan in about three minutes, let them sit there for another three minutes, and they were ready to go---couldn't be easier. How did we like them? Well, they were just a bit too spicy for M--she isn't as wild about spicy food as P, and she was not sure she'd want to eat these on the trail. But we were convinced enough that we wanted to give the company another shot---and we would do it on the trail.
So the first night in Virginia Canyon we heated up and served the Tasty Bite Pad Thai. Just like at home, this heated up easily in our pot...although we could have also done it by submerging the entire package in boiling water. Did it taste like Pad Thai from our local restaurant? Nope. But after a long day on the trail, this stuff tasted pretty darn good. The veggies were crunchy, the flavors were rich, and the noodles were filling.
A complete success, from our point of view.
Now, if we were taking a 10 day trip, and every ounce mattered, we would leave these at home, just based on the weight. But on shorter trips we often take a little something heavier in the pack for our first night, knowing that we won't have to carry the weight the rest of the way. And this was perfect along those lines.
Even better, since our daughter is a vegetarian, Tasty Bite offers a lot of different and interesting options for her---so when we hit their trail with her, we are certainly going to take some of these along. She's already excited about the choices.
Oh--and the Tasty Bite website has a bit of additional information about the company that we liked:
Over the years, we have engaged our community in a variety of unique ways. As part of our commitment to our employees, we provide amongst the best health insurance available in both the US and India. We have a scholarship fund for the education of the children of our factory workers. Tasty Bite has a disaster relief program, where food is moved to provide relief in the case of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the Asian Tsunami and the earthquake in Haiti. Tasty Bite also has unique programs in energy and agriculture. Today, 80% of the energy used in the Tasty Bite factory comes from renewable sources such as sugarcane byproducts and food and crop waste. Also, the Tasty Bite farm is used as a demonstration farm to educate community farmers on high yielding, sustainable agricultural methods. As we work toward delivering great-tasting flavors of the world to you, we strive to make a difference in our own community as well.
Sure, it may just be puffery. But it's on the internet---so it must be true, right?
At any rate, these are worth a look. In fact, we liked them enough that when our current small supply runs out, we'll PURCHASE a few more for our trips.
Can't ask for more of a recommendation than that.