Man can only live for so long on Pot Noodles so there comes a time when you have to look for alternatives when you’re out and about.
Yes, you can munch on berries and play Russian roulette with wild mushrooms if that’s what does it for you, but a much safer option is to take a look at what’s on offer in the pre-packaged boil-in-the-bag market. One of the companies keen to fatten us all up is Wayfayrer, which has a variety of pre-cooked meals on offer, all of which can be eaten hot or cold from the bag. Some even come with their own in-built heating thingummies so you don’t even need a stove.
Packed with carbs, the grub is designed to give you sufficient get-up-and-go to tackle whatever terrain lies ahead during your day of yomping, biking, climbing or whatever.
Never ones to shy away from a good old trough, me and Mrs Muz have selflessly put seven Wayfayrer offerings to the test, all of which we decided to heat in boiling water for the recommended 7-8 minutes before nomming. We’re sophisticated like that.
All Day Breakfast
Remember when you were a kid and you’d have inexplicable cravings for those generic tins of beans mixed with pink, finger-sized ‘things’ which someone decided to call sausages despite having very little resemblance to actual sausages?
That’s what we have here, but with an unidentifiable lump of something else thrown into the mix.
Despite the blandness and uninspiring look of this meal, and the odd texture of the animal-vegetable-or-mineral-lump (it was discussed at length by many people on this particular trip and we decided, by a process of elimination, that it was the omelette referenced on the packet… but I do reserve the right to be wrong about that), it’s actually not too bad if you throw in a little seasoning and perhaps, as we did, a pinch of chilli.
Chicken Curry with Potatoes & Rice
I’m not a particularly big unit, but I have a healthy appetite and there wasn’t quite enough in this meal for me so I had a few chunks of bread taken from a handy baguette tree nearby.
Looks-wise the curry appeared to be a little greasy on the surface although not unlike your average take-away ruby, but otherwise it looked pretty decent. The consistency was just right for me – juicy but not slopping about everywhere, and there was a fair amount of chicken (26% according to the packet), which was nice to see.
Unlike the All Day Breakfast this actually tasted of something – curry to be exact, but if you like them hot you’ll need to add something extra to get there because this was mild enough to cater for the wider market.
Although I was prepared for disappointment before tucking into this meal (I’m a huge curry fan) I was pleasantly surprised and rather enjoyed it.
Chilli Con Carne
As the primary consumer of the chilli option, I thought it was best to stick my oar in here. I love chilli. A lot. So faced with the prospect of chilli out of a silver packet I was slightly suspicious. My fears however turned out to be unfounded – a meaty, beany and, crucially, quite spicy chilli emerged from the packet and was genuinely tasty. Being almost as greedy as Muz, but not quite, I thought the quantity was a decent portion size (oddly, it doesn’t look like a big portion when emptied into your bowl, but it somehow is), so there was no bread required, though if you don’t love chilli as much as me, you might find the lack of rice or other accompaniment a bit wrong.
Encouraged by the chicken curry, I had this the following evening and was also rather satisfied with it.
Again, there wasn’t quite enough for me so I had to find some bread to accompany it, but nevertheless it sent my hunger pangs packing and filled a hole.
Different somewhat to the previous meal, this curry wasn’t held together with rice and was therefore more of a casserole than anything else, but the curry taste was there and there was plenty of veg – which hadn’t been boiled to within an inch of its life in the pre-cooking process and still had a little bit of bite to it.
Again it was a mild curry and although tasty, would still need something else adding to it if you wanted to put that cast iron constitution of yours to the test.
Beans & Sausages in Tomato Sauce
There’s not a lot you can say about beans and sausages really. Identical to the type you get in a tin as referred in the All Day Breakfast review, this meal is basically a tin of beans and sausages… but in a bag. So the advantages are that it’s lighter and easier to carry should you be hiking up Kilimanjaro and have eschewed the traditional porters, or be doing your Duke of Edinburgh through the rain in the Peak District while hauling your pack along, dreaming of home. And they are decent quality beans, it should be said. Does what it says on the… bag. Nom.
This text is here to fill a little space so I can make the picture as big as the rest or the whole layout just looks wrong. How are you? Hasn’t the weather turned cold? I really need to do more reviews because I’ve been slacking – but you know how it is. Life just has a habit of getting in the way sometimes. How are things at work? Are you watching X Factor? What about that Wagner, eh? Sheesh.
Blah, blah, blah, blah…
Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.
Don’t laugh. I know it’s spotted dick, but you’re not in the infant school anymore and this is a serious review.
Bearing in mind that boil-in-the-bag stuff isn’t exactly a-la carte menu material, it should come as no surprise that this looked a bit… wrong. Straight out of the bag this desert is a bit gloopy and iffy-looking and the custard, not being fresh and home-made, does it no real visual favours.
But it was lovely. The spotted dick (quiet at the back) held its shape and was reasonably moist and the sultanas within were also nice and juicy. The custard tasted like custard, which was handy, and everything combined well together when I mushed the whole lot up, which I always do with deserts like this. You should see what my Christmas pud looks like when I’ve been at it for five minutes prior to scoffing.
So yeah – I like dick.
Firstly, let’s get this out of the way – treacle pudding without custard is a crime. But by replacing the custard with runny treacle sauce the crime is almost forgiven. What’s not forgiven is the texture of this pudding – it’s really very firm, almost like a non-food kind of substance. The sauce also makes it very, very sweet – lovely to start with, but I gave it to Muz after eating 2/3rds of it as it was less treacle, more sugar syrup (if that makes sense). Brilliant if you have a really sweet tooth, but if you’re after a comfort pudding, I think the Spotted Dick & Custard option is the way to go.
So there you have it.
One interesting thing to mention about the All Day Breakfast is that James, a friend of mine who is far too hairy for his own good, just happened to have a packet of Army issue boil-in-the-bag all day brekky with him while I was eating mine. He’d been given his by another friend of ours who kills people for a living in defence of Queen and country.
The silver bag containing his food, which you pop in the boiling water to heat, was identical to my Wayfayrer one in size and wotnot, and the matrix-printed batch numbers on it were almost identical to mine too. I’m not saying that’s good or bad, but it was certainly a point of note when judging books by covers and all that.
Another interesting thing is the outer packaging of the Wayfayrer meals. Not only is every packet identically boring in dark green and black (save for the name of the contents) but every one, from curry to treacle pudding, has a picture on the back of a bowl of sausages and beans alongside the caption ‘serving suggestion’.
Point 1 – Is this what I should expect my chilli con carne to look like? Sausages and beans?
Point 2 – The serving suggestion is to have it in a bowl? Why on earth didn’t I think of that?
Very lazy indeed, Mr Wayfayrer. Sort it out.
SUMMARY: Not the most exciting food in the world but pretty tasty all-in-all and dead easy to make. In fact you don’t even have to ‘make’ it if you don’t want to – you could eat it cold straight from the bag.
At £4 per course per person that doesn’t seem too bad on the surface but if there were three of you that would mean £12 per day for just one meal without pud. Multiply that by three for breakfast, lunch and tea and that’s… er… £36 per day. And if you were away for a week… you get the idea.
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