“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Food Test

One of the things about the mountain climb different from previous physical events I've done, is the need to carry meals.  Not just GU, meals.  There are certain restrictions, however.  First, it must be high calorie.  Second, I have to carry it in my pack (both pre and post eating it, so any trash leftover must come with me).  Third, I have to be able to "fix" it using only boiling water.

Enter the freeze dried meals....

On my Dad's first attempt at Rainier, one of the things that went wrong was food.  He had a freeze dried meal that just didn't agree with him.  We all know how bad that can be when asking your body to preform at a higher physical level.  I decided to apply my "nothing new on race day" rule with respect to running, to this part of mountain climbing.  (Certain things with mountain climbing, I can't really use until the day, such as the ice ax.  They sort of frown on using the ice ax around town, can't imagine why!)
My package from REI, 3 meals to try, and much needed sock liners
I'd ordered all the highest rated meals that I thought I could stomach from REI.  We realized the trip is getting pretty stinking close at this point, so we decided it was time to try one of these crazy things.  So, last night we had re-hydrated beef stroganof for dinner.  (I know, you're jealous).
The instructions and calorie count
I open the package, looked at all the yummy freeze dried goodness, and removed the oxygen pack.
We're all drooling right now, aren't we?
Then, I boiled water in my nifty water-boiler.
It has a lid, but it's not photogenic.
Then I combined the two, stirred the package with a nifty camping spoon (the same one I'll have on the mountain), closed the package and waited.  My Dad tells me that at altitude on the mountain, I'll have to wait triple the time frame for it to re-hydrate.  (They say it takes an extra time frame for every 5,000 feet gained in elevation.)  Interesting.
Everyone wants some, right?
Then we ate it.  It wasn't terrible.  But, it's off the list to bring with us.  Why?  When I go somewhere and order beef stroganoff (or make it myself), I can request no mushrooms.  (I'm anti-eating fungus).  Even though I know it usually has mushrooms, I wasn't expecting re-hydrated mushrooms.  Even Mark, who will eat mushrooms, found this not so appealing.

Working around the mushrooms, for a re-hydrated meal, it was actually edible and somewhat tasty.  But, I don't want to work around mushrooms on the mountain.  Luckily, we have two more of these fabulous meals to try.  I know, you all want invitations to dinner, right?
Mommy, I would rather eat your shoe.
The climb seems like it's just around the corner, oh wait, it is.  Definitely getting both nervous and excited!

Last night, in addition to all this tastiness, I tested out a brand new (and CHEAP) umbrella stroller for Grandma to use with Avery while we're climbing.  (Carrying our full size stroller, all our mountain gear, AND all our cruise stuff on the flight across the country just seemed a bit much).
Really Mommy?  Really?
It worked fine for the intended purposes, but I don't see it replacing the heavier one for normal stuff.

Some of you are saying - wait, cruise?  What cruise?  Did I fail to mention that we are doing an Alaskan cruise the week before the climb?  Tapering in style for a climb is essential.  :)

I booked our second excursion last night, a wilderness hike to a glacier.  It'll be a nice climb-taper activity to keep the blood flowing.  Wait - now you're saying SECOND - what was the first?  A glacier hike/climb where we actually get to use crampons. 
My crampons are on their way to Seattle, so you get a stock photo.
See, no new stuff on race day!  HA!

Have you ever tried a re-hydrated meal?  Any recommendations?

Of the remaining two flavors - spaghetti and chicken with potatoes - which would you try next?


  1. Wow, so many exciting things to look forward to :) !

  2. Go for the Chicken!! Better to try the meat first! I can't wait to hear about this trip when you get back!!!

  3. Spaghetti! The idea of re-hydrated chicken makes me a little queasy...
    I have always wondered about those de-hydrated meals, they are kind of fascinating so I'm glad you did a post on them!

  4. You must be getting so excited!! I'm intrigued w/ your food challenges during your climb. And I can't imagine your race report....can't wait!

    I'm starting to think about food as well, since I'm eyeing a 50 miler in the Fall. I'm lucky that my husband did this race before, so I can learn from him what went well or not so well.

    I hope you find some fungus-less (eow, I"m with you) delicious meals to fuel you on your trek!!

  5. Yeah, that just looks nasty! In fact, it looks like popcorn. Odd. I wonder if you could eat it like that without rehydrating it? Hmmm!

    1. Ew. Re-hydrated was bad enough - freeze dried fungus pasta? I know, I should be in marketing with that last phrase. :)

  6. I have no advice on rehydrating food, but it sounds wise to taste it in advance and see what you're in for. Alaskan cruise- so cool!

  7. I'm super excited to follow your journey with the hike and the re-hydrated food. Never tried any rehydrated food but dehydrated astronaut ice cream is yummy!

  8. Mmmmm.....I hope the next meal is a better success. That's awesome about the cruise--way to taper. :^)

  9. I hope you find a better meal!

    Very exciting about the cruise! We went on one for our honeymoon, but I would love to go on an Alaskan cruise.


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