A quick update on our experiment with freeze dried Thrive foods: they’re even better than I had hoped. We’ve been gone one month now; the freezer is almost empty, the fresh food we bought in Marathon is long gone, we have some canned beans and tomatoes, but we are still eating like kings! Between the freeze dried food and the whole grains we carry, we have an incredible variety of menu options. We are now nearer to civilization, so we have access to island markets (supplies limited between mail boats), but normally at this point in a trip we’d be stuck with simpler options like oatmeal with raisins for breakfast, PBJs for lunch, and rice and beans or spaghetti for dinner. I feel an unspeakable joy to serve a dish with all the colors and aromas of fresh fruits and veggies when I’m hundreds of miles from the closest farmer’s market.
Some of the dishes in which I have used Thrive foods (in parentheses) include: BBQ chicken pizza (chicken), spaghetti with meat sauce (beef crumbles), pepperoni pizza appetizers (mozzarella), baked potato soup (potatoes, celery, broccoli, onions and cheddar cheese, milk and sour cream), baked oatmeal (green apples, eggs, milk), minestrone soup (corn, peas, spinach, green beans, carrots, onions, bell peppers), pancakes with berry compote (eggs, milk, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries), sausage and cheese griddle bread (sausage crumbles, cheddar), frittata (sausage crumbles, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, onions, cheddar), chili (bell peppers, onions, beef crumbles) and chicken and dumplings (celery, onions, carrots, peas, green beans).
Where they excel is in one-dish dinners—simply throw in a handful of this and a handful of that and voilá! Gourmet meals in minutes. Limitations might be that I didn’t carry enough fruit (we could have been drinking smoothies this whole time!), and that the vegetables and meats are best used as ingredients and not served as a side dish (for example, it would be better to put the green beans in a casserole than to cook and eat them alone). One reason may be that when you rehydrate veggies or meats in some kind of broth, they take on the flavor of the dish and taste that much better. The only exception is butter powder: I wouldn’t sauté anything in it, but reconstituted with a little bit of water and expeller-pressed coconut oil, it becomes the most wonderful spread for fresh-baked bread or pancakes. A quick survey of the crew of Take Two would find them very satisfied with dishes coming out of our galley, with my Thrive substitutions virtually indistinguishable from fresh ingredients in favorite recipes.