One reason for this was because I wanted to be the first person to walk on Mars. The other reason was because I really, really wanted to eat freeze-dried food in space.
Now, I know they sell freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches in just about every space-themed gift shop out there. I know this because I went to a lot of those back in the day. But for whatever reason, I never, ever bought one … or anything else freeze-dried, for that matter.
Earlier today, my boyfriend and I were shopping at Sportsman’s Warehouse for a backpacking trip we’re going on this weekend. Now I know that’s not really a grocery store, and they barely even have food, but they do have an entire freeze-dried section. The little kid in me was drawn to it like flies to honey. Or is it vinegar?
Anyway. They had everything, from mac ‘n cheese to vegetable lasagna — and they even sold ice cream sandwiches. But what really caught my eye was the blueberry cheesecake.
When someone says “blueberry cheesecake,” my first thought is not “a bag full of powdery stuff.” (And when someone says “a bag full of powdery stuff,” I generally take that as a drug reference. But I digress.)
Cheesecake is my weakness. I’d never tried freeze-dried food. This was a necessity.
Once I got home, making the cheesecake was an adventure in and of itself. (Maybe that’s the real reason campers eat it.) Inside the big bag were three smaller packets — one of cheesecake powder, one of blueberry-topping powder and one of graham-cracker crumblies. Yum, yum.
The only major step was adding water — one cup of cold water to the cheesecake, 1/4 cup of hot water to the blueberries. The big bag served as a bowl for the cheesecake mix, which is nice and innovative. The not-so-innovative part of the process was the fact that the little blueberries still needed a bowl (which resourceful campers would hopefully have anyway), and also the fact that the packets were impossible to rip open. So if you take this on a camping trip, bring a knife or something.
The cheesecake took 10 minutes to set, which was terrible for me because the stuff smelled so delicious.
When the suspenseful wait was over, I eagerly opened the bag. The contents looked nothing like cheesecake, except for the color. The stuff had the consistency of pudding.
But it definitely smelled like cheesecake, and that was all I cared about.
I spooned it out (note to campers: bring a spoon) onto a plate (oh yeah, and bring a plate), sprinkled the graham-cracker crumbs over it and heaped blueberry gunk on top.
It looked nothing like a cheesecake — in fact, it looked like someone plopped pudding onto a plate and decorated it — but it smelled heavenly. This was one food I was actually excited to eat. (And because of that, I ate it with my eyes open, of course.)
The taste didn’t disappoint.
I’ve had real cheesecake that wasn’t half as good as this. It was sweet, rich and bursting with flavor. (Literally bursting, in the case of the blueberries.)
The downside to the sweet richness was that I could barely eat four or five spoonfuls before it was just too much. Not that it was ever bad, but it’s one of those foods you nibble for awhile and then save for later. (Or, if you’re less selfish than I am, you share it — since, after all, it is supposed to feed four.)
Maybe it’s a good thing I never became an astronaut, because I don’t think I could eat this stuff in space. I think it would float around the room in giant globs that I would have to chase around like a demented fish, and that would just be bad. But I can definitely eat it here on earth, and I can definitely take it camping with me as long as I have the right utensils and dishes.
So freeze-dried cheesecake, while it doesn’t sound like it could possibly be as good as its “normal” counterpart, is actually surprisingly better-tasting than a lot of cheesecake I’ve tried — and it comes in a convenient little pouch that you can keep in your pantry or stuff under your pillow or something.
Ingredients: You know what? The ingredients list takes up half of the back of the package, so for your sake and the sake of my poor fingers, I’m going to link you. Here you go — just find the “nutrition and ingredients” link on that page.
Price: $5.99 at Sportsman’s Warehouse
Pros: Rich, sugary, cheesecake-y goodness.
Cons: You can’t really eat it in space, which is kind of a bummer.