"What's for lunch?" I wondered as I wandered the grocery aisles. I wasn't thinking about that day, but about my very first backpack trip. The trip was actually still weeks away, but I was excited and I wanted to have everything planned as best it could. So, I wandered through looking for some kind of inspiration. I wanted something substantial but not hot. Getting out my sterno hobo stove (more on that in a coming post), heating up food, and waiting for the sterno can to cool down to pack back up seemed like a huge time suck that could be spent hiking or just relaxing on the trail.
I found a product called Cochinita Pibil by a company called Chata in the Mexican foods section that looked promising. It is a stewed pork product served in pouches much like single serve tuna pouches. I decided to try it with flour tortillas to see if it would taste alright at room temperature. And it did! It is actually really good. Apparently, Cohinita Pibil is pork that is marinated in citrus before being wrapped in banana leaves and slow cooked with annatto seeds. The only issue I had is the amount of product. While my dehydrated soups could be re-packed in plastic baggies for smaller portioning, I couldn't do that with meat. And there is no way I could eat all of a pouch in one sitting. I'd hate to have to waste the food on the trail, and I couldn't save it for later so this product was out.
Luckily, on my next grocery store visit I found barbecue pulled pork in a similar pouch only in a smaller, single serve portion. A couple tortillas topped with pulled pork sounds just right for a quick lunch on the trail.
I think I'm going to eat quite a few tortillas on the hike. I found single serve peanut butter pouches which will work great, spread over a tortilla, for a snack, and I found some similar packs filled with vanilla almond butter and honey cinnamon peanut butter which will work great for a pre-bed snack (I can't sleep on an empty stomach). I should have known that peanut butter would be largely involved on this hike. I absolutely love peanut butter. I've loved it since I was a child. Plus, it is shelf stable, calorie dense, and comes in pretty convenient pouches.
Meals are pretty much decided! I'm going to eat a nice, hearty breakfast before hitting the trail, have barbecue tacos for lunch (side item tbd), and I'm having Idahoan creamy potato soup with Spam for dinner. Snacks will be beef jerky, peanut and almond butter on tortillas, and, honestly, probably some candy. I'm thinking some M&Ms and a Payday will be my choice. With those two it would mean no melting if it turns out to be warm on the trail. The next morning will be some instant oats with cinnamon, raisins, and dry milk for breakfast along with a cup of instant coffee. Now, to decide tent or hammock. For that, I think I'm going to need to go car camping at least once before my hike.
David Thornton is a two time national award winning writer, chef, husband, father, and fitness enthusiast.