Bill S. or anyone else, Tasty Bite choices

8:09 p.m. on September 18, 2008 (EDT)
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I am always looking for different things to try in the backcountry, and I know that Tasty Bites have been mentioned on this froum in the past.

Weight is not a big concern, as we use packgoats to haul our food.

My question is - which Tasty Bite meals are your favorites? I looked at their website and there are so many to choose from. Thought I'd ask which ones you like best.

Thanks - Charlie J.

9:35 p.m. on September 18, 2008 (EDT)
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I like most of the ones I have tried. Trader Joe's has a version of their own, though I don't like them as well as the originals. The dal, lentil, and spinach ones tend to get used first around here, sometimes even for a quick meal at home. We add rice (of course). I don't think there are any of their varieties that we have not resupplied.

But, a caveat - Barb and I like spicey foods, so you might find some of the curries a bit too hot for your personal tastes (we eat jalapenos and serranos straight from the vine, as well as cayenne, so judge by that).

Like anything else in food for backpacking, try them at home before getting into the backcountry and finding they are not to your taste (like PowerBars, which become like bricks in cold weather and will break your teeth if you try to bite into them).

2:25 p.m. on September 19, 2008 (EDT)
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I had not heard of these, so I visited the site, am I correct that these are fully prepared "heat and eat" meals? I understand they are not dehy. but do you have to add any water at all?

I would like to try a couple, I routinely carry at least one "real meal" with me anyway. Usually a frozen ribeye, asparagus, and a potato.

6:28 p.m. on September 19, 2008 (EDT)
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Yes, they are "heat and eat". You open the cardboard box (assuming you didn't discard it in cutting down weight and bulk - they do have the contents printed on the seal), boil enough water to cover the packet (some are plastic, so you could microwave them, but others are foil, so no microwave), drop the packet(s) in for 5 to 15 minutes (depends on the particular meal, so write this on the packet in grease pencil if you carry them out of the cardboard box so you don't forget), fish it out (careful! boiling water! don't scald yourself!), tear open, and eat, with optional rice. They are amazingly close to restaurant Indian food (well, at least for pre-packaged foods), and actually quite tasty. The only "added water" is what you boil to heat the packet (which you can use for the instant rice or for tea). You can open the packet and heat the contents in a pot, but then you have a pot to wash. Eating straight from the packet means you only have your spoon to wash (don't need a spork, just a spoon).

They are heavier than freeze-dry, of course, but much lighter (and tastier) than canned food. At least one of the dals has potatoes in it.

7:05 p.m. on September 19, 2008 (EDT)
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Thanks, Bill. I ordered an assortment this afternoon, looking forward to trying them out!

12:54 p.m. on September 20, 2008 (EDT)
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Last night, inspired by this thread, Barb decided we should go out to dinner at one of our many local Indian restaurants, Passage to India. Problem is they have a buffet, with many of the same dishes as are featured in the TastyBite line. See, with a buffet, you *must* try everything (and thus overeat). It was great! However, the beverage (mango lassa, a yogurt-based beverage) is not on the Tasty Bite list, nor is the dessert (name of which I can't remember, but it is basically a spherical cake soaked in a very sweet syrup - yum!) Gained 4 pounds overnight.

9:05 p.m. on September 20, 2008 (EDT)
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Well Bill, at least you know how to loose the 4 pounds! Indie buffet sounds good.
What do couch potatoes do? Just get more and more out of shape I guess.
I'm glad I'm an active person.

12:26 a.m. on September 25, 2008 (EDT)
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I'm a huge fan of the Tasty Bite meal. The technology was developed for the indian military, and results in delicious, fatty, salty foods that are easy to prepare, and free of preservatives or trans fats. Fantastic.

In fact, part of the reason I backpack with ultralite gear is to justify bringing tasty bites! One a day, usually, unless it is a particularly long trip.

Here is what I do: remove the cardboard before packing, that removes a chunk of weight. Then wash or wipe down the foil package, the point of which will make sense in a moment.

On the trip, I boil a small amount of water for heating the pouch. I use that water to make tea (hence the reason for washing the pouch off before leaving). If it is hot out, I don't even boil the pouch, I just leave it in the sun for a while.

Once, at Conundrum Hot Springs in CO (the highest hot springs in north america), I jammed a pouch down into the hottest part of the springs to heat it up. Carefully ate it with a spork while lounging in the springs during a sleet storm. Close to heaven, gotta say.

Favorite brands:
Tasty Bite - always good, but expensive, and not always available
Trader Joes - great price, most varieties very good
Ashoka - found at many asian groceries, very good. I suspect Ashoka is the OEM for Trader Joes.
Swad - found at many asian groceries, but not as good as the above brands. Curries good, potato dishes a little weird.

Favorite varieties:
Palak Paneer - very good, especially the TJ and Ashoka brand, spicy, filling. Super nutritious on the trail.
Dal Makhani - buttery, lentils, very tasty. Lots of protein for vegetarians like me.
Madras Lentils - Like chili, but vegetarian and indian. Very filling and hearty.
Jaipur vegetables - Sweet dish, has fruit and cashews in it! Not as spicy.
Punjab Choley and Punjab eggplant - Both good, but very spicy! Watch out! More savory, less 'sweet' curries.

Give them all a try, and see what you like best. Some are sweeter, others spicier, others savory-er. You'll find some you like for sure. They are all spicy and oily, and preservative free, which is great for the trail.

Have fun. Even if you just bring one or two on a long trip, there are few luxuries like busting open a few tasty bites to share on day 4. One thing my dad, an experienced mountain guide, taught me was, after many days of clif bars and dehydrated beans, even the most dedicated "backpacking food" proponent will garrot their best friend with a spectra cord for a snickers bar or some real indian food. I prefer to keep them on my good side by sharing a little every few days. ;)

-Sam

12:40 p.m. on September 25, 2008 (EDT)
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Does anyone know of other foods packaged and prepared this way? I used to use "Magic Pantry", but, they were discontinued and I would be VERY pleased to find a supplier of Italian and other hearty foods done like this, ideas?

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