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An icy wind swept in from the north face of Bull Mountain last week as I tried in vain to light my homemade camping stove and cook my Coleman Cheesy Tomato Pasta in the rapidly dying daylight.
“Curse that north face,” I muttered, my hands shaking in the subzero weather. “It’s always the coldest face.”
If I couldn’t ignite the flame I’d face the frigid night without the sustenance needed to survive the intolerable conditions of–oh who am I kidding.
I was standing over an electric stove.
An electric stove in my warm and cozy kitchen where the thermostat was set to 70 degrees.
The other way sounded cooler though, right?
And I might as well have been in the great outdoors…because I was eating camp food!
Ah camp food.
It’s always tasty.
And always much, much better when you’re actually camping.
Don’t believe me?
When’s the last time you ate Beanie Weenies straight from the can at the dining room table?
Probably the same time you helped yourself to a S’more while sitting on the couch.
Yes, s’mores are good. But not so good that you would choose them over the less camp-friendly desserts of the real world.
Desserts such as ice cream. And cake. And ice cream-cake.
Still, I picked up the Coleman meal the other day, even though I wasn’t camping, and decided to give it a try.
It’s a hearty blend of rotini pasta with red bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes and herbs in a cheesy sauce.
The entire pouch is 410 calories and packs in 14 grams of protein.
Which is good right?
But not so good if you don’t like to eat things you can’t pronounce.
Things like: meloddextrin, lactic acid, xanthan gum and soy lecithin.
Since I currently have a box of Bagle Bites and a bag of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets in my freezer, unnatural foods don’t bother me too much.
And cooking the xanthan-mix is pretty easy since you just boil 12 ounces of water, add it to the pouch, close it for five minutes, open it up and then stir in the cheesy sauce.
So what’s the verdict?
It’s not that bad.
It’s also, um, not that good.
Really, it just kind of tastes like nothing.
Though, you know, sometimes nothing is better than something. Especially if that something is nasty.
If I was sitting next to a roaring campfire on a winter’s night I would give Coleman’s Cheesy Tomato Pasta a solid A-.
In my kitchen, it earns a C+.
But that’s grading on the Bagle Bite curve.
So the next time I head for the woods or the trail or another Bagle Bite-less area, I just might bring along a bag or two.
Unless, that is, Coleman makes a pouch of dinosaur chicken nuggets.

Matt Aiken is the editor/founder/lone employee of TravelingSasquatch.com.

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