Rating: 7.1 / 10
Value for Money 1.2/2.5
The Back Country Cuisine range of outdoor meals is probably the best known in Australia. These meals are stocked by the majority of outdoor stores and many people consider them the staple meal choice for outdoor activities. Back Country do a huge range of meal choices and many stores seem to select a ‘top ten’ so you are unlikely to find the full range in stock in any one store. In addition to the large variety of twin serves, the company also provides single serving (entree) although the single serve options don’t seem to have as large a variety at least as far as what the stores seem to stock. I’m still working my way though the very large range but I am finding this adventure is a bit hit and miss which is to be expected as everyone’s tastes are different.
I so wanted to like this meal, I mean who doesn’t like Spaghetti Bolognaise? And for me that’s the problem as I make a pretty good Spaghetti Bolognaise from scratch at home and is the comparison point for this meal! I found the spiciness was a bit bland for my taste and the texture was a bit odd (again I’m comparing this to home cooked pasta). While I realise this is a freeze dried meal, this offering fell short of my expectations.
This is also one of the few meals where you definitely need a spork or a fork to eat, the spoon just doesn’t cut it with long noodles.
While I will prepare some meal options myself and dehydrate, I tend not to worry about making complex meals but rather devote my time to other activities such as hiking. These meals are very convenient. These meals are very easy to prepare requiring the addition of 500 ml of boiling water and a recommended ten minutes to rehydrate. I have found leaving the meals for about 11-12 minutes tends to get a better result and I would suggest cutting the water back by about 25 mls as well; see what you think on this one.
The normal price sits around the $15.95 mark for a twin serve with the single serves working out more expensive per serving than the twin serve offerings. Most of the larger chain stores offer member discounts or have regular sales so its worthwhile looking around. These products do have a long shelf life so you can stock up during the regular sales at the outdoor stores.
The meal comes in a bag that is well designed and the bottom opens out to provide a flat base for those minimalists who want to leave the bowl at home. The option exists to tear the top off the bag to allow easy access to the food but you if you have a long handled spork/fork you won’t need to tear the bag. My other reason for not tearing the top off the bag is that you minimise any mess and after you’re done, you can re-zip the zip lock.
I find the Backcountry Cuisine meals a bit hit and miss, and I will usually love them or hate them depending on my own personal tastes. I’m not a fan of the Spaghetti Bologniase. Its not that it’s bad, it’s just that its not great and there are so many other choices from both Back Country and Outdoor Gourmet (both produced by the same manufacturer) I would prefer to eat. I will say many other hikers I know love this meal so its worth while adding to the mix at least once and who knows it may be to your tastes.
An easy to prepare meal whether it be on a short or long trip for camping and hiking
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This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by the reviewer
Back Country Cuisine Spaghetti Bolognaise as purchased
The bottom of the bag opens out to provide a flat surface. Opening out the base will allow the meal to more evenly rehydrate. If you don’t open the base fully, you will get ‘dry pieces’ in your dinner
Uncooked meal in the now opened bag
The meal now rehydrated and the bag torn down