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Non-perishables reviewed for the festival-goer and survivalist alike

Summer’s finally rolling around, and you know what that means: festival season, that magical time of year when kids of all ages pile into vans, make their way to abandoned fields, and shirk the burdens of society in a way you can only do with a million-dollar trust fund.

But if you’re gonna survive those few days without your parents, you’ve got to eat. And we’re here to help you get fed as cheaply as possible. If you’re reading this issue for the survivalist angle, you’ll find this article useful as well, since these food items are rated in terms of what they could be bartered for in an unregulated free-for-all.

Rice-a-Roni (Beef Flavor)

While the rice/vermicelli texture is off-putting, the star of the show is the beef flavoring. The butter the box calls for is a downside, as you probably won’t have any on hand at the festival. The overall effect is that of a beef stew stretched to its limit with rice.

Worth: A handmade t-shirt

Hormel Chili with Beans

A safe choice. Plenty of protein will ensure that you stay full, and the dish isn’t stretched out like the Rice-a-Roni. In terms of flavor, most of it comes from the beef, creating a somewhat bland effect. A word of warning: No one will want to share a tent with you if you eat this.

Worth: Two condoms and a bottle of water

Dinty Moore Beef Stew

You know you’re eating bad beef stew when the best part is the vegetables. If I had to guess, they probably use the beef that’s just a tiny bit too good to make into dog food, which is what this looks like as it leaves the can.

Worth: An ass-kicking from the person you tricked into eating this

Van Camp’s Pork and Beans

A cookout staple. Eating this cross-legged on the ground just feels right. A hint of spice accentuates the beans perfectly. It’s so good you’ll almost forget to wonder what part of the pig you’re eating. Almost.

Worth: An impromptu spoken-word poem and one turquoise earring

Maruchan Instant Lunch (Chicken Flavor)

You know what this tastes like. I don’t have to describe it to you. The starch will keep you kind of full, but the salt will dehydrate you, so make sure to drink extra water.

Worth: Two puffs on a jazz cigarette

Bush’s Baked Beans

Not quite Van Camp’s, but pretty good. The beans are noticeably sweeter, so it might suit some palates more than others. Has a chemical-ish aftertaste. On the upside, mine had a recognizable piece of bacon.

Worth: The other turquoise earring

Amy’s Vegetarian Chili (Medium)

High-quality stuff. Valuable enough to steal, under the right circumstances. I would eat this in a non-outdoor setting. The tofu does a decent impression of beef, and the red beans add a smooth texture. The spices aren’t quite enough for me, but results may vary.

Worth: Half a bottle of Sriracha and having your hair braided by a stranger

Taco Bell Original Refried Beans

If you like beans but wish they looked less like a vegetable and more like a brown paste, this is the product for you. It tastes like beans and nothing else. Its can recommends that you eat it with tortilla chips, but I don’t truck with a product that refuses to stand on its own like that.

Worth: $400. If you aren’t willing to pay exorbitant prices for something that’s not that good unless you’re stoned out of your mind, you’re probably not going to a festival in the first place.

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