Monday, July 30, 2012

MRE Monday - Apple Turnover

According to the new monthly catalog I received yesterday, this MRE is only available for 2 more days (Aug 1)  from Emergency Essentials . It should become available like the Lemon Poppy Seed Pound cake sometime in the future if you miss it this round.

Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: 3.3 oz.
Calories: 260
Calories from fat: 60
Total Fat: 7g or 11% DV
Cholesterol: 0mg or 0% DV
Sodium: 290mg or 12% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 50g or 17% DV
Dietary Fiber: 2g or 8% DV
Sugars: 21g
Protein: 4g
Vitamin A: 0% DV
Vitamin C: 6% DV
Thiamine: 20% DV
Riboflavin: 10 DV
Niacin: 10% DV
Calcium:  6% DV
Iron: 2% DV
Folic Acid: 6% DV

I knew better than to expect the nice puff pastries from the deli , but I was hoping for something similar. I nice triangular pastry with a white glaze over the top would be so sweet. ( Pardon the pun )


I'll start off with my youngest son,  Red Ant, who was really having an off night. He didn't like the chicken and dumplings and was really acting out. He took a very small bite, and said he "liked it". Sweetheart offered him another and he didn't want anything to do with it. I'm thinking that if he does take another bite, then that a sign that it gets his approval.

Row, our six year old, immediately said, " I love it!". He then ate the rest of his quarter apple turnover, but didn't know what to think about the apples squishing out the side of the turnover.

Sweetheart's first reaction was "Cinnamon!" Her critique went as follows, "Almost too much cinnamon, it distracts from the apples. The apples have a good texture." I think that she liked it. For her, the whole apple turnover was similar in texture and shape to the Filled French Toast.

Dear Mom was also with us for dinner and the movie Aladdin, and she liked it better than the carrot cake from the previous week.

I had already eaten one as soon as the package arrived. I thought that they were very good. Probably on par with the Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake. These two would be my first two choices when the cache is first opened up. It goes without saying that it gets my approval. 

Final Thoughts:

We will be ordering these again. They priced in at $1.80 each, and I thought it was a reasonable price to pay for a dessert that can be stored for 5 years at 70 degrees. We ordered 20 this round, and will be ordering another 20+ whenever they become available again. I think that if I offer them again to Red Ant, he would have a different reaction to them, but it still didn't get a star from him at testing time.

Stars: * * * ( 3 )

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"An End of An Era"

I've spent the last 23 and a half years at the same company/owner. Granted it was four different restaurants, one of those I opened and closed. I decided it was time to move on with another chapter in my life for a few reasons. The first three being my family. I need to be home on the weekends and nights with two small boys. Another major catalyst for starting college was getting pissed off one too many times by a general manager, that is a micromanaging old psuedo-hippie, and the loss of a paid vacation. The loss of my one week paid vacation, after twenty three years of service that included mostly six days a week, was a wake up call.

I was often harassed to come into work on my day off or asked to pull a double, because other coworkers decided to get drunk/high instead of work. It was also a company problem to not hire people, so it was a guarantee to work a few doubles because management wouldn't do anything. The owner is also a high functioning alcoholic, which doesn't help either. All of these could be a rather lengthy post, but I'll spare you the details.

Overall, the experience was good. I met my wife at work, and was paid well. We are in a good financial position for me to go to school. We have been doing the Dave Ramsey program for over three years. 'nough said.

One of my favorite waiters, J.Y., called me leaving "An End of an Era", hence the title of the post. I got there thirty minutes early as usual and found A.M. setting up my job area. Secretly, I think that the boss was covering his own butt in case I called in...he had made a few jokes about it during the week. Anyways, I clocked in early, and did my job. Actually, I did more than my job by making sure that the next person was in good shape for a Friday. I left it like I would have been working the next day. It's just how I am.

B.P. got me a gift certificate to one of my favorite fast food places...Chik-fil-a. I gave her one of her favorite bandanas that I wore at work. She always commented on it when I wore it. The restaurant next door screwed up when they lost her.

I had requested an fruit plate instead of a cake, I'd like to be a little healthier. Pineapple,grapes, strawberries, cantaloupe, and cherries made for a great breakfast.

J.P. came in, got on the phone, and started crying. I told her that "I'm going to miss you too." Turns out she was sick and feeling really terrible. She said she was sorry for missing my last day, but had to head back home.

Through the course of a week, I got to say goodbye to some of my favorite customers. It was a nice way for me to say goodbye, and to leave a good impression for the restaurant. I had a few old employees come in for a "last meal". It was humbling to think that people thought that much about me. I've made a few friends over the years, and probably a few more enemies. I also got to meet some really cool people that have changed my perspective on life.

A long time friend and bartender, along with one of my top cooks, and the owner's sister gave me a gift certificate to a high end restaurant as a going away present. Everyday should have been my last day...

After 23 years at the same company, it was hard for me to leave my comfort zone. Stepping out on faith has always been hard for me.

It's a new adventure in my life as I head back to school, endure unemployment, and start a "New Era".

Monday, July 23, 2012

MRE Monday - Carrot Pound Cake

It seems that I've ordered a lot of desserts and fewer entrees. So, today's MRE is carrot pound cake from Emergency Essentials for $1.50

Nutritional Information:
Calories 270
Calories from Fat: 120
Total Fat: 13g or 20% Daily Value ( DV )
Trans Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 45mg or 15% DV
Sodium: 210mg or 9% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 36g or 12% DV
Dietary Fiber: 1g or 6% DV
Sugars: 19g
Protein: 3g
Vitamin A: 10% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Calcium:  2% DV
Iron: 4%

Since I started doing the reviews, I think that I have a better handle on what to expect. I am familiar with the MRE pound cakes, which have been pretty good, and expect a compact carrot cake.

We had the added bonus of my Mother-in-Law for dinner on MRE sample night, so we also got her opinion on the dessert. She did ask if I was worried about December 21, 2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar. I told her "No, the MRE testing is for my blog. I do reviews for backpacking and other scenarios." She knows that we have a lot of food, but she hasn't pressed the subject.

Row, our oldest, took a very small bite, and told us he liked it. I offered another bite and got a "No thank you." I told him it was alright if he didn't like it, and then he said he didn't. Oh, as soon as he saw it he did say "I don't wanna try the carrot". He saw a bit in the cake, and with him being six, that kinda sealed the deal on him not liking it.

Red Ant with Pincers, or Ant, the three year old, had a very similar response. He took a small bite and refused another.

Sweetheart noticed the strong spice that was quickly identified as clove,and thought it had a "good pop of flavor". She later compared the clove taste to her homemade Ginger Snaps (I think this is a huge compliment). Soon after taking her first bite, she said " We will order these again".

Nurse Susie Q also liked the clove taste, but would have preferred a moister texture. Thumbs up.

I thought that it was very good. One of my first thoughts was that it would be great around a campfire with a strong cup of black coffee on a cold winter's evening. The nuts provided a nice change in texture, and it had the same compact cake texture of all the MRE pound cakes.

Final Thoughts:
We played a mini trivia game of trying to detect the flavors in the cake. Nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon were guessed. The fine print of the ingredients revealed that ( in order of most to least) molasses,pure vanilla extract, cinnamon, pineapple, nutmeg, and clove were present. I was surprised by the pineapple, but it makes sense for the texture of the pound cake. I think that most adults will like the carrot pound cake, and maybe a few oddball kids. A reorder for the stockpile, but I'd like to wait for a sale.  Emergency Essentials will often drop the price by a quarter, then I'll stock up.

Stars: * * (2)  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Let Me Translate For You...

 Note: Translations are in bold Print.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sketched a bleak picture of the U.S. economy Tuesday — and warned it will darken further if Congress doesn't reach agreement soon to avert a budget crisis.
Without an agreement, tax increases and deep spending cuts would take effect at year's end. Bernanke noted what the Congressional Budget Office has warned: A recession would occur, and 1.25 million fewer jobs would be created in 2013. We are at the end of what we at the Fed can do.
The Fed is prepared to take further action to try to help the economy if unemployment stays high, he said. Bernanke didn't signal what steps the Fed might take or whether any action was imminent. And he noted there's only so much the Fed can do.
But the Fed chairman made clear his most urgent concern is what would happen to the economy if Congress can't resolve its budget impasse before the year ends. We will print more money.
Cuts in taxes on income, dividends and capital gains would expire. So would this year's Social Security tax cut and businesses tax reductions. Defense and domestic programs would be slashed. And emergency benefits for the long-term unemployed would run out.
All that "would greatly delay the recovery that we're hoping to facilitate," Bernanke said near the end of two hours of testimony to the Senate Banking Committee. Get your shit together.
Jobless Claims Plunge To 4-Year Low Watch Video
Obama Urges Congress to Act on His Jobs Plan Watch Video
Bernanke was giving his twice-a-year report to Congress on the state of the economy. He will testify Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee.
The economy is growing modestly but has weakened, Bernanke said. Manufacturing has slowed. Consumers are spending less. And job growth has slumped to an average of 75,000 a month in the April-June quarter from 226,000 a month from January through March. The unemployment rate is stuck at 8.2 percent.
Bernanke noted that the economy, after growing at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the second half of 2011, slowed to roughly 2 percent from January through March. And it likely weakened further in the April-June period. It is getting worse.
Congress needs to resolve its impasse well before the year ends, Bernanke said. Spend less, tax more.
"Doing so would help reduce uncertainty and boost household and business confidence," he said.
The cuts that would kick in next year could cost as many as 2 million jobs, a trade group that represents manufacturers said in a report released Tuesday. The report came from the Aerospace Industries Association.
A separate report Tuesday pointed to the budget crises many states are suffering, caused in part by shrinking revenue from the federal government. States are finding it harder to pay for basic services such as law enforcement, local schools and transportation, the report said. It was issued by the State Budget Crisis Task Force, a non-profit co-chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former New York Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch. Oh Shit.
Republicans in Congress are demanding deeper spending cuts while extending income tax cuts for everyone. Democrats want to extend the tax cuts for middle- and lower-class Americans. But they want them to expire for people in the highest-income brackets. Republicans wants to take care of their rich friends and screw the lower and middle class. Democrats don't want a revolution.
Bernanke stopped short of telling Congress what steps to take. He challenged them to think broadly.
"Congress is in charge here, not the Federal Reserve," he said. The Fed is out of bullets, we have manipulated the markets as much as we can without causing major MAJOR problems down the road. We can only kick the can so far...

The economy's challenges go beyond the budget impasse, Bernanke said. Lawmakers must also produce a long-term plan to shrink federal budget deficits. Otherwise, he said the United States could eventually suffer a financial crisis marked by rising interest rates. Consumers and businesses would have to pay more for mortgages and many other kinds of loans. Once interest rates go up, all bets are off. We won't be able to pay back the principal on the loans....and from John D. Wheeler "Once interest rates go up, all bets are off. We either won't be able to refinance our debt or to make our interest payments."

"It would be very costly to our economy," Bernanke said. The US citizen will have a lower standard of living.
Stocks rose sharply despite Bernanke's grim assessment. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed more than 90 points, and broader indexes also gained.
The Fed chairman also said Europe's debt crisis poses a serious threat to the U.S. economy. He said the Fed has been working with U.S. banks to ensure they've taken steps to prepare for a crisis. The USA is heavily invested in Europe.
"Although I have every hope and expectation that the European leaders will find solutions, there is a risk of a more serious financial blowup," Bernanke said. Pay attention to Europe. They are the proverbial canary in the coal mine.
Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke... View Full Caption
Obama Urges Congress to Act on His Jobs Plan Watch Video Spend more money we don't have.
Investors had hoped Bernanke would signal another round of bond purchases, to drive down long-term interest rates and encourage more borrowing and spending. But they seemed to shrug off the downbeat outlook and focused on stronger earnings reported by Mattel, Coca-Cola and other big companies.
At least one senator implored Bernanke to take action now.
"Given the political realities of this year's election, I believe the Fed is the only game in town," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said. "I would urge you, now more than ever, to take whatever actions are warranted." "Please, do something until the elections are over!"
"So get to work, Mr. Chairman," Schumer added.
Even if the Fed announces another round of bond purchases, some economists question how much it might help. They note that mortgage rates and other key borrowing rates are already at record lows. The rates can't get any lower for market manipulation.
The economy was already sputtering when the Fed's policymaking committee last met June 19-20. At that meeting, the Fed decided to extend a program that shifts its bond portfolio to try to lower long-term interest rates. The Fed also reiterated its plan to keep its key short-term interest rate near zero until at least late 2014.
Minutes of the June meeting show that Fed officials were open to taking further action — but were divided over whether the economy needs help now. The middle class savers that depend on interest are gonna get screwed longer.
Former Fed official Roberto Perli, managing director at the research firm International Strategy & Investment, doubts the Fed will take action at its next meeting July 31-Aug. 1, preferring to wait for more evidence of where the economy is headed. We can't decide what to do. How bad can it get?
But if growth and job creation continue to weaken, he says, Fed policymakers might unveil another round of bond purchases at its Sept. 12-13 meeting. QE3 - print more money, inflation, a hidden tax. PREP PREP PREP.


Monday, July 16, 2012

MRE Monday - Chocolate Chip Cookie

 Today's pick for the MRE Monday was a pretty safe bet. I chose the MRE Chocolate Chip Cookie. They are $1.25 at Emergency Essentials.

Nutritional Information:
Calories from Fat: 140
Total Fat: 16g or 25% Daily Value ( DV )
Saturated Fat: 5g or 25% DV
Trans Fat: 3.5g
Cholesterol: 10mg or 3% DV
Sodium: 170mg or 7% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 36g or 12% DV
Dietary Fiber: 1g or 4% DV
Sugars: 18g
Protein: 3g
Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin C: 0%
Calcium: 0%
Iron: 8%

Expectations: I was expecting a chocolate chip cookie like Chips Ahoy.

Row thought that the chocolate chip cookie was okay. He didn't want another bite, but he really doesn't like desserts. His only comment was that "It tasted different than all the others." He has only had homemade cookies, so I can relate.

Red Ant, our youngest, liked the cookie and ate about half it and proclaimed, "Yeah, I ate it all." A thumbs up, if you ask me.

Sweetheart thought that the cookie was "Alright, I'd eat them." The texture was grittier, but it didn't bother her. She also thought it was full bodied ( this means I'd like to brush my teeth afterwords ). She thought it had a decent chocolate chip flavor. It reminds her of the more organic type alternative ingredient chocolate chip cookies, which she is fine with her.

My thoughts were that it was a bigger version of the Chips Ahoy cookies, which is a good thing for a mass produced cookie. A good teeth scrubbing is in order after eating it though. Also, the cookie inside the package could be beaten to crumbs if a little extra care isn't taken.  I would have liked more chocolate chips, but I really like chocolate.

Final Thoughts:
A good product that is a little pricy for what you get, but it is long term storage. It would also be a welcome relief and a good comfort food on the trail or SHTF scenario.

Stars: * * * * ( 4 )

Thursday, July 12, 2012

MRE Grading System

I was talking with Sweetheart about doing a grading system for the MRE reviews. At least some way to standardize them, so that they can be compared better. While taste is subjective and it changes, it will show that the Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake is better than the Fried Rice.

Our newest order. The Ziplocked MREs are ready for storage.

The purpose of these reviews is inform and educate others about MREs for disaster situations, caches, SHTF, or outdoor trips. The huge positives for MREs is that they can be eaten cold, require very little preparation, and their long shelf life. I had a lot of questions about MREs especially if they were any good. I couldn't find any reviews, so I started my own. I admit it has been fun, and I get to see what kind my kids will eat. I will usually order one or two of each item, test them, and reorder if they pass. I will say that the biggest compliment that I can give an MRE is if I am going to reorder them.

Here is the point system:

If Red Ant likes it, then it gets 1 point.

If Row likes it, then it gets 1 point.

If Sweetheart likes it, we order more. (J/K) It gets a point.

If K likes it, then it gets 1 point.

Four points maximum, four stars, seems pretty simple to me. The adults may give the MREs half points.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Proper Southern Cornbread

A proper southern household knows how to cook cornbread. I thought I'd do a picture post to show everyone. The recipe is subjective to taste, but for ease and convenience I like the Martha White Cotton Country Cornbread package. The Southern Recipe is the best, it adds an egg and reduces the water amount. The egg makes the cornbread fluffier.

 Start heating the empty cast iron skillet while mixing the cornbread. It has to be a cast iron skillet, otherwise it ain't proper.

Heat about a large spoon of shortening in the skillet.

The oil is hot enough once a small drop of batter starts to bubble.

Add the batter into the skillet. Here comes the crispy edges for the cornbread!

The finished product fresh from the oven.

The cornbread has to be flipped onto a plate for the table.

Of course, the cornbread is the main entree ( with lots of butter ) , but serving suggestions include Great Northern Beans with a little bacon grease and sliced ham steaks. 

A complete dinner under $8.00 for a family of four.

Now, my Grandfather would have dessert by crumbling a wedge of cornbread into a glass and then pouring sweet milk (buttermilk) over it. A sprinkle of sugar on top and that's how we do it in the South.

Monday, July 9, 2012

MRE Monday - Sloppy Joe Filling

Sloppy Joes ( 8 oz. ) were on the menu this week as a side dish to be tried by my family. Let's see how it did. Currently $2.75 at Emergency Essentials.

Nutritional Information:
Calories from Fat: 110
Total Fat: 16g or 25% Daily Value ( DV )
Saturated Fat: 3.5g or 18%
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 60mg or 20% DV
Sodium: 700mg or 29% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 21g or 7% DV
Dietary Fiber: 1g or 4%
Sugars: 14g
Protein: 21g
Vitamin A: 30%
Vitamin C: 100%
Calcium: 4%
Iron: 20%

I always try to give my readers a point of reference on my expectations so that  it gives them a better idea of how I grade the MRE. Of course, I am expecting the homemade version where you brown the hamburger meat then add the can of Sloppy Joe mix.

First, I'd like to apologize for forgetting to take a picture of the finished product, but we were in a hurry to get the food onto the table. Red Ant, our 3 year old, immediately said, "I don't like this."  This was his first exposure to Sloppy Joes. For those without kids, it takes a few times for them to get used to the idea of new foods. This being said, I'll probably try to reintroduce it to him and see what the new response might be.

My oldest, Row, the six year old, was a lot more entertaining. "Why are they called Sloppy Joes?" I made up an answer and told him it is because they are SO messy. He also wanted to know if Sloppy Joe was the restaurant's name. He took a few bites and said,"I just love Sloppy Joe." I have to admit that he is the pickiest of the two kids, and this was a nice change of pace. 

Sweetheart thought it was "Alright, good tang, but the texture was a little to be desired." I had to remind her that it is, after all, a packaged product for long term storage and texture is a hard problem to overcome. She understood, but still would have preferred the texture to be better. Sweetheart reiterated that Filled French Toast was still her favorite.

I think that I was less impressed with the MRE than my wife. The first taste had a preservative taste and overall, I thought that the MRE was lacking compared to the original.

Final Thoughts:
Once again, the most important factor is that we will be ordering more. We agreed that this MRE probably won't be the first one picked, but makes an good sandwich. Sweetheart wanted to do a cost comparison against the dehydrated hamburger and a can of mix versus the MRE. I told her She knew that we are not opening a  #10 can just to do a comparison. Maybe I can find a Mychoice can size or something, because I would be interested too.  Anyways, with one boy really liking it, and the other needing to be reintroduced to it, we will be ordering at least three for each meal. By the way, they make about three sandwiches with the regular size hamburger buns. ( There was some still in the package ). This is an excellent yield for an MRE. One MRE package per adult would be good, and half per child would fill everyone up.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Found Photo Gold on an old CD

Self Portrait 

Old Swimmin' Hole

A view from the best campsite.

Some of "The Crew"

My backpacking Mentor always said,"Remember that most backpacking accidents happen at river crossings". No Accidents Here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Two Weeks Notice Conversation

Me: Do you want me to write out my two weeks notice?

Owner: Yeah, when are you going to turn it in?

Me: Today.

Owner: TODAY? TWO WEEKS?  Couldn't you give me a little bit longer notice?

Me: I told you a year ago what I was planning.

Owner: I sure am gonna miss you.

Me: I'll miss y'all too.

Owner: (laughing) A year's notice..that's funny. You'll enjoy coming here more, on the other side of the bar.

Me:  I'd like to see what kind of time I'm going to have to commit to school before I see if I can work one weekend shift a week for some residual income.

Owner: We can work something out...

The rest of the conversation laid out the rest of my two weeks. I'll be doing some consulting work with a few of the best cooks to give them a good foundation for running the kitchen. July 20th is my last day at work.

It's kind of scary after having been at one company for over 23 years, then choosing to become unemployed a full time student. I should have done this a long time ago, but I don't have any real complaints, other than being old. I met my wonderful wife at work and she gave me two wonderful, curious, and brilliant boys, so I guess God really does know what He is doing. It's still kinda scary though....

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4th, 2012 - Updates Throughout the Day

I pledge allegiance to the Flag
Of the United States of America
And to the Republic
For Which it Stands
One Nation Under God
With Liberty & Justice for All
 Ready for friends & neighbors to come over. Grill ready, Kiddie pool clean, Cardboard house setup, hotdogs & burgers ready, and water and beer iced down. 100% thankful to be American!

Monday, July 2, 2012

MRE Monday - Cheese Spread & Peanut Butter & Chunky Peanut Butter

I'll be doing a trifecta of MREs that would make for a good walking lunch. A walking lunch is a backpacking term that I first learned from Larry Williams. It is a lunch that can be eaten whenever you drop your pack. No cooking and limited cleanup, and a great recharge.The current price at Emergency Essentials for each of the packages is $.75 each.

Nutritional Information:

Cheese Spread
Serving Size: 1.5 oz.
Calories: 180
Calories from fat: 150
Total Fat: 19g or 29% DV ( Daily Value )
Cholesterol: 45mg or 15% DV
Sodium: 580mg or 24% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 1g or 0% DV
Dietary Fiber: 0g or 0% DV
Sugars: 0g
Protein: 5g
Vitamin A: 90% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Calcium:  15% DV
Iron: 0%

Chunky Peanut Butter & Peanut Butter

Serving Size: 1.5 oz.
Calories: 250
Calories from fat: 180
Total Fat: 21g or 32% DV
Cholesterol: 0mg or 0% DV
Sodium: 200mg or 8% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 10g or 3% DV
Dietary Fiber: 3g or 12% DV
Sugars: 4g
Protein: 10g
Vitamin A: 60% DV
Vitamin C: 80% DV
Calcium:  2% DV
Iron: 4%

My expectations were that they were very similar to jarred peanut butter - Jiffy or Peter Pan. The cheese spread I thought would be close to Velvetta.

The peanut butter, chunky peanut butter, and cheese spread were served on Ritz crackers as lunch. Nothing else was available for them to snack on, except for a MRE Fruit Punch. I'll talk about each packet in their own paragraph.

The cheese spread was basically a Velvetta cheese spread. A good thing for a cheese spread to be compared with. Sweetheart thought it was "salty, decent cheese flavor". Red Ant,our 3 year old, took a small bite of the cracker with the cheese then took the packet and started to suck the cheese out of it. A very high compliment. Row, our six year old, proclaimed that "the cheese one is yummy!". I thought that the cheese spread had a decent flavor and texture.

The chunky peanut butter had a nice nutty flavor. My only complaint with the chunky peanut butter was that the chunks were very small. Sweetheart explained my disappointment very well when she said that the chunks didn't "provide a pop of flavor". Both boys actually prefer the smooth peanut butter in every day sandwich life, and didn't particularity favor this one over the smooth peanut butter.

The peanut butter was exactly the same good peanut flavor as the chunky, except that the tiny chunks were absent. The quality was excellent, as comparable to any name brand peanut butter. Red Ant summed it up very well when he said, " I like that one!".

Final Thoughts:
All three products were excellent to good quality. A problem that I have found with Emergency Storage of food supplies, is my love of cheese. While the cheese spread will somewhat satisfy this craving, it still lacks. I'll only be ordering the smooth peanut butter and a limited amount of the cheese spread to streamline the stockpile. The chunks in the chunky peanut butter weren't big enough to justify the inventory of two types. My two boys both prefer the smooth peanut butter, which is another reason to only order the smooth type. Excellent products for a "walking lunch" or a quick pick-me-up snack. Great for caches or extended wilderness trips.