One of my dad's customers gave him a bunch of MREs (Meal, Ready-to-Eat), field rations used by the American military. My dad said he remembered the rations tasting better, having traded for them during the Vietnam War so he could try American food. I don't know how much of that was nostalgia or truth. What my dad ate were either MCIs (Meal, Combat, Individual rations) or LRP (Long Range Patrol rations) which were replaced by the MREs in the early 1980s.
My brother told my dad to bring some down because he was curious to see what the MREs looked and tasted like. Guess my cousins were curious too because I remembered we had quite a crowd when I decided to photograph it all.
This was back in May 2008. Hey! I'm slowly getting caught up. :P
If the MREs are of interest, I can blog some more since my dad gave me about half a dozen rations I haven't opened yet.
The chicken cavatelli MRE came sealed in a thick plastic bag. Inside were also fig bars, toast with cheese spread, nut and raisin mix, fruit punch, coffee, and a flameless heat unit.
Flameless heat unit? Yeah, I'm wasn't sure how that was going to work either.
And tilting it is what activates the heat? I was completely mystified.
Here's the heating part.
What's it made of? How can this possibly work?
No idea what the pasta was going to look like since it was all sealed up too.
So I poured water into the pouch like the directions said, then placed both that and the pasta packet inside the box again. I had no idea how hot the flameless heater was going to get, so I set it inside a cast iron pot. Amazingly, the box did get pretty warm.
Let's eat some toast while we wait for the pasta to heat up.
Spread some cheese on top.
No, it wasn't. The bread was thin and chewy. If you didn't have a choice and were really hungry...
The fig bars were slightly better. Although, I've never been a fan of fig bars to begin with because they taste nothing like fresh figs to me.
How about some stale-tasting nut and raisin mix?
Let's just wash away the taste of all that with some tropical punch.
Chicken and pasta is ready!
Wanna dig in?
That doesn't make you salivate?
Since the heating unit was now free, I decided to make some coffee. I added some water to the hot beverage bag.
Sealed it up and put the bag inside the box again.
Warm coffee. There's cream and sugar too if you need them.
Cousin A said she felt sorry for our troops who had to eat these.
The best item in the MRE?
Gotta be the gum.
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