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Old 10-22-2006, 05:34 PM   #1
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Need spices and flavouring help!

I'm new to this forum, and I came to it for a very specific reason, here it is:

I have been charged with concocting a complete meal substance, whether it be soup or solid, or something else, for a camping trip. My pals have chosen me/I have agreed to because I know a bit about nutrition & diet. BUT I must admit I cannot cook for beans.... so I know what to put in it in terms of food, but I need help getting it edible!

What can I do? I’m getting desperate! I would appreciate any help, even if you could point me in the right direction or something, the ingredients it must contain are approximately(I know it’s missing some things nutritionally, like o-3s. I left those out because I assumed they would make it taste too bad, and fish oil is easy to take in capsules.):

103 g oats - I can change what grains are put in here to whatever, I just chose oats because they are easy to grind in a blender.

250 ml skim milk – Any kind of milk would do, even powdered

209 g orange juice – I can change this to another fruit/s.

177 g of mixed vegetables, just the frozen kind from the store – This could be changed to just one vegetable or whatever, but I would prefer variety.

33 g nuts + seeds mix – for oils, could be any nuts/seeds really, but I used a store bought trail mix. for development purposes since it has good variety.

120 g uncooked 85% lean beef – I give the measure uncooked, but I add it cooked, of course, including all the fat. This couldbe any meat, I just chose beef because it’s cheap.

1. Put the nuts in the blender, and grind until the pieces aren’t getting any smaller. Then add some of the orange juice or water and grind until smooth, i.e. 10 sec. or so. This is junt to get the nuts well ground up.

2. add all the other ingredients, adding water to keep the blender going. Blend until it’s as smooth as it’s going to get. I ended up with about 1.2 L of stuff.

I have tried heating it and adding chili powder and salt and pepper., that was hardly edible. I even tried some artificial flavouring extracts I happened to have including cinamon orange, almond and vanilla.

But it still tastes awful!

I thought of artificial sweetener, but it doesn’t seem like that’s what it needs…Can anyone recommend some spice to add or something?

Or maybe I could dehydrate it?Any way of making a mix of these ingredients taste good….

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Old 10-22-2006, 06:24 PM   #2
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It might be easier to just post this one time and see what the answers the great folks here come up with. It is easier to keep up with that way. Good luck.
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Old 10-22-2006, 06:26 PM   #3
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I think I would toss it back into the lap of the person who asked me to do this for the 'camping trip'.

It almost sounds like a school project to me.
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Old 10-22-2006, 06:53 PM   #4
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I don't want to hurt your feelings, but...while you have a nutritionaly balanced mix, it sounds awful. I don't think anything will make that taste good.

I'd recommend making up a dry soup mix that only needs the addition of water and a ham hock or bacon, which you could then cook in a dutch oven over the campfire.
To get in the rest of your nutritional requirements, make up a good trail mix or granola.

Here are a bunch of soup recipes:
http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/cat/610/0.shtml

And here are recipes for granolas and trail mix:
http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/cat/766/0.shtml
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Old 10-22-2006, 07:02 PM   #5
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Maybe I am not understanding what your saying. Are you adding all of these ingredients to make one "meal substance"? Personally I'd go with a granola bar using the oats, nuts, and seeds, and bind it together with some honey or something. Not sure how to make granola bars exactly, but there are plenty of recipes online.
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Old 10-22-2006, 07:13 PM   #6
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I've given your quest some thought, but I can only come to the conclusion that you started from the wrong philosophy.
Meal replacement bars and freeze-dried bags of goo aren't meant to turn into tasty meals, they're designed to keep you alive untill rescued or give an additional energy boost untill you reach the finishline in the Ironman or the Tour De France.
Secondly, I don't think these bars/bags are based on actual food. As far as I can imagine, they're made from some of the ingredients you're using and a good dose of industrially produced protein, carbs, vitamins etc.
If you want your ingredients to work as a tasty meal, then try this. Make a nice hearty stew with veggies and meat (chunks, not ground). Bake the grains and nuts into a nice bread to go with the stew and serve a smoothie for desert. Afterall, if you dine in a fancy restaurant and have a budget, you might eat foie gras, oysters, caviar and champagne as appetizers. They're all delicious, but they won't work as a shake.
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Old 10-22-2006, 07:57 PM   #7
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You're putting all that in a blender and then having at it with the goo?
Sounds like something that would power the time machine in back to the future!
-----
I think you might want to consider cooking with different groups of ingredients from that list and making a few different items.
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Old 10-22-2006, 07:59 PM   #8
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<p>
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance
I don't want to hurt your feelings, but...while you have a nutritionaly balanced mix, it sounds awful. I don't think anything will make that taste good. </p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>I'd recommend making...p>
Thanks don't worry, I'm not insulted!:) I know it IS awful.
But I still have my fingers crossed for a one food one drink program, it must be possible somehow? I outlined what I did here, but the only requirement is to have all the ingredients in, and not cook it so much as to destroy important nutrients (aka no boiling down to half it's size).
Like Genghis Khan. We would eat ONE FOOD .

... but hopefully slightly more nutritious
Thanks for the soup recipes. Maybe I am going at this the wrong way, maybe I should take a good soup recipe and add stuff to it? Then vacuum dehydrate it or something, I think that'd be just about the only way to get a significant amount of water out.
Btw this is 1/3 the total intake for 1 (small) person during an active day. So seeing as how we have to carry it all around, I'm not sure if soup would be practical. We will probably not have leisure time to prepare it.

Nonetheless, that doesn't mean I'm closing the discussion on trying to get this edible.
Anyone more input?
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Old 10-22-2006, 08:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hades
I've given your quest some thought, but I can only come to the conclusion that you started from the wrong philosophy.
Meal replacement bars and freeze-dried bags of goo aren't meant to turn into tasty meals, they're designed to keep you alive untill rescued or give an additional energy boost untill you reach the finishline in the Ironman or the Tour De France.
Secondly, I don't think these bars/bags are based on actual food. As far as I can imagine, they're made from some of the ingredients you're using and a good dose of industrially produced protein, carbs, vitamins etc.
If you want your ingredients to work as a tasty meal, then try this. Make a nice hearty stew with veggies and meat (chunks, not ground). Bake the grains and nuts into a nice bread to go with the stew and serve a smoothie for desert. Afterall, if you dine in a fancy restaurant and have a budget, you might eat foie gras, oysters, caviar and champagne as appetizers. They're all delicious, but they won't work as a shake.
That's right about the meal replacement bars, they are not based on real foods, but they aren't always for emergency rations. You can go into the pharmacy and buy them, they have a whole variety, for diets etc. Some don't taste too bad.

The bread and stew is a good idea, I have considered that before. I thought maybe I could fit the milk and some veggies in there as well, to the bread. So that just leaves the fruit, which is not too hard.
But it's just that it gets more and more complicated the more food items there are, just one food would be the ultimate, surely there's a way somehow. With stew, bread, smoothie, you need cups, bowls, utensils, you have to wash up, you have to carry it all, you have to heat it, and it's a lot more work to prepare it all before you set off. Plus bread takes up a lot of space.

And it doesn't have to be a tasty meal, it just has to be edible, or neutral would be a way to put it. Just not taste bad. Because when you're engaged in lots of physical activites, I find that's more than enough, things start to taste good just from knowing it's nutritious.

I also find it kind of odd how I find it just about impossible to eat something that's the same nutritionally as it was 1 minute ago, when it would have been easy to eat, just because it's in a different physical form.

I also found this
http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/52119 while I was looking for information on complete foods. HAHA! so it looks like it's not just me! The rest of the world wants this too. I also found out about MREs, but they are far too expensive.

I've also breifly thought about encapsulating it somehow. But it would take a lot of capsules. Maybe freeze it in suitable chunks and coat it with something, then keep it frozen.
I have read about calcium acetate catalyzed alginate encapsulation. I might look into that more. But then you can't chew it, I think phycologically that would not be so good.

Just think, if the those capable of actually cooking would put forth their talent for the greater good, and produce such a product, all these people would be so happy.....
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Old 10-22-2006, 09:09 PM   #10
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If you have to carry it around, I'd go for the trail mix/granola. You don't have to have meat in it for it to be sustaining.
I've seen a granola mix somewhere that is a mix of oats, nuts and dried fruits with sweetened condensed milk poured over the top before baking. I suppose you could grind that up if necessary.
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