"I would assume that a FBC approach can only provide so many calories per meal in relation to you pot or mug size. You can't cook two packs of Ramen if you can only boil one cup. I would like some discussion from experianced thru-hikers in reguards to this angle.
If you FBCed the AT How did ensure you got enough calorie wise? Correct me if I am wrong, I assume you must have supplemented with lots of dry foods, town stops, and perhaps some trail magic too."
I'll be honest in saying that last year we tried modeling our daily diet routine after Andrew Skurka's. Here was a typical day's diet with Calories:
Breakfast - Oatmeal mixed with dried milk, dried fruit, wheat germ and nuts - OR Granola with dried fruit and some oatmeal mixed in - On average our breakfasts were 650 - 700 calories. We also drank a cup of Twinnings English Breakfast Tea in the morning.
Through the day, we generally had 4 snacks at an average of 250 calories a piece, with one snack at mid day being 500. (These were usually Clif Bars, Powerbars, Snickers, Baby Ruths, Chocolate Pretzels, Almonds, Cashews, Etc)
Dinner - They were our own home dried meals. As an example:
* Chili Mac ( Containing Whole Wheat pasta elbows, homemade dried chili with alot of beef and beans)
*Taco Rice (Ground Turkey seasoned with Taco falvoring, onion, mixed with Jasmine Rice, Fritos Corn chips, and 2 packets of Taco Bell Taco Sauce)we also stuck string cheddar cheese in their we picked up at the grocery store along the way
Our dinners averaged between 650-750 calories. If it was chilly in the evening, we added a tbsp of Olive Oil for an additional 120 calories.
Right before bed, we had a "dessert" that usually consisted of pudding, some kind of cookie and nuts mixed in. These were good for another 500 calories.
This gave us an average of about 3000 calories and an average weight of 1.75 pounds per day.
By steadily dieting through the day, we were never hungry. We never got cold at night. On some days, even after 15 miles we were going to bed "stuffed"
In the past we used to survive on Ramen, Liptons, etc and I personally always had problems. I bonked alot. Got cold at night. It was inefficient for me.
The Ramen question you brought up, crumble two packages of Ramen into a Ziploc Freezerbag, add water and wait. It will re-hydrate without need for putting it into a pot. That's how alot of people get away with carrying small mugs. Mugs aren't for me but I commend those that are able to use them.
Anyway, last point. The majority of people who thru the AT will buy their food along the way. Nothing wrong with that approach at all. For us, we're going to drop 4-5 days worth per week, and use the extra couple of days to buy in the stores so we don't get bored and to be able to satisfy urges without blowing our budget. I have the unique position of having to finance this hike for two people, not just myself so these things are heavy on my mind. My wife and I had some fun recently going to the grocery store and picking out food for three days to simulate two hungry hikers, and to find the cost and the calorie counts. Surprisingly, we spent nearly double what it costs us to produce and dry our own meals, buy in bulk, etc. Calorie wise, we had good calories, but the real issue was breaking down the carb/fat/protein contents of those calories. That's where our own meal plan out-shined buying what was in the stores as we went.
I think our experiment and strategy last year allowed us two things:
#1 - Steady supply of calories through the day.
#2 - A proper mix between carbs, fat and Protein. The majority of the carbs in our store meals were simple carbs. Simple carbs WILL make you hungrier than if you have a proper mix in your diet.
Hope that helps.