Military "MRE" Meal
I just had the opportunity to sample what our soldiers eat in the field (when away from camp). Thought it might interest you.
This "MRE" (Meal Ready to Eat) was marked "Beef Enchilada". It comes in a hefty tan plastic packet, containing (I hope I list it all):
Entree and Vegetable (refried beans), each in a foil pouch in a cardboard box.
Heating device (plastic pouch with heating cell on card, printed with instructions)
Condiments (in this case, picante sauce and cheese spread)
Drink mix pouch (lemon-lime powder)
Dessert (large cookie, white chocolate chip & raspberry, in packet)
Soda Crackers (generous portion in packet)
Spoon (olive drab plastic)
Accessory Packet (Taster's Choice, sugar, salt, matches, moist towelette, mint)
Bag to heat water for coffee
You slip the entree pouch into the heating bag and fill with water. A chemical reaction produces heat - in this case, vague warmth. After the recommended 15 minutes I plated the food and gave it a try, with mixed results.
Enchilada:- might have been edible if warmer. Sauce mysteriously sweet. Picante sauce pretty good and had a punch. Cheese spread might have helped if it had gotten hot (it wasn't mentioned whether the cheese was meant for the enchilada or the crackers).
Refried beans - not bad at all, nice flavor and texture, enough to satisfy.
Cookie - quite good for a packaged cookie.
Drink mix - I didn't try it, or the crackers.
All things considered, if the soldiers are better than me at getting some heat into the meal, they're getting fed better than my dad described old-time MRE's.
The old time rations did not come with any method of heating them up..
ya got an
entree(loose use of the term) say a ham and lima beans
a starch canned roll or crackes
a tin of jam or peanut butter
a dessert i.e. canned peaches
a convenience pak three cigarettes,waterproof matches, powdered coffee
or cocoa, packets of sugar, cream, and three squares
of toilet paper
To heat things up one would open a tin of peanut butter squirt a generous amount of bug juice(insect repellant) and light it off an use as a can of sterno
Best condiment was the hot sauce you got in the mail from back in the "world"
When I was in the Marines the crackers, cheese, and drink mix were what was really coveted. Some didn't like the tabasco, but everyone liked the crackers and cheese. They came with every meal so they were easy to stow away for later which is why they were so popular.
Never once did I ever really look forward to eating them but they did the job.
re: Rocky Road
I was an FMF Corpsman assigned to 1st FSSG in Dessert Storm/Shield. We were in the boonies and had MRE's almost exclusively, at least twice daily.
My favorites were corned beef hash and ham steak. Most everything else was first generation MRE and were pretty bad. The oatmeal bar mad a great substitute for a pumice stone however.
We hooked up with some British medics and traded tham for their "Compo-rations". They were still lugging cans of steak and kidney pie, chocolates, etc. that were a hell of a lot more flavorful than the old school MRE's. The hated the weight and wanted ours, I hated the taste of ours and coveted their canned foods. Worked out well.
Semper fi devil dog...
Infantryman Kilo Co 3/3. I remember the oatmeal bar too. I didn't like that at all. Yeah it's funny how the food looks brighter on the other side! I'm in the same era as you and no one has mentioned the charms! Hard candy in the field. That was the bomb. That and the crackers and cheese.
I think my favorite was the beef stew or chicken ala king. I always had to have the tabasco in mine but their were plenty who would give that up for the drink mix. I liked regular water so it was an easy trade.
Semper Fi bkhuna, passadumkeg, and all the other Marines on Chowhound.
re: Rocky Road
Oooh-rah and Semper Fi.
I'm a former Marine but never ate c-rats except in boot (E-Beach anyone?). MREs were way after my time. My son is full time AGR (Army Guard Reserve) and finds them "interesting". The little bottles of Tabasco save most meals. I'll have to ask if he has any favs.
We used to siphon a little 'copter fuel to heat our instant coffee when possible in Nam. So much cold c-rats, so little time. I've been reading about all the improvements in MREs. God bless 'em.
Hue, 2/26/68 and back to the world. No perfume in the Perfume River.
Canned peaches & pears sooo good when sooo thirsty.
My husband is in Iraq, and has not yet had the misfortune of having to eat the MRE on this deployment. The food is supplied by contract workers, and is pretty decent. However, he told me the new ones are better than that last set of them, and some really are better than others. I think he said beef enchilada was not one of his favorites.