Hi - Just a short note. We've been on a buying spree of backpacking goods after donating our own older but nice North Face packs - we bought some Osprey Talon 44s and some day packs from the same company that we love. Most recently, tonight we're testing some freeze dried food - I have quite a few MREs in the house - when I was in the Gulf - we loved them - but then again I didn't have any warm food (I was a oceanographer on small boats). We just tried them again (I bought a case for emergency preparedness (earthquakes)) - and yuck - not good - or not as good as I remember. I'm attending a conference in Yosemite this coming weekend - and although it's too cold to be backpacking - this has inspired our night of tasting.
Natural High - Chicken Enchiladas. **** (four stars out of five). Tasty and fairly quick to make. Very savory but some reviewers have claimed that the food is too salty. The directions called for 2 cups of water and that seemingly was correct! Especially good with hot sauce. We would take this backcountry.
MaryJaneFarms - Wild Forest Mushroom Couscous. What is up with the name "Mary Jane Farms?" Apparently, the designer and developer of freeze dried food is Mary Jane. This dish however, was not good. Not palatable. Hint of an "organic-y" aftertaste. No flavor whatsoever and I can't taste the mushrooms. To be fair - some of her freeze dried options have gotten great reviews on the REI.com website - we'll keep trying them.
I'm glad we're trying these out before we go backcountry - last time our MREs were not as flavorful as I remember them.
Finally - one more gear review - JETBOIL personal stove. Fantastic - made both freeze dried foods above in less than three minutes (which consisted of boiling the water). Great device - can't wait to use in in the field.