You Can Buy a Year's Worth of Post-Apocalypse Food for $10,000, but How Does It Taste?

Categories: Food News

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Freeze-dried food is one way to assure your existence when the world as we know it ends.
I never expected freeze-dried food would cross my path as a food critic. I was in Park City, Utah for this year's Association of Food Journalists conference recently, and food storage was the topic of one of the scheduled discussions. I was hoping the presentation would feature a cute old lady with glass jars and a pressure cooker, but instead of learning the finer points of putting up summer peaches I got a detailed discussion on stockpiling food for decades.

Between Mormons following religious direction and otherwise prudent individuals, it's estimated that up to 25 percent of Utah residents are sitting on a three-month supply of food. Some fill food safe buckets with rice, grains and other staples, but a growing number are buying collections of elaborate, freeze-dried meals in self-contained pouches.

The latter option can be expensive. Daily Bread, a Utah-based company that offers storable food and emergency supplies, sells a yearlong meal plan for a family of five that costs nearly $10,000. Their freeze-dried products have a shelf life of 25 years, and according to CEO Mark Hyland they're delicious.

Food storage techniques and statistics were interesting enough, but it was "delicious" that really pricked up my ears. I wanted to know how food that was frozen to temperatures rarely seen on earth, zapped of its moisture and stuffed in an airtight bag for a decade, could actually taste good. I also wondered what it would feel like to eat freeze-dried food for a year after some unfathomable catastrophic disaster, but mostly I wanted an excuse to validate what I knew I was about to do. Hyland had handed out samples of his products and I was about to eat all of them.

I'm not entirely new to freeze-dried foods. I grew up an hour away from the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., and a trip to the Air and Space Museum wasn't complete without a packaged of freeze-dried ice cream. It comes in a multi-colored brick the size of a Klondike bar and has the consistency and flavor of aerated chalk. I'd eat my "astronaut" ice cream on the walk back to the subway, taunted by an endless line of street carts covered in pictures of Drumsticks and push pops, while other children painted their faces with the real deal. This happened once a year for more years than I'm willing to admit.

Astronaut marketing no longer causes my pupils to dilate, though, and even the ice cream sold by street vendors tastes waxy to me now. I wondered if the technology used to preserve foods had advanced significantly in the past few decades. What if freeze-dried food really was delicious now? Certainly for Hyland to call a product delicious in font of a room of journalists and food critics had to take a significant amount of confidence.

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10 comments
jonsnow369
jonsnow369

10,000 bucks would also get you 40,000 packs of no-name mr.noodles, heh

jonsnow369
jonsnow369

You colud buy, for instance... 7692 pounds of rice...  for 10,000... or 10,000 cans of beans (10 years food)... just as an example... oh, and oats are another good one... they last a long time

jonsnow369
jonsnow369

Only 1 year worth of food... for 10,000 dollars?? sounds like a huge rip off to me!! 833 bucks a month...  Instead, you could buy Rice, Beans, Mr.Noodles, Dehydrated Milk, Spam, Honey, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Pemmican, Peanut Butter, ... list goes on and on... and it will cost a hell of a lot less than 10 grand

interesting site:

http://offgridsurvival.com/survivalfood/

markzero
markzero

You should try some freeze-dried pouches from a hiking store. Beef stroganoff isn't so bad. But I happened to like astronaut ice cream. It sure crumbled weirdly, didn't it?

Also, I think my parents still have some nitrogen-filled golden cans of dried fruits and things from the 70s and 80s stored away in the garage somewhere, if the rats haven't gotten to them. (That was back when we were still duck-and-covering in case the Russians didn't love their children as much as our parents loved us, you understand.)

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Where do you get or put a 25 yr supply of water?

markzero
markzero

@primi_timpano you have your own well remains somehow uncontaminated by nuclear fallout or fracking. And I guess you have a manual pump for it in your subterranean hideaway, too.

Anyway, you only need it for one year, because that's when the food runs out.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

That's 700 barrels at 55 gallons a barrel and a family of four consuming 4 liters of water per person per day for 25 years. I guess there is always recycling.

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