Fr Z’s Kitchen: prepper food edition


I recently put on the side bar of this blog a widget with a link to some freeze-dried ready meals. Add boiling water to the package, seal, wait, eat. I ordered some.

Today I got out my little stove and gave one a whirl.


Optimus Crux Lite Stove With Terra Cook Set

It took about 4 minutes to heat the water.

Tear open the bag and take out the desiccator.  It ain’t a flavor pack.




Add your 2 cups of hot water.


Give it a good mix around to distribute the water evenly.  Seal the bag with its ziplock. Wait about 15 minutes.

Another company has one that takes the same amount of water but takes 8 minutes.

Ready to eat!  Sorry, photo didn’t turn out.


Let’s be clear about something.  The Chile/Mac was not “gourmet” food.  But it wasn’t awful.  This is probably going to be my summary of the different meals.

The pouch provided 2 servings totaling 340 cal.  The sodium was pretty high, but if you are in a situation where you are working and sweating a lot, you would need it.  They will store of a long time.

The packs are pretty light at 193g (6.8 oz).  You could have a few in a go bag.

I think people should make preparations for … problems.    Even if you are not prepping for … events, having a few of these around could be handy.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Fr. Z's Kitchen, Global Killer Asteroid Questions, Semper Paratus, TEOTWAWKI and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. tjg says:

    I would be curious if there are any issues with cooking in a bag. When we were in BSA (before they caved in to the GLBT community), we used to cook eggs in a bag. A simply process, the idea is to mix the eggs in a ziplock, seal it, then place it in boiling water over the fire.

    Any way, a few months ago they came out with a warning about possible outgassing from the plastic getting into the product and a statement that this was no longer recommended.

  2. acardnal says:

    Fr. Z, have you ever tried MRE’s and how do they compare?

    [I’ll add MRE’s to my wishlist.]

  3. Matt R says:

    After two Philmont treks, I have found that when in a group, you waste more food when cooking in the bag. It is preferable to cook it from the pot, and clean the pot and bowls. However, we are talking emergencies here. I would first eat out of the bag if water is an issue, and then eat it cold, a la the British Special Air Service on hard routine. Spices will lose their flavor, but it is worth keeping them around to enhance the flavor. Also, you probably can use less water at the start, and then add more.
    acardnal, MREs are nice because they are a complete meal, but awful, in my opinion. I would use the Philmont menu to see what kind of snacks they provide, and then purchase those-or whatever you’d like, really- to go with the backpacker-style freeze-dried meals. The Philmont snacks are tasty, for the most part. In fact this chili mac is on the menu!

  4. Maltese says:

    As an ex-FBI Agent, and a guy who has climbed Mt. Whitney and peaks in the Sangre de Cristo mountains into the winter, I’m qualified to say I’m a ‘prepper’. You’re not going to survive more than a week with some freeze dried stuff.

    Although I’m a TLM Catholic, I admire my Mormon friends who hold a year’s worth of food.

  5. Andrew says:

    Looks like these could served in zero gravity spaceships. Good for future trips to the moon.

  6. Maltese says:

    Also, they have self-contained little stoves that burn wood. But I have an AR-15, and a Vietnam-era Gerber dagger. I don’t eat much, although I still do over 200 push-ups per day.

    If people come marauding at my door, there is going to be serious trouble.

    And I’m a regarded attorney. I like raw sushi, and am otherwise a vegetarian. I have red state politics, and blue state tastes. I’m a dichotomy. But I’ve been trained by my government to kill.

  7. Maltese says:

    Just remember, the next threat is going to be cyber. If hackers shut our lights off, we will start hacking each other…

  8. StJude says:

    My goal is to have at least 6 months of food stored. And I need to get a gun.

  9. acardnal says:

    Maltese, I agree with your prediction that the threat is a cyber war.

    It will be very uncomfortable for Americans who rely too much on their electricity, computers, the internet and cell phones. They won’t be working. Neither will the ATMs or gas pumps or cash registers. Just think of everything that relies on electricity. This is going to be caused because of a nuclear war but because some malevolent person or entity somewhere in this world has sabotaged the electrical grid using a Trojan/virus/worm.

  10. acardnal says:

    Correction: “This is NOT going to be caused. . .

  11. Cyber attacks.

    EMP from weapons or CMEs.



    Economic collapse.

    But there could be more localized events too. Think about the poor people who have to flee from floods, fires, storms.

  12. acardnal says:

    All good points, Father.

  13. Kathleen10 says:

    There is a very good little stove that uses bio-mass (small sticks, pine cones, dried grass) called a Deadwood Stove. Neat little thing to have on hand. Can boil water, cook a hamburger (if you have one) or other items, and just uses what is available in the way of sticks! (propane only going to last so long) It’s also made by two Texas boys, which I like!
    Solar ovens are good too. I did get one, and will be spending the summer figuring out how to use it. Also going to be canning for the first time. Hey, we just do what we can, do a little at a time, and do as Padre Pio said, pray, and don’t worry. Then again, Padre Pio didn’t see Obama in office.

  14. Kathleen10 says:

    I just read that with a shoe box and a glass jar, you can cook things like hot dogs or pasta. Paint the jar black on the outside, and line the box with foil. Put the whole set up in the sun, and in 20 minutes or so, it should cook the hot dog or other food. I mean, the concept it there and you can apply it to many different setups. Reflective material + sun + black cooking container = food or maybe boiled water. A parabolic shape like a satellite dish, covered in reflective material (on the inside) can focus a laser like light on items and light them, or boil them, or cook them. It seems best to diddle with these things while you can, rather than rely on them later, when you haven’t. Summer’s coming, the best time to diddle. Make prepping tips part of your summer reading material!

  15. Sheesh. I’ll be living on grass and sticks.
    Good idea to prep for lack of supplies and electricity. Investing in mechanical tools and pre-industrial methods is a safe idea.
    Thanks for the ideas, fellow commenters.

    Whatever the method, EMP or occupation by brutal forces, we need to plan a way to eat, plant, and survive.

    I’ve been considering more and more the idea that a sneaky Russia subjugating us all is a near reality. We think the cold war is over, the Berlin Wall is fallen but acceptance of Marxism/socialist ideas is global, monarchies are quashed – something’s awry for sure. Our Lady warned us about the spread of the errors of Russia, and included in her warnings from various sources are references to war of unprecedented suffering.

  16. Elizabeth D says:

    I have a real MRE here that my dad, who is retired Army reserve, sent me (a vegetarian one).

    But see, I don’t admire people who have their storehouses full. I admire a disabled Quaker lady I met who bought her food one day at a time, I knew her somewhat, was at her house and saw for myself, and that kind of blew my mind. My experience as a poor person is that it’s true that “for the poor, food is money,” for instance I really think I’ve scored if someone gives me some free food or when it’s apartment move-out time and people discard all kinds of perfectly good food which I have no shame fishing out of the dumpsters (cans, boxes of pasta, open but 95% full fresh 3 lb bag of quinoa, likewise open but 95% full fresh 3 lb bag of walnut meats, I tell you that is money), and I tend to buy food when it is less expensive and then have it on hand for when I want it. Which is okay of course. But I admire the lady who had her food one day at a time.

  17. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Padre Pio saw Mussolini and Hitler in office. I think he was qualified to opine on this topic.

  18. Weetabix says:

    I’m a sucker for little stoves and cook sets. I’ve got scores. I think for cooking/weight ratio, the soda can alcohol stoves win. But I love the little canister stoves, too.

    MRE’s are fine for their intended purpose, but they’re heavy. If you’re going to be moving about, you’re better off with the bag meals, a wood-burning stove, and a water filter.

    I’ve heard that the MRE’s can … er… make you need less toilet paper than might be comfortable.

    Don’t forget the bagged noodle side dishes – Knorr, Lipton, etc. Cheap, easy, and just add water & heat.

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