Saturday, August 24, 2013

Product Review: Wise Company Creamy Pasta and Vegetable Rotini

     Given the weather lately, the idea of keeping emergency rations in your home is not a terrible idea. The area where I live is prone to some violent outbursts of weather, most of which will knock the power out. If you don't have the luxury of a Generac system to back-up the power to your home, eventually you're going to lose the food in your refrigerator and freezer. Your options become a bit limited at this point.
Well, yes. Technically this is always a possibility. 
     You could go with canned goods, but they are bulky, heavy and won't keep for a super-long time. The cans could rust. You could lose your can opener. What I'm talking about is honest-to-goodness survival rations. There's always the old standby of military MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat. Or as my military friends would call them: Meals, Rarely Edible). I'm going to take a look at the emergency rations from Wise Company. Why? They sent me a free sample, to be quite honest. If you check the site you can request a sample, too (fair warning, it's going to require you to talk to a live sales person). The two advantages to Wise Company food that I saw was that they only require water to make and they have a 25 year shelf-life. Let us get started with the review.

Well, the packaging is nice. That's a good start. Made in the USA, too!
     They sent me Creamy Pasta and Vegetable Rotini. First off, the title is both redundant an incorrect. Rotini pasta is redundant. The alternative is there was vegetable rotini in the bag. There was not. I'm going to overlook this goof since if I were starving to death, I wouldn't even care if it was spelled phonetically. Theoretically, this bag is supposed to feed four adults. Let's flip the bag over and take a look at the back for some nutritional information!
Seems legit.
     210 calories a serving isn't too bad. This isn't really a calorie powerhouse unless you eat the whole bag and you're still 1200 calories shy of average daily intake. However, remember you're just looking to survive. You won't do that if you eat the whole bag because one serving is 800mg of sodium, 33% of your suggested daily allowance. For the most part the ingredients aren't too horrifying.  Let's tear open the bag and see what it looks like.
I thought the silica packet would add a nice bit of flavor but the wife made me take it out.
     The wife and I took a whiff of the contents and both reached the same conclusion that it smelled quite a bit like Ramen noodles. That's not a bad thing at all. There seemed to be a goodly amount of carrots and peas in there and the noodles looked decent. So far so good. Next we needed to prepare it. This couldn't be easier. All you need is a pot and 4 cups of boiling water.
You more than likely won't have access to an electric kettle to boil your water in an emergency.
In that case all you need is a pot, water and fire.
     We boiled up the water, dumped it in and gave it all a stir. The initial impression was that we had just created soup. However, we needed to put a lid on it and let it sit for 15 minutes, presumably to soak up all the water.
Theoretically, this will become creamy in around 15-20 minutes.
     After 15 minutes we took the lid off, and as per instructions, let the pasta sit for a couple more minutes. Creaminess was not achieved. We had vegetable soup. Now, if you're looking for survival, this may not be a bad thing. The broth will certainly fill you up. As it was not an emergency, we drained off the excess water and were left with the Creamy Pasta and Vegetable Rotini.
4 servings, my ass. Somebody is going to have to starve to death.
     If you drain the water, there's no way this is four servings. We were able to put together two shallow bowls. In fairness, this is for survival, not for luxury dining and we did drain the water. The final test remained. We needed to eat it. The carrots still had a bit of snap. The peas were a bit mushy but that was to be expected. The pasta held up well and wasn't too mushy. The flavor? Not bad. Kind of like high end Ramen with a thin cream sauce. If this was the only food we had available, I wouldn't be put out at all to eat it for a few days. It looked and tasted real. This is not something that can be said for many emergency rations or MREs. If you've ever had the tuna MRE you know what I'm talking about.

Final Review
Product: Wise Company emergency ration 
Cost: A bucket of 60 entrees (enough for 1 person for a month) is $134.99. If you're splitting this two ways, it's only about $1.13 per person per meal. That's reasonable enough considering the type of food you're dealing with.
Flavor: Not what you would call "flavor-packed," but not too bad.
Appearance: This is actually some good looking emergency food. 
Would I Buy It?: I can't justify buying the year package, no matter how cool that would be. However, for under $150 I could have 1 month of emergency food that will keep 25 years. That's not terrible. The wife and I are strongly considering getting a single case for the next weather-related calamity. I'd certainly be happy to throw these in my pack if I were camping.

Good times!


  1. are too funny! I love how honest and detailed your review is. It gives a really clear picture about the product :)