Monday, 27 October 2008

Chicken Supreme and Rice

As a child, and later teenager, and even later adult, I have done a lot of camping in my life. I enjoy it. A cheap holiday, often in lovely locations that the hotel a few metres away is either non existent or charging a motza to stay in.
I grew up in the era of (almost) minimalist camping. As a child with my parents the car had to take 2 adults and 4 children, there was not much room for equipment and food. However later in life dad did buy a trailer for the tent, food and other gear.
As a teenager I joined a Senior Scout Group (Venturers) where camping often included hiking which meant that we often would want to carry only the bare minimum to keep you dry, warm and fed. The core period of this camping era was the 70's, during which my age ranged from 9 to 19, in hindsight a rather primitive time. So with weight and volume needing to be kept to a minimum meals did not generally involve a lot of fresh food or vegetables and relied on dry biscuits, dried fruit and freeze dried meals.
One of those freeze dried meals that I remember was called Chicken Supreme and Rice. From memory I think that it was made by "Vesta", I could be wrong here. I also think that in the freeze dried range there were other meals, but Chicken Supreme and Rice is the one I remember as being most popular. With the benefit of hindsight I suspect that it was the most palatable of the offerings. Maybe that should be least unpalatable. Once again I could be wrong but I remember that the rice was probably boiled as normal and the Chicken Supreme was an off white powder with various chunks in it. Some chunks looked Orange, some Green, some "white" for want of a better description. The Chicken Supreme was boiled for a period of time in water, until it re hydrated and formed a thick sauce with lumps of Chicken, Peas and Carrot in it. This sauce was poured over the rice.
As a meal it was fairly bland, but for a camper/hiker it was hot and filling, not to mention easy to prepare on a Billy, camp fire or small stove. Being light it was easy to carry, you just needed water at the other end. You either had to carry the water or since it was boiled could use creek water. Basically a carbohydrate loading that as a camper kept you warm, filled your belly and was not going to kill you that night.

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