Taste Test for Emergency Food: Macaroni and Cheese
Following our own advice . . .
We recommend, “For emergencies, store food you normally eat, and rotate your supplies.” But some people ask me about buying “official commercially-prepared emergency food” from the various vendors, so I finally broke down and bought a couple of sample items to test.
Here’s my first taste test – between EasyMac (which I am sure most of you are familiar with, even if you don’t eat it regularly), and a package of Macaroni and Cheese from MyFoodStorage, located in Riverton, Utah.
Let me be clear. This was a TASTE test, and not an official comparison of preservatives, genetically modified ingredients, price per calorie, or recommended shelf life. Once you make a decision to purchase emergency food supplies, you can find detailed analyses of all these online.
Again, I was following my own advice, trying to find something I knew I would want to eat in an emergency, particularly for that key 10-day period after the disaster when life will be topsy-turvy and store shelves will be empty.
Here’s the taste test, step by step.
1. Follow directions. I made each bowl of macaroni following the instructions. EasyMac required the microwave. MyFoodStorage required (a lot of) boiling water. OK, I have to assume that the power will be off after the earthquake, but I DO have my camp stove, so boiling water is possible.
2. Time to cook. The EasyMac was done in four minutes. It took more like 15 minutes to make the MyFoodStorage macaroni. First I was worried that the clumps of flavoring wouldn’t break up, but by the end of the time, with constant stirring, they did.
3. End result. EasyMac was pale yellow, sticky and a little chewy — just how I like it. MyFoodStorage macaroni was orange and creamy.
4. Taste. EasyMac was what you expect: powdered cheese and macaroni. MyFoodStorage mac was – wow, flavorful! I checked – it has powdered carrots and tomatoes in there, and their flavor (and color) came through.
5. Nutritional values. Now, being a normal consumer, I DO compare labels on a basic level. So, per the labels, one serving has the following:
- Calories – 230
- Fat – 4 grams
- Sodium – 540 mg.
- Carbohydrate – 42 g.
- Protein – 7 grams
- Calories — 320
- Fat – 5 grams
- Sodium – 580 mg
- .Carbohydrate – 51 g.
- Protein – 8 grams
They look pretty similar to me.
Was there a winner? Well, it all depends.
If I had a crowd to feed, individual servings of EasyMac would be a real nuisance to have to cook. Cooking ANY individual servings would be a nuisance.
The big package of MyFoodStorage macaroni says it would feed 5 people. In my estimation it would feed even more than that. (I have leftovers in the fridge right now, enough for at least two more meals. I don’t think we’ll be able to use it all.)
If the test was on taste alone, MyFoodStorage was tastier. But would your kids eat it?
As for cost, it’s difficult to compare. I got the MyFoodStorage bucket (with six different meals) on a special trial offer online (just under $40). I bought my EasyMac at discount superstore Costco. So you’d have to do your own shopping and cost comparisons.
What’s your take?
Here are some of my “conclusions.” Do they make sense?
Remember, no microwave. So, my stores of popcorn, instant rice, etc. will be useless. I need to be sure I have plenty of food that doesn’t need to be cooked at all. Stove, pot, lid, potholder, water, dish soap, etc. — way too much trouble in a disaster setting! It will be a heck of a lot easier to open a can and eat directly out of it!
This means, of course, that my canned food supplies must be tasty and sufficiently nutritious. Right now, for example, the bottom shelf of my pantry looks full thanks to a case of canned corn. I love corn, but it’s not going to be enough to carry me for 10-14 days. (Rest assured, I have other stuff too.)
Since I will be using my camp stove to do any heating of water or other cooking, I need to double check that I have fuel and a starter for my camping stove, plus appropriate pots and pans. My regular kitchen ware is way too heavy for the camping stove burners.
Finally, we get back to the most important item of all: water. Gotta have water for drinking, for cooking, and, in the case of dried emergency food, for washing up.
OK, that’s it for today. Rest assured, this isn’t the last you’ll hear about food supplies, because I have another sample to test (potato soup) plus I really want to try some freeze dried food.
Let’s hear from you! Do you have emergency food supplies? “Official” or regular menu items? Have you tested any emergency food products? With what results?
Let’s hear your story!
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team
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