Fun_People Archive
20 Feb
Food reviews: Meal Ready to Eat(MRE)

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 97 11:50:22 -0800
To: Fun_People
Subject: Food reviews: Meal Ready to Eat(MRE)

Forwarded-by: elshaw@MIT.EDU (Libby Shaw)
Forwarded-by: jbredt@MIT.EDU
From: "Tim Anderson has no real life." <>

Food reviews: Meal Ready to Eat(MRE).

I lay on the floor.
The door is closed.
It is a romantic evening by myself.
I select a book to prop on my chest, and reach for the food I'm going to review.
I am armed with the barricade necessities.

A flashback.
Coming home.
A stack of boxes in the hall outside my neighbor's door.
He's the ROTC quartermaster.
Meals Ready to Eat.
Is he coming back?
Will he care if I take them?
I think about it.
Even if he does, I don't.

Before MRE, Bill Maudlin and Sad Sack ate C rations.
So did my sister and I as children at the "Live Firepower
Demonstration" at Camp Ripley, Minnesota hosted by the National Guard.

>From our parent's cabin on the upper Mississippi, we had heard many a night  
the distant thunder of
Whippoorwills, loons, and stock-car racing in the distance.
Boyscouts make news at Camp Ripley by collecting duds from the range and  
playing with them to death.
But I digress.

C rations are grey cardboard cartons with canned food inside.
Green with black letters. Open with a P38 (tiny can opener).
Civilians could buy them surplus from civil defense.
Stack them in your basement for a fallout shelter and eat your way out from  
the inside.
Clutching your M1 rifle from the Director of Civilian Marksmanship.

But then..
In Vietnam our enemies defeated us with weapons made from the discarded tins  
of our soldiers' C
That was humiliating. Or so we've heard. Over and over....

Standing tall, America is beating the Vietnam Syndrome.
We've got the new german-style helmets, gatling guns that shoot uranium  
bullets, everything taxes can
and MRE. TV dinners in brown plastic bags. No sharp edges to arm the unfriendlies.
Each one a Christmas sock straight from Santa, full of brandname surprises.

The entree comes with a Water Activated Flameless Ration Heater.
I pour in some water.
It starts to hiss and boil.
The lable says "Vapors contain hydrogen, a flammable gas"
I decide to test this, striking a waterproof match from Accessory Packet 'A'.
There is a small explosion. It looks like it could contain hydrogen.
I yell in surprise, and splash boiling water on myself.

and finally, the review:
Beef stew: The years have been kind. The meat is tender and complicated, as only
radiation-pasteurizing and four years in a plastic bag can make it.
Mars Pure Chocolate Bar: Greyish-brown, waxy, slightly nutty, unconvincing.
Don't open any undated food recieved as a gift in Japan. It may be many  
years old. The chocolate will
be just like this.
Crackers: unsalted. vaguely religious.
Oatmeal Cookie: A rectangular cube. Hard, yellow, bricklike, delicious. I  
want more.
But will have to open many MREs to find another.


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