Trying something new -Gourmet Rat-Packs

It is no secret that I love food.  Neither is it a secret that I am OK about trying new foods. Recently my daughter decided to do the shop for our dinner…at the local camping store!!

My initial reaction was absolute horror as I recalled the Curried TVP (Textured Vegetable Protien) deydrated meal that my parents acquired in the late 1970’s.  It was quite a big pack…..we kept it in our bus (Supertramp) and ate it for many a meal as we travelled the length and breadth of NewZealand.  It was hot, it was filling, it had flavour…. but I wouldn’t count it as being in the top meals I have ever eaten.

The decision to purchase dinner at a camping store was an impulse….we were wandering around looking for something completly different and stumbled upon the aisle of Dehydrated meal options….. WOW what a HUGE selection!!!  After careful consideration of the options we settled on two main courses and a dessert – each pack was designed to serve two people….and there were three of us…. so it seemed about right.

Roast Chicken & Mash, Cottage Pie to be followed by Strawberry Ice-Cream Dessert – All ready in as long as it takes to bring water to the boil, add, stir and wait 10 minutes.  For hubby, these reminded him of the Military issued ration packs affectionatly known as Rat Packs.   What could possibly go wrong?

Step one – Open the packets and inspect the contents while the water boils

Step two – Add the water, reseal the packets and set the table…….


Step three – Open the packets carefully and peer inside…Caution, may be hot. Stir again and serve.

Step four – Sniff – smells OK; Poke – looks like cat food; Taste – mash tastes like mash, Cottage pie tastes like cottage pie, Roast Chicken tastes BLOODY AMAZING!!!

OK its all a bit mooshy… but there are chunks of chicken, peas and corn all in a gravy that is full of stuffing flavour.   Consistent with my memories of dehydrated meals the vegetables hadn’t fully rehydrated in the 10 minutes so were still a bit crunchy – but the texture this gave was, at least, a contrast to the mooshy-ness.

Step five – Make dessert – with cold water and wait 10 minutes. As the dessert contained dehydrated strawberries we gave it a bit longer to rehydrate.

Step six – Serve and eat dessert. Sorry we were so excited that we forgot to take a photo of this on the plates…..and then it was all gone!!  This reminded me of a Girl guide camping favourite using instant milk pudding with marshmellows in it with the addition of chocolate chips and the strawberries. Very pleasant indeed.

For the total cost of the meal this was much cheaper than going out for dinner and was also cheaper than buying the ingredients and making the three dishes.  Nutritionally designed to meet the needs of campers, trampers and adventurers we were well nourished  and full – even though I chose not to eat the potato.

Dont get me wrong – this was not homestyle or restaurant quality presentation… but it was good, tasty, filling and a quick, cost-effective meal.

During the post meal analysis we took the time to read the packets and WHOOT…

DSC_1138 (2)

So what went wrong???   Nothing!!

Copy sent to Back County Cuisine.


6 thoughts on “Trying something new -Gourmet Rat-Packs

  1. I remember we did a Curry TVP on a couple of occasions, one in the North Island somewhere out of Napier, and the other at Mapua not far from Nelson! That was when one bus came in rather late [after 10:30 pm] playing the sound of a Steam train – Mapua railway lines had been removed some years before so there were a few surprised residents. The TVP was much appreciated on both occasions.


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