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Military 'Hounds: Chowing While Deployed

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I am gearing up for my second trip to the Middle East. Last time I went to Afghanistan but this time I get to see the lovely country of Iraq.

My main complaint while I was gone last time was the food. In fact, my wifes last words to me before I took off were "dont get yourself killed trying to get good food!" The KBR chow halls were horrible and was a constant rotation of leftovers that werent good the first time around. The UN chow halls (real plates and silverware!) were unbelievable but were few and far between. The LNs in my office could bring in local food which was great but I hated hitting them up three times a week to bring me food since food delivery was not their main job. A couple of restaurants in town would deliver...a phillipino place was passable but nothing special. My only real saving grace was meeting an afghan who grew up in the states but owned a Lebanese restaurant in town. The flafel (sp?) and hummus almost made me cry.

So my question is....who has some tips for me to maintain a decent level of eating while I am gone? What items did you have sent from home (that traveled well!) to satisfy your cravings? Any good ideas to help choke down KBR food? Or, do you have any good stories about eating in a third world country that uncle sam sent you to?

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  1. You have a tough situation. Can you get five guys to go out with you and you find a good place to eat, Four guys eat and two stand guard and keep watch

    1. I don't have any specific suggestions, but if you post about where you'll be in Iraq, I can see if my husband can dig up some chow tips for you that would be ok for you to go to or that might deliver (no idea of course if that is a possibility). He's not been, but does do business with people there (sells rice). Then I can post them on the Middle East board.

      1. Evan, first off - thanks for your service.

        I'm not military, but I have a friend whose husband is, and he was over in Iraq in '06-'07. She said hot sauce is always appreciated to doctor up what the various military services dish out or the MREs. :-) Large (wholesale club) boxes of the condiment packets went over well (although I'd pass on the mayo packets). Various spice mixes are also good to help jazz up the taste of things.

        Canned chicken and the tuna in the foil packets are well received, beef jerky, and the like. Here are a couple of links that are helpful for family and friends to use to send stuff to you.



        Good luck to you over there!

        1. sorry, i can't give any advice about Iraq. my husband's in honduras and they cook for each other and eat honduran food, then eat at pizza hut and tgi friday's quite a bit. definitely a different scene, but i get the impression there aren't a lot of options b/c it's such a poor country. my husband gained weight on deployment in afghanistan b/c apparently they didn't have full time cooks so they were made to eat chicken nuggets most of the time. he loved the afghan food they ate about 1x a week. i know in general the food in iraq should be much better than afghanistan b/c it was a more developed country and they have food closer to the lebanese you describe (and more of a culture of eating out i think than afgh.). so if you somehow manage to get food from the outside it should be good?
          wish i could be more helpful, and thanks for your service.

          1. I dont really have any advice. My husband's four deployments were apparently quite dire foodwise. He was there very early on so I am sure it is probably running more smoothly now, but their only options were mres and whatever they got in care packages. He said his saving grace were these little joined packets of pb&j and the knowledge papa johns would still be here when he got home.

            1. I sent stuff to my cousin. Things like pouches of tuna, hard candy, those rice packets that just need to be heated, drink mixes. They also have

              If you want sauces, small jellies etc. a good place to order is http://www.minimus.biz/
              I don't know that they can ship overseas, so your wife might have to order and then ship it to you. Don't forget about the flat rate boxes the post office has (if you have a non-international address you can use them, they may have a military one, I'm not positive


              That way you wouldn't have to buy a case of any of the packets at a warehouse store. This way you coul dmake the food you do have available more palatable. Will you have access to a microwave? That would give you more possibilities with all the foods that are available in pouches. I know Trader Joe's line of Indian food in pouches is quite good, but I don't know that I could eat it cold. You either put the pouch in water to heat it or dump in a bowl and microwave.

              1. When I was in Kuwait, I loved having Altoids shipped over. They won't melt, have a strong flavor (unlike most everything you'll be eating at chow), and last a decent while. Too bad you're not in Kuwait; we ate some amazing food off-base.