This was my first MRE that I have had in a long time so I was looking forward to trying it. I picked this particular survival food meal because I like beans and rice and was curious to know how it would turn out here.
The preparation of the meal was very straight-forward. One advantage of the AlpineAire Foods survival food meals is that you can prepare them in the a pouches the meals come in. Although I prepared this in my kitchen, I could see how helpful this would be while out camping or where you want to avoid having additional dishes to clean. All that is needed to prepare the meal is to pour 2 cups of boiling water into the food contents in the pouch. I did not have any concerns about the pouch leaking because it was a well made foil pouch, and the closed foil pouch allowed the rice to absorb the water in about 10 minutes time. The only additional step I had to take was to initially food preppers stir the food but in all honesty the stirring did not even seem to be necessary.
After the food was ready, I took my first bite. I was expecting to be disappointed as my first experience with MREs had not been a good one. In this case, the food was actually alright. I enjoyed the rice that came in the dish as it had a nice warm filling taste to it. It was not near restaurant quality but was similar to what you would expect with a TV dinner. I really would have been fine with the meal but was a little disappointed in the black beans and corn. There is a zest to it that they call a “Southwestern Flavor” but this meal’s flavor misses the mark for those who have enjoyed good Southwestern style food. For whatever reason, the beans and corn did not seem to match what I am used to tasting from these foods in regular meals. It seemed a little bland and instead of adding to the taste of the rice, it instead detracted from the meal. With this said, I still enjoyed the meal in total and definitely see it as a good meal that would keep one full. Also, the fact that I could easily throw the container away at the end of the meal or burn it in a campfire made the meal an attractive option too.
If I were asked to give suggestions on how this meal could be taken up a notch. I would suggest adding a little more salt and pepper. In addition, the meal would be better if a “bread-type” product (like tortillas) were part of the meal. Doing this I believe would give the meal a greater range in taste. Also, if one had a little steak meat or slices of chicken, this could be added to the beans and corn.
I will have to eat a few more survival food meals before I can say where I would rank this meal. But I could definitely eat this Santa Fe Black Bean and Rice meal again. However, I believe there are also some other survival food meal options out there that I would probably opt for first. This product would definitely be on my overall list of meals to get, but it would not be one of my top choices.