Saturday, May 21, 2016

Review: Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce

I've only ever had freeze-dried ice cream before. It was wonderful, weird, and the cheapest item I could find in the camping/hiking foods section of an outdoors store. What did "proper" freeze-dried food taste like, though? I am big into frozen, precooked, and regular dried foods -- good thing to put on my tombstone.

However, camping and long hiking trips were never my thing, so there was not a need to look into freeze-dried food. Canned and dried foods covered the short-term "emergency" supplies list well enough for a lot less. Why pay over CA$ 7.00 for relatively small freeze-dried meals that supposedly were good for long periods in storage? Curiosity got the better of me recently.
Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce Package
x1 - Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce (pouch)

Paid:  CA$ 11.99

Freeze Dried, Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce

Unboxing and Cooking
The Mountain House bag had indentations to allow for easy pull-opening. I didn't have any trouble tearing the top of the package of the Mountain House Lasagna off by hand. Inside, there appeared to be a zip-lock strip along the top to reseal the bag.

Since I wasn't away from any amenities, I decided to pour the contents of the bag out and cook it in a pot of water. The quantity of water used was approximately the amount specified on the back of the bag. Otherwise, I used the instructions as a rough guide. Since this was done on a stove with no lid and no timer, my meal was probably more cooked and more evaporated than if the directions were followed exactly.
Mountain House Lasagna: Straight out of the bag
How was it?
This was freeze-dried and looked like a crumbling mass of Doritos 15 minutes ago?

I was expecting something that tasted worse than canned food that felt powdery, inconsistent, and barely edible despite the roughly CA$ 12.00 cost. It turned out, in my opinion, to be a very nice and good tasting meal. The flavor of the lasagna was fairly well balanced, not too sour and not too sweet. I thought the taste of beef and tomatoes came out nicely, and the pasta was soft but not too soft. There was an expectation that the lasagna with meat sauce would be very salty or sour due to preservatives, but I didn't taste any of that. It seemed better than canned and frozen lasagna meals I had eaten in the past.

In terms of portion size, the amount of food was more than adequate for a single meal of mine. Splitting it into two separate meals probably would have worked out. Compared to a CA$ 1.50 box of Kraft Dinner, there appeared to be roughly the same volume of food in the Mountain House bag and it felt about as filling -- I usually use the same plate to serve a box of KD.
Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce: Cooked and served
But CA$ 12.00? That was expensive for a single meal. One of the cheaper meals at a sit-down restaurant probably would have been about CA$ 12.00. A restaurant meal probably would have required storage in a refrigerator and consumption within a few days before going bad though. According to the Mountain House website and product page, the shelf-life of the lasagna meal was supposedly insanely long -- I had to double-check the shelf-life and found something interesting about ice cream products.

A CA$ 12.00 bag of freeze-dried lasagna in a bag that came in the mail with no refrigeration. It was prepared without issue, the portion size was satisfyingly large, and I thought it tasted great. The price was the obvious issue, but the freeze-dried nature of the Mountain House lasagna with meat sauce provided some very interesting benefits related to storage and preparation.

Review: Mountain House Scrambled Eggs with Bacon

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