Meals, Ready to Eat?

What do you eat and drink on the playa? Share ideas, recipes and advice here.

Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby Hazumu » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:54 pm

How well do Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs) work in BRC? Pros? Cons? Favourite menus? Menus better left at home? What's the gifting potential of MREs you don't need (as for example, you got gifted a meal elsewhere?)
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby Rice » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:05 pm

Hazumu wrote:How well do Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs) work in BRC? Pros? Cons? Favourite menus? Menus better left at home? What's the gifting potential of MREs you don't need (as for example, you got gifted a meal elsewhere?)

I have had the freeze dried meals (ok), canned food (just store the can in your tent - vola hot meal - okay-ish), have'nt had a MRE yet.

All I know is that ones appetite is much lower than in the default world. When its 110F and you are coming through a 5 hour dust storm, your urge to cook will be low.

Be sure to try anything you are thinking of taking at home, before going on the playa. How good is it? How much garbage will you have afterwards? (can you remove some packaging to reduce the eventual garbage??)
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby lemur » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:08 pm

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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby ragabashpup » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:19 pm

Why is the top of that cats head all red..

Go with canned food and fruit leathers and granola bars if you are thinking of the MRE route.
I do know people that eat MREs and enjoy them out there but these are also the same people that eat MREs in the default.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby moonrise » Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:16 pm

This thread helped me a lot.

viewtopic.php?f=276&t=35430&hilit=non+cooler+based+food#p574229

I always bring some fresh fruit and veggies, always!
If some go bad, I don't mind bc they're cheap enough (apples, oranges, carrots etc) to ziplock baggie them tightly if/when they go bad and I throw them away after the burn.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby trilobyte » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:56 am

Personally, not my thing. My girlfriend and I prefer the idea of not just surviving, but thriving and eating really well on the playa. To keep meal-prep times down, we pre-cook what we can and use a vacuum sealer to keep it fresh in meal-sized portions.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby International Incident » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:27 am

I thought long and hard about MREs - but really they don’t taste very good, and if you are only out at BM for a week you have so many better options.

Hummus - packed carrots and celery. Very, very tasty. Does involve having an esky (cooler)
You can get canned hummus - have that with crackers - also very tasty.
Boiled eggs.
Lettuce lasts a few days in an esky
Jars of pickles (great hangover cure)
The thread moonrise mentioned is excellent.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby Sham » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:27 am

I've made a few MREs at home just to see what my thoughts were. They tasted pretty good considering that they were manufactured to last for 20 years in the packaging. It did however cause major havoc to my digestive system that lasted a full day. If I were in a bomb shelter for several days or weeks, this would be the choice of food, but I don't think I would do this willingly if there were other choices.
On the playa, you can bring frozen foods and put them on dry ice, or as someone suggested, canned foods of every type. Fruit cups, energy bars, beef jerky, breakfast cereals and soy milk. So many other choices than MREs.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:59 am

Also, they are designed to feed soldiers in the field, and each one has a full 2000 calories (or so). Great if you're humping a backpack, weapons, and the like for 20 miles a day. Overkill for the playa, where many appetites go down.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby The CO » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:06 am

MRE-3 lies in 1!

On a serious note, it's good to have a few around on playa as backup, but I would not eat nothing but them for the entire week.

Keep one in your backpack in case you are away from camp for a long while- you can not only eat from it, you can gift/trade the many goodies inside.

One year, we gathered MREs & altoid tins all year, and mad little gift packs out of the gum/tabasco/candies. Plus, late at night when the JOTS ran out, we handed out the single use 1-ply TP that comes with them to people doing the 'which potty has paper' shuffle. That lead to me bumping into a friend I had not been able to find all that week.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby FlyingMonkey » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:07 pm

There is actually a lower calorie version of the MRE called a TOTM(Tailored Operational Training Meal). I have had many of them & they've really come a long way in flavor. They even come with a water activated heater pouch that will warm your meal up very nicely. I plan to have several with me for a "Plan B" but I actually intend on eating very well on the Playa. If anyone wants to check them out I will have plenty to give (gift) away because I really don't want to haul them back home.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby ranger magnum » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:31 pm

MRE's are a great idea. I eat them at home on occasion as well. Mine have a water activated heater to warm the main course.

Still, the "moop-vs-convenience" factor is high. You would be better off to prepare meals at home and bring them to playa.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby Max Callahan » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:15 pm

I went the freeze dried backpacking food (mountain house brand) route, which has a lot of the benefits of MREs (no refrigeration needed, easy storage, low effort), and have the benefit of being pretty tasty (if occasionally soupy).
You do end up needing some source of boiling water, I use a jetboil camping stove, since it's specifically designed to boil water quickly (it is hella fast). Further upsides are you eat out of the foil pouch they come in, so there are no dishes to do (besides 1 fork) and once you've eaten them the foil pouch squishes flat and ziplocks closed so your trash to pack out is really small and clean. Down side is, every meal is a hot meal, so you'll want _something_ to eat mid day that isn't piping hot.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby Foxfur » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:37 pm

Nothing wrong with MRE's. I ate 'em in the field and on patrol and still eat 'em in civvy life.
Moop is a non-issue. Never left a stitch in the field. Enemies tracking your ass is a powerful motivator to clean your shit up. The moop map is an even better motivator.
I never have eaten one hot. Too much work. Just leave the entree pouch on your dash or in the sun if you need it warm.
Spam is a kickass burn food. Add some Triscuits for fiber and you're set. Applesauce and fruit cups are your friend. Hormel Compleats are an awesome way to get good food that's shelf stable and need no heating. Just open and eat. way cheaper than MRE's. Don't forget the Tabasco sauce.
So many better things to do at the burn than cook.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby lemur » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:32 am

Foxfur wrote:So many better things to do at the burn than cook.


yeah..better things.. like, cooking!
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby ranger magnum » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:01 pm

I disagree about the cooking thing on playa. While we dont do extravagent meals, several nights during the burn we cook some decent meals. Nothing tastes better after a long shift than bacon wrapped shrimp!
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby dragonpilot » Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:21 pm

30 years in the military and ate everything from C-rations to MREs...MREs are better than Cs, but there are so many commercial alternatives that are far superior...like freeze-dried backpacking meals...not to mention off-the-shelf foods at the grocery store that require minimum prep time. All depends in how much time you want to spend preparing meals...and also the degree to which you manage to keep perishable foods fresh.

Breakfast: cold cereal with soy milk, chilled fruit cups, coffee/juice
Lunch: turkey sandwich piled high with romaine and jack cheese, chips, cold beverage
Dinner: usually something hot...pastas, canned stews/soups, big salad with Costco bacon bits, whole grained breads/crackers.

Snacks: chips, crackers, cookies, M&Ms, nuts, Wheat Thins, etc.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby lemur » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:02 pm

shelf stable bacon.

no fridge needed !! (well, until you open it .. and if you have leftovers)

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even in BULK!
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby KrisMuffin » Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:50 pm

I don't know if anyone's tried these before but it's an MRE co. out of England that uses real ingredients and even organics. The meals seem kinda upscale from what I know about military MRE'S (ROSÉ VEAL AND WILD MUSHROOM STROGANOFF?)A group of friends of mine and I may try to go in for a test order so it cheap. I've done some research review wise and from the few I've found they seem to be pretty good. Anyone thats willing to give this a shot please let me know how it taste!

http://www.thejollygourmand.co.uk/meals ... eady-meals
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:48 am

This my favorite from the MRE heater packaging:
Image

It's also fun to be creative with what the defence department gives you:
http://www.survivalgearsource.com/mre_recipes.html
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:44 pm

MRE's aren't bad, but I found doing fresh foods just as easy and a lot better tasting. MRE's also have this side effect - a friend says the initials stand for "Massive, Rough Excretion". :shock: I have some dehydrated and camping FD stuff as well (Love my MountainHouse), but fresh is still best.

Friend of mine (Oregon Red from MASH) showed me how to make a dry cooler - it's one of the greatest things I ever learned - edible fresh veggies after a week on playa is to die for. It's now a feature in our camp kitchen... because nothing is worse than soggy salad fixins and a loaf of bread flavored wtih soggy bacon water that's used for showers later...

The other trick is a dry ice double cooler to keep frozen stuff frozen as long as possible - One for Dry Ice, the other to act as your freezer. Keep the DI container off the playa floor, wrapped ininsulation, and sealed, only open it once a day to replenish the food freezer; you will sublimate it 10+ a day, give or take..
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby KrisMuffin » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:28 pm

Bay Bridge Sue wrote:MRE's aren't bad, but I found doing fresh foods just as easy and a lot better tasting. MRE's also have this side effect - a friend says the initials stand for "Massive, Rough Excretion". :shock: I have some dehydrated and camping FD stuff as well (Love my MountainHouse), but fresh is still best.

Friend of mine (Oregon Red from MASH) showed me how to make a dry cooler - it's one of the greatest things I ever learned - edible fresh veggies after a week on playa is to die for. It's now a feature in our camp kitchen... because nothing is worse than soggy salad fixins and a loaf of bread flavored wtih soggy bacon water that's used for showers later...

The other trick is a dry ice double cooler to keep frozen stuff frozen as long as possible - One for Dry Ice, the other to act as your freezer. Keep the DI container off the playa floor, wrapped ininsulation, and sealed, only open it once a day to replenish the food freezer; you will sublimate it 10+ a day, give or take..


What is a dry cooler? Easy to make/buy? I googled it but only commercial products came up.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby Savannah » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:09 pm

It's not a product, it's a technique. :)

Googled "dry cooler eplaya" (googling many a thing + eplaya is a great trick, then select "More results from eplaya.burningman.com »" to narrow it further) and found Bay Bridge Sue explaining her technique at greater length:

Waterproofing your cooler food?
viewtopic.php?t=46040&p=723463

And here's a general cooler thread, called Coolers, what size and how many?
viewtopic.php?t=3970
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby lemur » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:19 pm

Savannah wrote:It's not a product, it's a technique. :)



thats what SHE said!!!



err.. yeah.!! or something..
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby Foxfur » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:40 am

Here's a fun trick with the MRE heaters:

Take a cigarette and light it. Take a book of matches, open it, and spread the two ranks of matches. Nestle the cigarette between the ranks so that he smoke sits near the top so the heads are touching the body and pull it back to 3/4 inch (~17-20mm) from the match heads. Duct tape this unit to the side of the heater bag midway up the bag so that the end of the cigarette does not touch the bag. Fill the bag with 4 ounces (120ml) of water and roll the bag top closed, loosely, and place in a location of your choice. Be sure to place it away from flammable items. Or near them depending on your goals.
After a few minutes the smoke will burn down to the end match and set off the entire pack projecting a jet of flame from each side of the pack thus burning through the heater bag and igniting the hydrogen.
For a boom instead of a flame, place the heater bag in a 30 gallon trash bag that you've poofed up to include as much air as possible and close loosely at the top. Tape the ignition unit to the trash bag. The O2-H2 ratio will result in a stoicheometric (fuck spelling!) mix that will be all 'splodey like!

The field expedient ignition unit can also be used with time fuse, etc, to create a delayed ignition. Try this with a fountain or whistling pete and place in a fun location (golf course, ferris wheel seat, hoisted up a flag pole, etc) and watch / enjoy people's reactions...
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby ygmir » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:50 am

am I so warped, I thought when seeing the title to this thread, it was a pun and on a completely different subject........?.............
well, that question is sort of rhetorical, since I do know how warped I am.


I made a "super cooler" using a plywood outer case, 3" of rigid foam all around inside, covered in quilted insulating mylar ouside, and then put my 100 qt. ice chest inside, with things packed in ice, along with a smaller insulated bag with 20 lbs of dry ice........
the icecream was solid 8 days later.

but, it is dang big. makes a good bench/table though.
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby MyDearFriend » Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:58 pm

ygmir wrote:I made a "super cooler" using a plywood outer case, 3" of rigid foam all around inside, covered in quilted insulating mylar ouside, and then put my 100 qt. ice chest inside, with things packed in ice, along with a smaller insulated bag with 20 lbs of dry ice........
the icecream was solid 8 days later.

but, it is dang big. makes a good bench/table though.


:shock: I understand now why you have no sympathy for us mere mortals! :lol:
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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby Sic Pup » Sun Mar 11, 2012 4:13 pm



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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby Foxfur » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:43 pm

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Re: Meals, Ready to Eat?

Postby DoctorIknow » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:58 pm

Almost a cliche at BM: Tasty Bite

Leave in the sun or boil a pack, eat out of the container, no mess. Leave the bulky packaging at home.

Not one person in my camp can resist the Bombay Potatoes or the Bengal Lentils. I've gone out there with about 6 varieties of the Tasty Bite products, but generally they remain uneaten whereas the former are all eaten, gifted or begged away.

Never been constipated from them, , , maybe the rice cakes (good spoons for the sloppy MRE's) have the fiber to keep things regular...

Beware: although the Trader Joe brand look as if they are exactly the same, some may be but others aren't.

Go to their website, sign up for "notices" as every year, about a month or three weeks before BM, they have great sales if you order online. Also, search for Tasty Bite coupons...they are out there, or sometimes the company does free shipping if over some amount.
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