Today’s test subject was Country Cottage Mac & Cheese by Patriot Pantry (My Patriot Supply). The advertised shelf life of this product is 25 years. A good test down the road would be to feature this product again and see if it functions the same with age. However, the package I used this time was relatively new. It was mailed to us a week or so ago by Patriot Supply who was generous enough to send it to us as a sample so that we could test it.
The cooking directions were easy to follow. Simply boil water, add the contents of the package (after removing the oxygen absorber) and cook. The first thing I did notice about the package upon inspection was that it was sealed very well in a strong, air-tight bag. The downside was that in order to open the bag I had to get the scissors.
The cooking process went relatively easy. Contents were finished cooking after 15 minutes contrary to the cook for 20 minutes instructions. After removing it from the stove, and putting it in a bowl to cool, it was still very hot. I waited another 10 minutes before I felt it was cool enough to eat. I can agree that it was easy to make, however – call me picky – but I did not expect it to take so long. Maybe that was because I was thinking about the store bought macaroni that cooks in 5 minutes. Even though the cook time was longer, I still took that as a good sign for quality. Real food always takes longer to make.
By the time it was cool enough to eat, the noodles had thickened up nicely. It was not runny or thin and the cheese was coated evenly over the noodles with no lumps (even after cooking the contents with a spoon instead of the recommended whisk). I was surprised to notice that it did not have that cardboard taste that so often comes with food storage products. The macaroni had cooked well and absorbed all the seasoning just fine. Although it did feel a little naked all by itself. I think adding some cooked chicken would have helped improve the taste.
As with all products, the advertised serving size was not enough to fill me up. However, it was more filling than I thought it would have been. I expected to eat the 2 servings and still be hungry. Even after splitting part of the bowl with my baby, I did not finish all of the noodles.
It is important to keep in mind that the advertised serving size doesn’t necessarily mean that it will get you full, but it will keep you alive. When preparing your food storage you need to keep that in mind to calculate how much food you need to store. Do you have enough so that everyone can eat their fill, or do you have just enough to stay alive? As far as the Macaroni goes, it was surprisingly filling. One serving would curve my hunger enough to prevent getting shaky or have stomach pains. Two servings was almost too much. I guess it would depend on how much you are used to eating. I urge you to test the serving sizes yourself no matter what product you may have on hand for food storage. You may not have as much food as you think you do.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I was satisfied with my experience. My Patriot Supply does have quality products. They don’t appear to be in business to sell crapy items. It is rare and refreshing to find businesses who have the best needs of the consumers in mind instead of how much money they can make. I also like the fact that their products are made in the United States. Not only does it help our country’s economy, but it dissipates that fear I always have of the possibility it was created with child labor.