This can was visibly bulging at top and bottom, which gave me a moment’s pause*. But it’s freeze dried, right? I mean, it might deteriorate but it’s hard to imagine fermentation. Plus, “Packed in Nitrogen Atmosphere,” by which they apparently mean pressurized nitrogen because when I applied the can opener the can hissed and relaxed but emitted no foul odors.
In fact it emitted a rather pleasant odor. Smelled like dried veggies.
Unlike the freeze dried spaghetti, this material had substantially compacted. I needed to break it up to keep it from filling the bowl in chunks. Once again the “recipe” is one cup boiling water to 1.5 cup dried material and wait ten minutes.
I must say that they don’t short you on stew ingredients. Potatoes, peas, cooked beef, carrots, corn, they’re all here and all mummified.
And once rehydrated, all as visually unappetizing as you’d care to imagine. They used corn starch for thickener and a lot of it, and I can only imagine that it hasn’t aged as gracefully as some of the other ingredients because I frankly hesitated to raise that fork to my mouth.
Smelled all right, though, so I tried a small taste – then a bigger taste, then I scraped the bowl clean. It’s really fairly good even undoctored. The ingredients that are supposed to taste like anything have retained their taste nicely. There’s none of that underlying tang that says “proceed with caution if at all.” And again my stomach accepted the offering quite cheerfully and without revolt.
I don’t know if this forty-year-old Mountain House stew is identical to its brand-new self – I kind of hope not, because visually it’s revolting – but for eating if not for gazing upon it’s perfectly fit.
*Big Brother emailed to say the can was definitely not bulging at his home, which is at substantially lower altitude than the Secret Lair.