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Chow paks to Iraq

I'm trying to get a couple of "original" packages off to my marine grandsons in Iraq. Both Chowhounds. Any great suggestions?
I found some fabulous jerky on another post. Lots of dried fruit and nuts. Red licorice and jelly bellies.
Please help me out. Can't be perishible.
Thank you all.

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  1. Unfortunately, the packs I've been sending off to a friend over there don't qualify as "original" or "good chow" -- just good old comfort food like single serving chili, beef stew, and mac'n'cheese. Hmmm... I know drink mixes, the portioned kind that you can just pour into a water bottle, were one of his favorites... not very 'gourmet' though!

    1. I would try to find variations of jerky and dried foods -- try Asian markets, and you'll find dried squid, longan, etc., which are great for snacking. You can also find ahi, salmon, and buffalo jerky at various markets.

      Perhaps some Maribelle hot cocoa? You can get that for about $20 at Williams-Sonoma.

      That store reminds me of some other items you can ship. They also have 'gourmet' honey (which can last a long time unrefridgerated), and jams -- like boysenberry, or other less common fruits. A favorite cookie of mine - thin, spicy moravian cookies are also found in the store.

      In terms of nuts, I would also add the chili-lime packages from Trader Joe's. Lots of spice!

      Best wishes! I really commend you on your thoughtful packages. It'll mean so much to them. If there is any link through which we can send chow paks, too, please let us know!

      1. would it be safe to send a dry salami? I'm making up a care pkg myself and used the suggestions above. Never would have thought of the single serve drink mixes!
        Thanks to all.
        also want to be sure you're aware of the usps flat rate mailing boxes for military care pkgs. 2 sizes available with 8.10 total shipping charge. send lots of chow for just a little dough.

        1. Not sure if this post will be allowed to stand but I'll post 2 very helpful links re sending chow to troops.



          1. Thanks to all of you for those thoughtful suggestions. I have tried the spiced nuts at TJ's. They liked them. I will try the Asian markets and I do believe dried salami would hold up. I'll give it a try.
            Good links for mailing info.
            This is a great org if you care to communicate or send stuff to the soldiers:


            We'll keep doing our part.

            1. Maybe you've already thought of this, but how about condiments? Things like packets of ketchup, mustard, relish, mayo, hot sauce, etc.?

              I'd imagine most of the MREs are pretty bland.

              6 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Little bottles of Tabasco are nice.

                Also, packets of powdered Kool-aid and Gatorade, and slim jim beef sticks. You can also get all kinds of excellent tins of sardines--they're portable, too, with the pop-off lids so the guys (and gals) can take them along. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/364987 Or, canned herring. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/32971...
                Even canned some nice canned tuna http://www.chowhound.com/topics/306903 From what I hear, they want protein, protein, protein. But not pork, of course. Not allowed in.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Don't MREs already come with little bottles of Tabasco?

                  1. re: Covert Ops

                    You know, I don't know! It never occurred to me that they might. Do they? I wonder how one finds this out?

                    EDIT: according to Wikipedia, many MRE's do come with Tabasco! Well, nevermind, then!



                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Well that certainly doesn't mean you can't send Suzie's or Cholula or some other brand! :-)

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        Send Tabasco! Red and Green!
                        Only some of the MREs come with it and then it's those tiny bottles - just about enough for one or two meals.
                        The regular military food is really pretty good but it's cooked to a fairly general taste level so, if your military members oveseas likes spice, send a number of bottles. The mess usually puts condiments out but it's good to have for when the food is carried out of the dining hall.

                  2. re: ipsedixit

                    For the guy I was sending to, since his mess hall/shop (forget the name of it, PX or something) was always out of creamer and sugar, I sent restaurant-style packets of each, along with some good coffee. I sent salt and pepper once, too, but more so he could keep it in his room instead of having to share out of the mess hall.

                  3. some good-quality sea salt or other spices to perk up whatever crap the army feeds them

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JessGoldberg261

                      Why would you assume that the military is feeding the troops poorly?
                      To the contrary, if you think it's "crap," it may be that you have no experience with it. MREs aren't like the old C-rats that were the butt of jokes. The food at permanent dining halls is better than average institutional food, its main problem being that it isn't "home cooking" for young men serving our country far from home.
                      I've eaten it and thought that the military cooks who prepared it did a fine job. I wasn't eating it anywhere near a war zone though and can't even imagine cooking under those circumstances. But I can assure you it isn't "crap,"