I hate camping. If the good Lord intended for us to sleep on dirt she’d have outfitted us with thick furry hides and a natural immunity to Lyme disease. That said, I’m not above indulging in the occasional apocalyptic fantasy in which the dwindling survivors of the human race are forced to elude roving squads of cannibal zombies in a world without tenderness, mercy, and electricity. Those who know this occasionally present me with improbable food items of an imperishable nature to add to the pantry in the underground missile silo. Sometimes I’ll wake up screaming and tear one open with my teeth. This morning it was Backpacker’s Pantry huevos rancheros, purchased recently at REI in Northbrook and bequested by someone who didn’t think I’d eat it. In addition to astronaut ice cream, Backpacker’s Pantry produces an enormous line of two- and four-person sealed meals-in-a-bag, such as pad thai, Jose’s Chicken Mole, and Cajun Salmon Inferno.
The huevos contain, among other things, eggs, textured vegetable protein, and an unidentified “vitamin supplement” (soylent?), all reduced to 3.5 ounces of green- speckled, saffron robe-colored powder. The directions say to “blend” with a half cup of water, before adding another 1/4 cup and “blend”ing again. Not sure what sort of field blenders are available at REI, but I just whisked it in a saucepan over low heat in my clean, mosquito-free, air-conditioned kitchen until it firmed up to a wet cookie-dough consistency. Topped with Cermak Produce’s house salsa verde, it was surprisingly better than repulsive, with a cheesy egg flavor that was actually recognizable under the TVP grit. Saved me the hassle of going out and shooting a squirrel this morning. Thanks, Backpacker’s Pantry!