After batting 0 for 2 in our series of Apocalypse Food Reviews thanks to a “mocha mousse pie” that was more like weak, gelatinated hot chocolate and huevos rancheros that were a hot soupy mess, we had to give Backpacker's Pantry one last chance. After all, we want to believe there's someone in the BP test kitchen actually trying out these concoctions before they're mass-produced and shipped out across the country. Figuring we might as well swing for the fences, we chose Pad Thai, cornerstone of Thai takeout.
Well, it's not bad. It's got a strange, sharp, chemically high-note we can't define. (Dehydrated lime juice? Powdered cilantro? Who knows.) But at least it's the right consistency. The noodles are recognizably noodles. They may be a touch too al dente, but what do you really expect when you're cooking out of a foil packet? There's not much spice no spicy-ness, but we didn't really expect it. Flecked with red and green bits, presumably tomatoes, red bell peppers and green onions, it looks nice, though it doesn't pack much flavor.
The dish is surprisingly peanuty, the result of a packet of straight-up peanut butter you mix with the hot water as well as peanut chunks you sprinkle on top. Compared to anything approaching authentic Thai food, it's terrible, but grading on the Apocalypse Food Scale, it's inoffensive and, therefore, edible. This stuff is either low-end Los Angeles takeout or mid-range camping food. Either way, with only four days left until Judgment Day, we can't be too picky.