As soon as I knew we won a slot, I ordered some food to get an idea on what the food story was all about. I ordered (2) of each meal so I could see what was in them.
It used the meals as show and tell so the boys understood what the meals they would be getting and how much volume they took. I did not use the meals for 2011 for any of the shakedowns. Still have them in the bags.
For our shakedowns, I would try to replicate the exact same meals. Some of the stuff you can not get, like individual portion packets of instant milk, or garlic bread pieces. In thise cases, I put together my own individual bags of instant milk and brought garlic crackers, etc.
It is easier to just buy the surplus food for your shakedowns. But I also used the shakedowns for a scout to plan the meals as part of the requirements for First Class. We used the meals from Philmont for the menu, then planned out how much we needed to have, made the purchase of the food, how much was the per person price, etc.
There was a posting on this site on how one troop managed the food and bear bags so it was very organized and very easy. Can;t remember all the details, but when I read how they did it, made me take notice and think about following the same path.
We arrive at Philmont on July 1. It will be here before I know it.