Trail Food: Beloved Jerky

I used to think that I was a marketer’s worst nightmare, and these are but a few of the reasons why:

  1. I don’t like shopping.  I would rather wear marginally acceptable hand-me-downs than go to a mall and engage in the tomfoolery that goes on in the dressing room.  Luckily, I have three sisters and a mother who wear similar sized clothes and shoes, so I tend to manage fine.  My mom has been known to say, “This _____ is beginning to look worn out. Do you want it?”  And the answer is: Yes, yes I do.
  2. At times I’m frugal to a fault.  I often don’t like buying things full price, although the physical angst that used to accompany certain purchases has subsided in the past few years.  For example, at the onset of last winter, I stopped into Eastern Mountain Sports with my friend April.  She knew that I had been meaning to buy a pair of insulating finger-less mittens for my poor fingers, which become very painful in cold weather.  They were $35, and she more or less forced me to get them before I could change my mind.  I used them every single day for months and couldn’t imagine this past winter without them, but it was an exercise in mindful breathing when handing over my credit card.
  3. I eat little in the way of processed foods.  I have a sensitive belly and tend to stick to foods that I know won’t aggravate it.  And although I appreciate junk food and sweets, I try to eat healthfully for the most part.  You generally won’t find foods with high fructose corn syrup, added salt, or even chemically fake sugars in my cupboard.  (OK, sometimes I eat cookies for dinner…because I’m a grownup, and grownups are allowed to eat whatever they want, that’s why.)

However, I’ve recently realized that I’m not immune to marketing tactics as long as marketed to properly.  Namely, chock it full of organic, whole ingredients and put it in Costco, and I’m bound to try it.  What’s that you say? Why would I be compelled to buy an entirely new-to-me product in bulk? Heavens knows, but I’m currently working my way through two cases of flavored beverages made with coffeefruit that confirm the notion. Nevermind that I rarely drink caffeine, and I’ve been bouncing off the walls; they’re made with stevia (isn’t that awesome?! stevia! Yeah, I sometimes find it scary inside my head too).

When I recently returned from a roadtrip with my friend Melissa, I was aching with beef jerky envy.  See, every time we stopped in a grocery store or mart along the way, Melissa would pick up jerky to snack on.  Unfortunately, none of the varieties we came across were labeled “gluten free,” and it wasn’t worth rolling the dice on what were considered “natural flavors,” as listed among the ingredients.  So, when I came across a brand at my local Costco, prominently labeled “gluten free,” I got very excited.

I hadn’t had any form of dried beef since I went through a “phase” in fifth grade.  For some reason, the guidance counselor’s office sold beef sticks for a quarter, and I’d buy one several times a week.  I’d always tear off the wrapper and declare in the raspiest voice my ten-year-old self could muster, “Snap in to a Slim Jim!” (Yeah, I know you all remember this guy.)  Then I tried my hand at being a vegetarian…for nine years, so the opportunity to eat jerky never really presented itself again.  Mind you, I discontinued my vegetarian shenanigans five years ago, just when my family was getting used to it, but I still don’t eat that much meat.  Until witnessing Melissa’s pack a day habit, jerky had been out of sight, out of mind.

So back to Costco. When I saw that there were twelve servings in the bag, did I turn away? No! And when I acknowledged to myself that I eat red meat infrequently, did I hesitate? Never!  What about when I realized I don’t even like beef that much, did I put the bag back on the shelf? Absolutely not! Why? Because it was 98% Fat Free! and Natural! and Gluten Free! How could I resist?

And guess what? It was delicious, and I mean scrumdiddley-icious.  The bar has been set high, and there’s a small chance that I will be ruined for other beef jerky brands, especially because it was less than $10.  Mind you, I’ve not yet tried other jerkies, so they may all be that good or better (I’m totally willing to find out the hard way if need be).  The problem is that it is highly doubtful that I will see a Costco in trail towns along the way.  What then?  Well, I could have someone send me care packages that include jerky.  However, I see two downsides: 1. Unless I can find it elsewhere in smaller packaging, I’ll have to eat twelve ounces of jerky in three days (it says to refrigerate within three days of opening) and 2. the cost of shipping would more than likely cancel out the savings.

What to do? What to do?  It might be time to start trying other brands of beef jerky, me thinks.  Hm. I’d better have another coffeefruit drink and think on it.

Meandering on,



10 thoughts on “Trail Food: Beloved Jerky

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  2. Well I’m not sure, but I would be totally willing to push the boundaries of a ‘refridgerate after’ date, I mean 3 days? Sounds like a suggestion to me. Why don’t you test it in a ziploc unrefridgerated after 4 or 5 days?

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