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Friday, April 1, 2011

Good Home Cooking?

dehydrator and contents
As we lurch into the Spring sunshine, an evil fug will be spreading throughout hundreds of households as backpackers across the land finely shred perfectly good food and spread it over the trays of a ‘dehydrator’ in order to reduce it to unidentifiable granules. After sweating away in a plastic bag for a week or maybe a couple of months, these will be reconstituted to a malodorous mass by the addition of a pint of boiled water, and consumed as a slurry seasoned with occasional dry woody bits.

This will be proclaimed to anyone nearby who might be eating something palatable as “just like it tasted at home” (which is a warning to avoid any future dinner invitations) along with more incredible observations such as “mmmm, the Yorkshires came out particularly well”.

A keen dehydrator devotee once offered me a flexible brown substance, accurately described as a “fruit leather”. Why anyone would want to turn perfectly good fruit into leather is beyond me, but I have to admit that in terms of appearance and consistency he had done a spectacularly good job.

So, no, I am not a great fan of home dehydrated grub. I love home cooking, but trying to convert it into trail food is the point where lightweight philosophy becomes hair shirt philosophy. Where food becomes mere fuel, a sort of biomass in this case. Home made dehydrated food may be very light - at least in theory. But is it really tasty? Does it really rehydrate in minutes? Having seen people forlornly poking and prodding at their home made sludge for up to an hour or more, I have doubts.

Platypus Wine Preserver
We've all got to eat, so why not simply carry an extra pound or two and make it enjoyable? A glass of wine of an evening is very nice too, and those good people at Platypus were quick to recognise that not all of us drink water, with the Platypus wine preserver.

So this year I have planned to take as much real food as possible on my Challenge crossing (bread, cheese, a bit of pickle, fruit etc) but there will be long interludes where weight will be a major consideration, and a bit of instant hot food will be required of an evening. Reliably quick and reliably tasty food too.

Yes, yes, you’re right, it’s got to be dehydrated meals – but edible ones please!

So, with chewing on old leather and reconstituted ferret droppings out of the question, and a diet of Smash and HP Sauce sachets equally appalling, I called Outdoors Grub* to stock up on my favourites from Mountain House and Adventure Foods, plus four Real Turmat meals for ‘to hell with the expense’ gourmet treats.

It took just five minutes – and the house doesn’t smell as if something’s died ;-)

* TGO Challengers – check your February Newsletter for Outdoor Grub's discount deal.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Alan Sloman said...

Thanks Phil!

That has reminded me to dig the dehydrator out of the loft and start the campaign!

On the menu for this year - a couple of Thai Curries, a classic "Nosh-up", and my personal favourite - Cheese Beignets. - Okay - the beignets are a little more difficult...

;-)

April 5, 2011 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Oh no,

Not you too. Believe me, when something has migrated to the loft it is for a very good reason - the loft is the white elephants' graveyard.

One mutual aquaintance even boasts of dehydrating mashed potato! Has the man never heard of Smash? This is dehydrating for no other reason than owning a dehydrator. He'll be dehydrating water next!

And if you think dehydrated Indian food is a good idea, consider these words:

Bombay Duck.

April 5, 2011 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger Alan Sloman said...

That's the Bombay duck sorted... now for the soufflé. With a little crème anglaise.

Have you tried my dehydrated pickled onions? To die for...

Word = "belli".... Hmmmmm

April 5, 2011 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Have you tried my dehydrated pickled onions? To die for...

I bet you say that to all the girls.

:-)

April 5, 2011 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger AKKW said...

'Dehydrated pickled onions!'
Please make sure you stay downwind of my tent when camped up on that ridge Alan.
I'm off to place my order at Outdoors Grub.
Dehydrated Cheese. That's another No No!
JJ will be by in a minute. He loves Witchetty Grubs and Leather laces

April 7, 2011 at 10:15 PM  

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