Let me just say how happy I am about bringing MRE’s (“Meals Ready to Eat” used in the Army) instead of trying to cook out here. Dust gets on everything, including cooking utensils so everyone around me has to clean their cooking utensils after cooking to get off the old food and again before cooking to get off the dust. For me since each meal is in its own packet, I just tear it open. This also saved me from needing to pack all the extra cooking stuff which was helpful since I already had to leave some stuff at home from lack of space.
So the usual ritual goes something like this. In the morning I rip open a meal. put the main dish in with the chemical heater so it can be warming up. I drink one of my Gatorades then put whatever powder is in the meal into the the bottle and shake it up with water. Every meal comes with crackers and something to put on it, so I eat that while the meal is warming up. From there I eat the meal while the side dish is warming up. Then I eat the side dish and what ever desert there is. It even comes complete with a wet-nap to clean up and an after meal mint. Pack all the trash back into the original container and I’m done. No clean-up.
The funny thing is that MRE’s are portioned for soldiers while they are out in the field. (There is plenty of good propaganda included on the importance of eating right and eating enough) So that means eating 3 MRE’s a day will give you around 3500 calories. The funny thing is that I already have a high metabolism and with riding around for miles every day on my bike I can still feel myself losing weight. Luckily I brought protein shakes so I’ve been having a couple of those a day too along with beef jerky and dried fruit and nuts. So I am getting enough calories but I have developed a craving for fresh food. At some of the events they hand around huge platters of cantaloupe and oranges. I gotta say it is amazing how delicious they taste.
Water is always necessary. I never feel hot (yes, really) because my sweat is evaporating so fast. This meant I have to keep drinking water. By the end of trip I had gone through drinking more than 1 1/2 gallons of water a day without ever feeling bloated. The trick was always carrying a 1.5 liter water bottle that I filled when I returned to my tent for every meal.