All time least favorite meal?

11:50 p.m. on June 7, 2010 (EDT)
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I went a week at Isle Royale with nothing but Balance energy bars. It was my first backpacking trip and I thought I was smart by keeping it simple. My buddy packed about 20 pounds of food and looked like he needed every bit of it! I decided that I made my bed and I had to sleep in it. I thought my bed was going to turn in to my coffin by about the fourth day. It was absolutely god awful. I still can't stomach the things nine years later.

3:28 a.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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The worst thing I have attempted to eat on the trail is without a doubt Mountain House freeze dried beef stew. The texture was like saw dust and the flavor was nothing like beef stew. It tasted like some other part of the cow that was scraped off the floor. I couldn't even force myself to choke it down without the gag reflex taking over. I promptly buried it under a big rock and boiled water for my emergency rations. I love a good beef stew, but this wasn't even close to edible.

The silver lining to this experience was in giving myself the motivation to experiment with creating my own recipes from staples like instant mashed potatos, stuffing, spam, foil pouch chicken, etc. I enjoy much better meals with almost the same effort as just boiling water for the freeze dried packs.

8:30 a.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Plain, dehydrated, scrambled eggs (without the benefit of any cheese, veggies, spices). We had an earlier thread on eggs and I tried eating them again this weekend, since we had one leftover packet to use up.

Not good at all. My spouse, who'll eat most anything, couldn't bear them either and neither of us is a picky eater.

However, my son liked them and actually said, "these are the best scrambled eggs I've ever had!"

8:37 a.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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An old Boy Scout side item: Richmore’s Zippy Cheese Spread on Richmore’s Pilot Biscuits. Zippy is a dry powder product you re-hydrate to a paste like consistency. It has a texture like cheap denture cream, a glow in the dark yellow orange color, and tastes like Cheetos flavored cardboard. Pilot biscuits are an unleavened flat bread product, off white in color, about the size of a 4” pancake, dense and hard like a hockey puck, and tastes like wood flavored cardboard. We used to joke that Zippy was a dual purpose item whose primary function is to coat the landscape to attract the attention of search parties or rescue teams. The pilot biscuits were so hard we played Frisbee with them, and joked they too were a multi function item, whose primary use is as a hand thrown projectile to defend against critters; one scout actually broke a tooth gnawing on one of these pucks!

My personal worst was a trip where we actually had the fixings for a great multi course dinner. As darkness came upon us so did a fierce wind, so strong it constantly extinguished our small primus white gas stove. Frustration eventually got the best of us and we combined all the courses, which resulted in an awful one-pot-glop, with semi crunchy partially hydrated bits suspended in a slurry that looked and tasted like someone got sink in the pot. To add insult to injury, the wind died down about the time we buried the remains of this sorry repast.

But the absolute worst was something two friends threw together for their dinner on a hiking trip that was like camping with Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble as out of control drunk Water Buffalo pledges. It was a hodgepodge pasta concoction, consisting of a so so marinara based sauce, with too much tarragon, sage, and salt added, canned smoked oysters added as the protein component, and Tabasco Sauce to add heat. I like all these ingredients, but combined thusly it was acrid, tasted like smoke flavored vinegar, and gave both these campers a bad case of diarrhea.

Ed

12:35 p.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Ed, I think I just threw up a little at that last one.

PowerBars are pretty nasty after the first one. But I would have to say the worst I've had would be when a buddy decided to boil some freshwater mussels in with the last of our rice. He cooked it until the rice was a paste, and without spices or other ingredients, and in the shells. An adequate description of the vileness is impossible.

2:13 p.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Haha, those are stories I can relate to, I bet this will be a long thread.

Although not a meal, I detest those little twin packs of cheese & sausage sticks in the little plastic wrapper. The ones I had to eat as a last resort (given by a friend) were a generic brand from hell. This was completely my fault due to not bringing enough food and I thought I needed something in my stomach for the hike out, I was wrong.

Nowadays I bring enough food for a full extra day. I also try to cook from dry store bought ingredients as much as possible, my stomach just does not like Freeze Dried meals time and time again.

I'm sure I'll think of more.

7:34 p.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Roast beaver! I once went trapping with a friend in the late 1970s. Actually the beaver was good, but seeing it come out of the water where it had drowned in a trap over two weeks before was not apetising. Amazingly it tasted better than it smelled.

8:36 p.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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The powdered eggs are starting to sound good...

10:41 p.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Man, funny stuff! I have a nine day trip coming up in the Winds in early July, reading this jive is inspiration for preparation. I hope the weeks worth of Balance bars will continue to be my "worst meal ever" story. It's funny what we stomach for a weeks worth of wilderness. Never in everyday life would I decide to eat apricots, almonds, beef jerky, M&M's, and dehydrators for nine days straight, but that'll likely be the menu once again. Everytime my wife and I hit the trail I pray that she has some secret stash in her pack that she's waiting to unveil. So far no luck there. I guess it's a small sacrifice for some down time in the sticks, plus it makes the Funyons and Orange Crush at the first gas station I see taste way better than they actually are.

11:36 a.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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Ok, I don't know about two week old beaver.

However, beaver that isn't so well "cured" can be delicious. The coat of a male does have a rather pungent quality, but the meat itself is a lot like venison.

Kleon said:

It's funny what we stomach for a weeks worth of wilderness.

Other than quick "on the go" meals of an energy bar, etc., I usually enjoy the trail food I bring pretty well. I will take vacuum packed things like chicken, salmon, tuna, or even beef, along with rehydrated vegetables, instant potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, cheese, pepperoni, oats, fresh and dehydrated fruit. All of the above packs well, doesn't need to be refrigerated, and can be cooked up quite tasty. For ease and expediency, some of the "just-add-water" prepackaged backpacking meals are pretty good too. During cold weather, or for the first day or so, I will sometimes take eggs and/or fresh meats, too.

5:04 p.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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Roast beaver! I once went trapping with a friend in the late 1970s. Actually the beaver was good, but seeing it come out of the water where it had drowned in a trap over two weeks before was not apetising. Amazingly it tasted better than it smelled.

Gary my friend,

No wonder you have biked all over the country, I would get on my bike and ride as fast and as far as I could after having to eat a meal like that.

I believe that water rodent meal may take the cake.

5:15 p.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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I believe that water rodent meal may take the cake.

A soggy, two-week-old, dead-beaver cake, now that would be gross!

8:34 p.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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Two week old dead beaver? I have eaten my share of beaver but would never eat that. ;)

4:06 a.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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Roast beaver! ..Amazingly it tasted better than it smelled.

Beaver always tastes better than it smells, but that's another thread!
Ed

2:14 p.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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The potential for comments on this thread to go horribly awry is reaching critical mass...

;)

5:15 p.m. on June 11, 2010 (EDT)
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The potential for comments on this thread to go horribly awry is reaching critical mass...

;)

:):):):):)

Yeah we've had critical mass before, sometimes started with PMD. Or also known as 'posts of mass destruction'.

6:58 p.m. on June 11, 2010 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

The potential for comments on this thread to go horribly awry is reaching critical mass...

;)

:):):):):)

Yeah we've had critical mass before, sometimes started with PMD. Or also known as 'posts of mass destruction'.

Maybe we should start a new thread on trail cleaning, dressing and care for Beaver? I have heard that the tail is really good.

When is Beaver season anyway? What is your preferred method to trap them?


I find the "hiking group" method to work with some success. The more the merrier you know, for finding beaver.

4:12 p.m. on June 12, 2010 (EDT)
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The worst meal I ever had while camping was when I was in the boy scouts and someone grabbed the wrong pot to cook the pasta in for a quick spaghetti dinner. The pot they grabbed was the pot we used for dish washing.

UMmmmm Pasta, spaghetti sauce & dish soap ....... needless to say we went through a over abundance of toilet paper.

Other than that I will have to agree with Alicia and the straight plain powered eggs are the worst.

8:59 a.m. on June 16, 2010 (EDT)
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One friend of mine always brings great meals on trail. Recently, on the Long Trail in VT he prepared a black bean soup. Unfortunately, he waited until the morning of his dinner to soak the dehydrated beans. The base was great, but I can't really equate the half hydrated beans to anything.

Unless you want to cook them for hours, soak the beans overnight.

3:23 p.m. on June 16, 2010 (EDT)
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One friend of mine always brings great meals on trail. Recently, on the Long Trail in VT he prepared a black bean soup. Unfortunately, he waited until the morning of his dinner to soak the dehydrated beans. The base was great, but I can't really equate the half hydrated beans to anything.

Unless you want to cook them for hours, soak the beans overnight.

Bean there, done that.

I often take beans, rice, pasta, etc. but you have to soak the beans at least overnight like you said. Instant rice is easy, and pasta is not too difficult, thinner or smaller pasta cooks the quickest.

I love bean soup with summer sausage, onions, peppers, and Southwest seasoning.

Once I ate some egg noodles with hot sauce, that's all we had and it was nasty!

6:23 a.m. on June 18, 2010 (EDT)
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I was with a group doing some field research on Isla Chiloe, Chile, that included both American and Chilean scientists and technicians. The leaders of the American group decided to save time and complication by bringing freeze-dried meals -- I don't remember what brand but they were pretty awful, one tasted like somebody had spilled white gas in it. The Chileans, of course, shopped for fresh food at the local market; weight wasn't too much of an issue because we used horses, complete with mate sipping gauchos, to haul stuff in. Night after night, the Chileans cooked up something savory while we poured boiling water in foil bags. Then one of them would see one of us spooning up our reconstituted stew and politely say "You want to try some of this?", and with a little polite hesitation the offeree might say "Uh, yeah, sure, I just want to see what it tastes like." And then to reciprocate we might offer a spoonful or two out of the bag, usually met with a skeptical glance at the bag and a polite "Uh, no thanks, I'm getting full." The moral of our story: freeze-dried meals may not be the worst meal I've ever had, but given a choice just about anything else is better.

Besides, in my experience, freeze-dried food generates a particularly evil brand of flatulence...

2:23 p.m. on June 19, 2010 (EDT)
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back in my days of boy-scouting, the thing to get on overnight hikes was MRE's from the local army surplus store. the nifty little pack came with everything you needed for a weekend backpacking trip. I couldn't resist the convenience of it all, so I stocked up. Nowadays needless to say I get more out of creating my own meals and recipes.

One trip, however, the MRE I had bought MUST have been way out-dated and expired (if possible) or had a problem with manufacturing. The main course was salisbury steak. I was excited because that particular MRE came with one of the token miniature tabasco bottles. After preparing the meal and noticing a semi-odd taste, I didn't think too much of it. Later that evening however I paid a serious price for taking the easy card out and buying the MRE. My stomach felt like someone had taken a hammer to it. Naussea followed. And the rest goes down in classic Boy Scout outing history.

Since my tainted MRE salisbury steak memory, I never have really gone back to the MRE's full force

If I really dug into boyscout memories, im sure i could find a whole list of unforgetable meal experiences...

9:00 a.m. on June 20, 2010 (EDT)
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MRE's are the updated version of the LongRat, (Long Range Rations) in Nam I would kill to get them. The other option was C Rations from the Korea war. My worst BoyScout meal was a winter camp were I took one of the chicken's you see spinning around in the oven at the grocery store. Those were the day's my friend!!!!

4:02 p.m. on June 21, 2010 (EDT)
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if I am going to have beans on a trip i will put some in a litter water jug and fill it with water then clip it to my pack and let them soak as I hike along the trail when I stop I will check the water level and just add to it if needed by the time I get to evening camp they are preaty will rehydrated and ready to cook.

8:17 p.m. on June 27, 2010 (EDT)
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I just tried to eat it and gagged. Macaroni salad from King Poopers. How could they sell it to human beans and expect them to eat it?

9:19 p.m. on June 27, 2010 (EDT)
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The MRE's available now are a big improvement over just a few years ago in my opinion.

They are also a better bargain compared to a 2 person freeze dried meal as far as I'm concerned.

The MRE's I have on my shelf now cost $8.00 apiece but will feed you very well. You can make one HUGE meal or two smaller meals.

The one I have in my hand contains:

1 beef steak entree

1 clam chowder entree

1 fruit bar (fig newton type)

1 bread & grape jelly packet

2 electrolyte replacement drink mixes (berry or something, very good)

1 instant coffee single

1 each salt & pepper packet

1 sugar packet

1 coffee creamer packet

1 spoon or fork

1 napkin

1 moist hand wipe

-----------------------------------------------------

For $7.50 I can get a freeze dried meal for two (Backpackers Pantry) which I do like, but all you get is a double entree.

So the MRE gives you a lot more food, drink, condiments, etc. for about the same price. You can repackage the MRE to cut down on weight and / or leave some of it behind if you want.

One additional bonus to an MRE is the heater that comes with it, this is a very lightweight plastic sleeve you slide your entree pouch into, add water to the fill line, and a chemical reaction heats your food piping hot in about 10 - 12 minutes. No stove fuel used. Leave the heater at home or bring it along.

I personally can not eat freeze dried or MRE's every day, but I generally carry a mixture of both along with store bought food, dehydrated from home, trail mix etc.

I have come to like the MRE's, although they are over packaged for backpacking.

To get back on topic, The first time I had an MRE was in 1986, my brother in law who was in the Army, gave me one, it was okay. Later he asked me what I thought of it, I replied "It was pretty good but the fruit thing was very hard to chew!" Actually I thought the fruit thing was pretty nasty.

He looked at me for a minute, then asked "You mean the pineapples?"

I said "Yeah....I guess."

He replied laughingly "Those were dehydrated dude, you're supposed to soak them in water for 20 minutes then eat then out of the pouch with the fork!"

Embarrassed I said "Oh, well you didn't say that"

He said "It says it on the packet"

I felt really dumb, but I'm still glad I was able to try them for free.

3:43 p.m. on June 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Powdered eggs are high on the awefull list.Havent had any for 30 years but this only shows what type of memory they have burned into my brain.I have heard there are some pretty good ones on the market now but with so many other good things to eat for breakfast why take the risk.

July 23, 2014
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