By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Oct 20, 2017 at 3:31 PM

Season's eatings! The weather may be getting colder, but Dining Month on OnMilwaukee is just cooking up, dishing out your winning picks in this year's Best of Dining poll. Dining Month is brought to you by Fein Brothers, your premier food service equipment and supply dealer in Wisconsin since 1929. Congratulations to all of the winners, and happy eating for all those who voted! See all the winners for the month so far here.

Building a bug-out-bag is a smart idea. Whether preparing yourself for a tornado or something more sinister (like the zombie apocalypse, for example), experts suggest you have three days of supplies on hand for whatever life throws you.

It may feel like overkill, but recent natural disasters remind us that when the poop hits the fan, the last thing you want to be doing is fighting for the remaining food on the shelves at the grocery store. The trick is to build your bug-out bag with stuff that has a very long shelf-life, so you can put your backpack (25 pounds or lighter) in your closet and not have to worry about it later.

Obviously, a zombie bag, as I call it, needs more than food and water, and if you’re interested in a very comprehensive list, check this out. But food and water are the most important parts of the kit, and I did the taste testing so you don’t have to.

Note: you really need to have water in your bug-out bag, but it’s very heavy. So in addition to carrying several bottles of it, I also have a LifeStraw and water purification tablets in my kit, which will purify any sketchy water you might need to collect. On top of that, I keep a seven-gallon container filled in my basement – although good luck carrying that around on foot.

1. Backpacker’s Pantry Jamaican Jerk Rice with Chicken

I like this one. With a seven-year shelf life, I found the consistency a little watery and the rice a little squishy, but the flavor is good. Contains brown rice, black beans, barbecue sauce, chicken and vegetables over rice.

2. Mountain House Chicken Fajita Bowl

This one is pretty serviceable, and like everything from the Mountain House brand, it has a 30-year shelf life. It contains chicken, bell peppers, rice, black beans, corn, onions and seasonings. Just provide the boiling water.

3. Mountain House Granola with Milk and Blueberries

This actually tastes like real cereal, and again, lasts 30 years. Just add cold water.

4. Mountain House Scrambled Eggs with Bacon

I found the consistency to be weird with these dehydrated eggs, but the flavor is good. All you need is hot water and 10 minutes.

5. Mountain House Macaroni and Cheese

This one is really good, at least as tasty as microwavable mac and cheese.

6. Backpacker’s Pantry Katmandu Curry

A decent vegetarian option with lentils, brown rice, potatoes, peas, carrots and curry seasoning.

7. Mountain House Chicken Teriyaki with Rice

It won’t win any awards for taste, but it’s not bad. Chicken, rice, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and vegetables with a sweet and tangy sauce.

8. Datrex 3,600-Calorie Emergency Food Bar

This is your option for when things get really bad. With a flavor that’s like a stale coconut protein bar, it’s not about the taste: each pack provides 3,600 calories in 200-calorie bars. Compact and light, they have a five-year-shelf life, and you don’t add water. The bars beat starvation, but only by a little.

Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.