Wise Company meals - my review



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  • Wise Company meals - my review

    Below is my review of a few of the Wise Company meals. There is a lot of info out there in internet land about Mountain House, but not a lot about Wise Company meals. Enjoy! (also posted in Alaska Camping)

    Wise foods:

    1) Apple Cinnamon Cereal - should be considered an oatmeal, not a "cereal," since it is a hot breakfast and not a milk base. Way too watery. Instructions say to add 1 and 3/4 cups boiling water and wait 12-15 minutes. Opened pack after 15 minutes, was still soup. Took 30 minutes to become absorbed enough to resemble oatmeal, but even then still too much liquid relative to solid. Taste was good, but no different than any other oatmeal on the grocery store shelf, therefore too expensive for what you get out of it. Buy again? No. Not even if on clearance.

    2) Chili Mac - instructions called for 2 cups boiling water, 12-15 minute stand, which seemed to be adequate. Ingredients rehydrated about 90% at 15 minute mark (20 minutes would have been better). Taste is okay - like an off-brand Chef Boyardee. A little bland for me, had to add some spice to it (I am from Texas, so quite subjective). The mouth feel of the textured protein is a bit on the heavy side - not a turn-off, but you know it's there. Does have beans... you know what I mean. Buy again? Not a stand-out meal, but wouldn't refuse it.

    3) Noodles and Beef in Savory Mushroom Sauce - calls for 2 cups boiling water, 12-15 minute stand. Was still soupy after 15 minutes. Better after 20 minutes, but still on the loose side, 25 minutes would have been better. Rehydrated nearly 100%. Taste is okay - does have a little mouth feel of the textured protein, but not as bad as Chili Mac. Comparable to Mountain House's Beef Stroganoff (I like taste of MH recipe better). Buy again? Not a stand-out meal, but wouldn't refuse it. 25 minutes is really long when you are hungry.

    4) Cheesy Lasagna - calls for 2 cups boiling water, 12-15 minute stand. Still too loose after 15 minutes, an additional 5 minutes was adequate. Taste was actually pretty good - comparable to Mountain House, and did not have the cheesy, hard-to-clean spoon like MH. A little after-taste of textured protein, but not as much as the others listed above. Buy again? Yes.

    4) Teriyaki Chicken with Rice - calls for 2 cups boiling water, 12-15 minute stand. Was a little loose at 15 minutes, better at 20 minutes. Rehydrated nearly 100%. I do not like the Mountain House teriyaki, and I was dreading trying this one, but glad I did. Good taste - I can taste different flavors, like pineapple and chow mien. Not mushy but also not too grainy. No aftertaste. Buy again? Yes, I would. Best one from Wise so far in my opinion.

    5) Creamy Pasta and Vegetable Rotini with Chicken - calls for 2 cups boiling water, 12-15 minute stand. Still soupy after 15 minutes, better at 20 minutes but still not fully rehydrated. Very creamy, almost too creamy, like eating cream of chicken base that hasn't been watered down enough. Has a moderate textured protein mouth-feel. Heavy on the pasta, lean on the vegetables. Overall, taste is okay, but not a stand-out meal. Buy again? No, but I wouldn't refuse it if served. It's just okay.

    6) Pasta Alfredo with Chicken - calls for 2 cups boiling water, 12-15 minute stand time. Was thick at 15 minutes, almost too thick. I know I added the correct amount of water. Did not seem like two full servings, more like 1 and a 1/2. Could have added another 1/4 cup and would have been perfect consistency, and more like 2 servings. Rehydrated fully. Salty (not bad salty, but certainly did not need additional salt). Looks bland, but taste is good. No textured protein mouth-feel. I would like to see the chicken pieces a little bigger so that it doesn't look like just chicken-flavored noodles. Buy again? Not a stand out meal, but wouldn't refuse it.

    My general impression of the Wise Foods meals sampled thus far:
    Most seemed to need more time to rehydrate fully and to thicken up. No way any of the ones listed would have been ready at 12 minutes, with the exception of Pasta Alfredo with Chicken. Not only is it too long to wait to eat when you are cold and hungry, but it is also cooling off the longer it sits. Some of the meals were only lukewarm when finally ready to serve. I know a few of the Mountain House meals are the same way, but don't seem to be this bad. So the solutions would be 1) let it sit longer, with the detriments listed above (hunger, cooling), or (2) reduce the amount of water used for rehydration. However if you do this, it will not increase the level of rehydration (may thicken faster, but actually less water for ingredients to draw in, possibly reducing rehydration percentage). Also, if reduce the water, then a 2-serving pack would be somewhat less than two servings in volume (would still get the same nutrients and calories listed on the label, but less amount of volume in the bowl).

    Granted, the Wise Company foods were not created and marketed for outdoor sports. They are marketed for survival meals, to be stored for the day when the SHTF. I personally will stick with Mountain House - comparable in price, taste is overall better, and MH seems to perform better in under 20 minutes. I just wish Mountain House would develop a package that is easily burned after use so the bags do not have to be packed back out. or partially burned then dug out of the ashes to dispose of properly (hey Mountain House, think Splenda bags. They are tough, burn easily, and some people are already using them to eat your meals more responsibly).

    One positive about Wise that stands out over MH - don't need the ridiculous long spoon, because the Wise bags are shorter and wider. MH would melt my heart if the bags were shorter AND easily burned.

    (all comments in this review are quite personal and very subjective. some of the meals I liked my spouse did not, and visa versa. therefore I could easily be in the minority since there was no tie-breaker available. take my comments with a grain of salt hehe).

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