But the ideal doesn't always happen in the nitty-gritty of life, so what are you to do when it comes to the entire family needing to evacuate from an area on foot, and you're the one who is predominantly responsible for carrying the bulk of the gear?
While I don't think there's any doubt that MREs are the most convenient means of preparing a meal while out in the woods with as minimal fuss as possible (e.g., you can eat them almost immediately, they don't require fuel per se, and the amount of water you need to cook them with is about the same amount as the spit I've seen tobacco chewers generate), I think that there are potentially times or arenas where you don't want to just load up on MREs.
Normally, when backpacking I've always traditionally carried all of my food with me in a waterproof bag. That way, all the food stays in one place, and I can easily hang that bag up in a tree over the course of the night as my bear bag.
I've been researching Mors Kochanski quite a bit of late, though, and one of the things that he constantly harped on was the need for a metal pot with a hanger. If you saw my posts on the Dakota fire hole (here and here), this was one of the main lessons I learned here. I have always taken a backpacker's metal pot set with me when I go out to spend the night in the woods, but if you're trying to cook without some type of propane or alcohol backpacker's stove – say, you're trying to cook on a campfire – just using a regular metal pot is a pain in the butt and takes forever.