7.08.2016

My "In a Hotel Room" Review of Wise Foods Freeze Dried Food - Cook in Pouch Style (Noodles In Mushroom Sauce with Beef Flavor)




In June I did some solo cross-country traveling through the USA. I had a wedding in one state and a family reunion in another state and a family that was booked solid with work schedules so I was solo for this one.  I had a week free in between where I thought I might do some tent camping or touring around the Grand Canyon or maybe Mt. Rushmore as well as considering camping my way back home.

I didn't really have plans in place and figured I'd 'wing it' so I packed accordingly.  I minimized my always packed-ready-to-go camping backpack to a smaller one that would fit into the storage compartment in the car, and ordered two boxes of add hot water only and cook in the pouch meals from Amazon.  I chose Wise Foods Company Favorites 72 Hour Cook-in-Pouch Meal Kit.

In the end I didn't end up camping because it was hovering around 100 degrees, I decided to stay with my oldest daughter during that week 'free' between events and I didn't camp on the way home because it was oh-my-God-awful weather I ended up driving through for 2 days straight (white-knuckled, rain so hard you can't see through the windshield, cars going off the road, black skies and pray all the way through kind of weather).  Not tent camping weather.  So I stayed in a hotel on the way home instead.

And THAT is how this post came to be.

(Because I've had 3 cups of coffee and I tend to ramble, here is the rest of the story.  If you want to skip to JUST the review, well, skip down past the image of the Wise foods.)

On the way home I had booked a hotel with a chain I use pretty often in other cities but having never stayed in this area before, I booked online based on photos and reviews as well as trusting the 'chain' itself.  After a horrible, stressful, awful, black skies, tornado's, flooding and accidents-surrounding-me drive, I arrived.

Okaaaay.  Not exactly in the best location.  Thankfully JUST off the interstate by .3 miles but I got the heebie-jeebies.  I'm a blonde woman, traveling solo, in a not-the-greatest area.  I was starving and hadn't ate all day since I left the hotel early that morning 5 states away.  My plan was to fill my tank with gas so I wouldn't have to in the morning, and to grab some dinner from McDonalds or somewhere close.

The closest gas station was only about 1/2 block away. I pulled in.  Took note of my surroundings.  Glad it was 5:20 pm because had it been 9:20 pm I would not have gotten out of my car.  Sketchy area.  Let's just leave it there.  I tried to be as inconspicuous, quiet and focused as I could. Got gas, got out of there and I did NOT venture another block into the city to hit up the local McDonalds.  

I decided I would rather starve or eat from the hotel vending machine.

Back to the hotel parking lot.  Started to think I should see if I could 'switch' my reservation to the same hotel but a different location in the city.  I tried calling the 800 number.  Got someone in India who spoke such horrible English the only thing I understood was at the very very end of her rambling gibberish:  "May I have your name please?"
"Umm.  No.  I changed my mind.  Thank You."
Waited 30 seconds.
Called back - hoping to get someone I could understand.
Another babble-gibberish-can't-understand-him until he said "Mynameis Brandon. MayIhaveyournameplease?"
I WANTED to say;  OMGosh I am SURE your name is NOT BRANDON and I cannot understand a THING you are saying!

INSTEAD I actually said, "No.  I've decided not to do this after all.  Thanks anyway."

After the horribly stressful long drive across 5 states in awful weather and being exhausted, hungry, and not in ANY mood to deal with customer service people I cannot even understand,  I used my phone to look up the phone number of the hotel in town that I WANTED to switch my reservation to.  Hoping it would be an easy switch in their system (because it's the SAME HOTEL just a location 3 miles away in a better area).

Nope.
He said I'd have to call the main 800 number to do that.
I told him I already tried.  They couldn't speak English.
I asked him if I could just cancel the current reservation in the bad location and make a brand new one in his location?
Nope.
"It's 5:30 pm.  Anything after 5:00 pm and they'd charge you for it anyway.  They're real sticklers for that."
Fuckity Fuck. Fuck. Fuck

Needless to say I hauled my cookies into the hotel and made due.
But, there was no way I was going to venture out again to get food.
I don't eat sugar and I get sick from junk food since I almost never eat it.
That's when I remembered the backpack in my storage compartment! It has food in it!

And THAT is how I came to test the WISE FOODS cook in the pouch freeze dried food.   

I ordered 2 boxes of the pouches on Amazon.  Partly because I needed to get to the minimum order to get free shipping (I refuse to get Prime) and partly because I figured this:  When you are hiking and camping and it's time to eat, you are probably starving and ANYTHING tastes good. I had faith that these would be good enough to feed a very hungry hiker/camper and with a long shelf life (7 years) I knew I'd use them for one reason or another.  The other reason is because I have used their other products (the kind you cook in a pan over heat) and found them to be really good so I felt confident ordering 2 boxes.

I wanted something hot, filling and comforting.  Noodles in Mushroom Sauce with Beef fit the bill.  Pretty low sugar (3 grams) and I'm a sucker for anything 'mushroom' saucey.





I heated up the water in the microwave.  Had my hotel not had a microwave I simply would have heated it up in the in room coffee maker by brewing coffee without any coffee.  (Obviously if I was camping I'd heat water over the fire.)




I know from experience with 2 other brands I've used, that these meals usually need a tad less water than called for or they turn out a little soupy.  I decreased the water by a couple ounces, poured the boiling water in and closed the pouch to wait 12-15 minutes.


When I opened it, it smelled AWESOME.  Of course, you have to remember I hadn't ate anything in about 12 hours since I left the other hotel, 5 states away that morning, but it smelled so good.  The pouch says it makes 2 servings.  I will agree with that if you are not starving, and if you have something else with dinner as well.  I was so hungry I had no problem eating about 1 1/2 servings and then finished off the rest, being 'full' at that point.

DETAILS:

• 2 total servings per pouch

• 17 grams of protein per serving

• Net weight per pouch: 5.6oz

• Lightweight and packable

• 7 year shelf-life

• Perfect for camping and backpacking

• Made in the USA

INGREDIENTS: Pasta (Durumn Semolina Flour [Wheat], Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate [Iron], Thiamine Mononitrate, Ribo avin, Folic Acid), Freeze-Dried Beef (Beef, Salt, Spices, Flavorings, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Grill Flavor [Maltodextrin, Flavor {from Corn Oil}, Modi ed Corn Starch, Corn Syrup Solids]). Maltodextrin, Potato Flour, Food Starch - Modi ed, Sweet Whey, Coconut Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Textured Vegetable Protein (Soy Flour, Caramel Color), Natural Flavors, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Salt, Guar Gum, Sour Cream Powder (Cultured Cream [Cream, Nonfat Milk, Culture Enyzmes], Salt, Lactic Acid), Dried Onions, Dried Mushrooms, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Sodium Caseinate (a Milk derivative), Mono and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Titanium Dioxide, Annatto and Turmeric (for Color), Garlic Powder, Lactic Acid Powder, Xanthan Gum, Parsley, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate.

CONTAINS: MILK, SOY, WHEAT.

MY THOUGHTS:


  • Smelled incredible.  Tasted good.
  • As high sodium as these meals have, I still felt it needed a little table salt to bring out some of the flavor. I had a tiny packet in my purse (yes I keep random things in my purse in case of emergency; that being one of them).
  • Decreasing the water just a tad was right on.
  • It thickens up quickly after you open the package so letting it sit another minute or two 'opened' was a good idea.
  • I would gently squeeze the package during the rehydrating process to 'mix it up' a little as I just let it sit and 'cook' and the center noodles, meat and mushrooms didn't get as much liquid and I had a couple spots that had a bit of a crunch to them. My fault for not 'stirring' the package and getting liquid on all the product first.
  • It was hot, it was tasty.
  • It is not at all 'healthy' and I did feel sluggish and a bit bloated after eating it.
  • On a more personal note: it also caused some bathroom issues.  This really clogs up the system if you know what I mean.  I was happy I was at the end of my 2 week solo trip rather than the beginning AND I was happy I wasn't going to be living on them for a whole week.
  • I would limit this kind of meal to once a day and eat lots of oatmeal and fiber rich foods for breakfast and fruit and nuts for snacking to keep things moving along.

I'm happy with these meals generally speaking and I do keep some in the car along with a container of water in case of emergencies... like being in a hotel, all alone, in the middle of a bad neighborhood and not wanting to venture out after dark! Ha ha.



Related products available through Amazon;

Wise Company 60 Serving Entrée Only Grab and Go Food Kit (13x9x10-Inch, 11-Pounds)
Wise Foods Emergency Food Supply Favorites (Box Kit)
Wise Foods Company Favorites 72 Hour Cook-in-Pouch Meal Kit
Wise Foods Company Favorites 72 Hour Cook-in-Pouch Meal Kit