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Fuck da Mods
Jun 27, 2013

fina get poz'd?


Cool thread. But why do you eat everything on paper plates bro

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Secret Spoon
Mar 22, 2009



chitoryu12 posted:

Also I'm going to definitely post a picture of the 2008-2010 MRE omelette I had the misfortune of eating in 2015. It was still edible, surprisingly, but definitely didn't look like it. The best way to describe it was "Solidified rectangle of off-white paste."

Yeah, thats just what it looks like. It tastes like regret.

AnonSpore
Jan 19, 2012

Bear Witness

gently caress da Mods posted:

Cool thread. But why do you eat everything on paper plates bro

Military rations don't deserve his fine china

Secret Spoon
Mar 22, 2009



AnonSpore posted:

Military rations don't deserve his fine china

Some of the pouches have intricate instructions like "lean on a rock, or something".

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

Goodness no, now that wouldn't do at all!


gently caress da Mods posted:

Cool thread. But why do you eat everything on paper plates bro

All the paper plates were at work. Though at home I prefer them anyways because my dishwasher broke and it minimizes cleaning.

Fenrir
Apr 26, 2005

We will fight them to the last. And we will defend those that cannot defend themselves. Today we fight, brothers and sisters. Today we stand up and never, ever relent. Brothers and sisters -- prepare yourselves. Today we go to WAR!


Lipstick Apathy

Secret Spoon posted:

Some of the pouches have intricate instructions like "lean on a rock, or something".

They really DO say that, first time I saw it I couldn't help but laugh. (For those who haven't seen it - "Lean on a rock, or something" is in the instructions for the heating pack, it's basically telling you to sit it upright so the water doesn't fall out. Some grunts actually NEED to be told this)

Steve Yun
Aug 7, 2003

I
ANALYZE
CARTOONS


Soiled Meat

Mine did:



"rock or something"

Also, do not eat.

AnonSpore
Jan 19, 2012

Bear Witness

I can only assume "or something" was added so that some soldiers wouldn't go like "gently caress no rocks around, only logs, and I'm starving, I'm so screwed"

Secret Spoon
Mar 22, 2009



AnonSpore posted:

I can only assume "or something" was added so that some soldiers wouldn't go like "gently caress no rocks around, only logs, and I'm starving, I'm so screwed"

That was the running joke when we did our field ops.

TotalLossBrain
Oct 20, 2010

Hier graben!

What we have here is technical writing for the lowest common denominator.
I used to do some of that for the government, but never that low.

Wow. Or something

Secret Spoon
Mar 22, 2009



TotalLossBrain posted:

What we have here is technical writing for the lowest common denominator.
I used to do some of that for the government, but never that low.

Wow. Or something

The airplane I used to work on had a couple huge electric motors, including this 84hp beast that was used to real in literal tons of wire. The instructions on removing it and replacing it included a line that said "Make sure its turned off and the circuit breakers are tagged." at least 4 or so times.


It had 6 lug nuts each one with 124vac sitting on it if you didn't have it tagged.

The best MAF I ever saw was forwarded by a pilot while we were deployed and it simply stated "Radio inoperable at On Full Force". =(

MariusLecter
Sep 5, 2009

NI MUERTE NI MIEDO


Secret Spoon posted:

That was the running joke when we did our field ops.

Because someone actually went looking for rocks, i bet.

Fuck da Mods
Jun 27, 2013

fina get poz'd?


chitoryu12 posted:

All the paper plates were at work. Though at home I prefer them anyways because my dishwasher broke and it minimizes cleaning.

Ok rain man

Eat off real plates as opposed to destroying the earth it's also just like not cool to waste like that

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

Goodness no, now that wouldn't do at all!


gently caress da Mods posted:

Ok rain man

Eat off real plates as opposed to destroying the earth it's also just like not cool to waste like that

Yet no comment about all of the meals eaten on those china plates coming with half a pound of plastic to throw away.

AnonSpore
Jan 19, 2012

Bear Witness

chitoryu12 posted:

Yet no comment about all of the meals eaten on those china plates coming with half a pound of plastic to throw away.

Don't seriouspost at the guy with the mile long rap sheet

Failed Nihilist
Apr 10, 2015


I know it's weird, but I really like these things when I can get them.

My personal recommendations:
-Southwest beef and black beans
-Spaghetti with meat sauce
-Chili and macaroni
-Chili
-Beef Stew

The only one I hated was the veggie burger w/ bbq sauce, and I've heard nightmarish stories about the veggie omelet (discontinued).

Also, if no one has posted it yet, here's a great link for info about MREs and such: http://www.mreinfo.com/links/

Suspect Bucket
Jan 14, 2012

SHRIMPDOR WAS A MAN
I mean, HE WAS A SHRIMP MAN
er, maybe also A DRAGON
or possibly
A MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM
BUT HE WAS STILL
SHRIMPDOR




http://terminallance.com/ in case you've never had the pleasure of reading it

Fuck da Mods
Jun 27, 2013

fina get poz'd?


chitoryu12 posted:

Yet no comment about all of the meals eaten on those china plates coming with half a pound of plastic to throw away.

Sall good man I'm a fan and have this puppy bookmarked.

What's Mexico MRE like??

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

Goodness no, now that wouldn't do at all!


American MRE

I may as well get the obvious one out of the way. MREs are cheap and easily available anywhere online in the United States. The guy I usually buy from is a nutty survivalist in West Virginia for $10 a pop, but you can bulk purchase them for half the price. The Tailored Operational Training Meal (TOTM) is virtually identical, and later I'll post some pictures of the one I ate if I can find them. TOTMs are sold at the PX or BX on base for less than $5 per meal, much like how you would buy frozen TV dinners at Walmart.

This review will predominately cover a single menu of MRE, but I'll include pictures of specific contents from other menus and even show some of the changes over the past decade.


Every MRE has come in a brown plastic bag like this since the very first ones in 1982. Only the graphics have changed, becoming more commercial every few years for familiarity's sake. As you can see, this is Menu 1 (Chili With Beans). I didn't check the manufacture date, but this menu has been mostly identical since at least 2012.


Compared to the British 24-hour ration, the amount of food you're meant to have for one meal is definitely greater.




Every entree (and for some menus, the side dish) comes in a retort pouch. These are basically the same as traditional canned food, but with a flexible "can" that fits anywhere. They're meant to be heated by being boiled in the sealed pouch, and MREs come with a very special way of doing that. This special way is actually the reason they bother packaging the bag in a cardboard box.



The Flameless Ration Heater (FRH) first appeared in 1990. They're simply a plastic bag with a packet of powdered magnesium alloyed with a little iron, and some salt. As anyone who remembers high school chemistry could tell you, magnesium and water have a very exothermic reaction. The powder is in a little fabric pouch (I think it's thin cotton?) that lets it be exposed to water. Heating is done as follows:

1. Tear open the top of the FRH bag and slip your retort pouch in. It can fit two pouches with some difficulty, but you'll often experience uneven heating depending on the contents of the pouches and how you position them (one on each side of the magnesium packet will heat best).

2. Pour in a little water, just enough to be between the fill lines. There's no real danger for being half an inch above, just remember that you're going to be boiling whatever ends up in here. You can flip the heater so it's food-side down and knead the heater to let it more easily absorb the water and activate, but how fast it activates depends on the individual FRH. Some of them become too hot to touch at the bottom before you even stow the bag to let it cook in peace. It begins letting off steam and crackling with the distinctive "burnt metal" smell of hydrogen gas.

3. Fold the top of the FRH down to help keep steam from spraying out on your hands and put it in the cardboard box the pouch came in. Lean it against a "rock or something" at about a 45 degree angle, food-side down, and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

4. When you're ready to eat, pull the FRH out of the cardboard box and tear the package in half at the centerline to more easily remove the retort pouch. Remember that hydrogen gas is coming from the bag, so don't light up a cigarette while getting your food if you like your eyebrows.

The FRH will stay burning hot for a while after you take your meal out. I usually let it steam itself out in the sink until it's cool enough to safely dispose of.


This is how you can expect your meal to look. The entrees are surprisingly small for us Americans, only about 200 to 250 calories in a pouch. They're meant to be supplemented by all the snacks and sundries in the bag, rather than eaten as the main body of the meal. As for taste? It's basically like commercial canned chili, or a chili made with canned ingredients and inexpensive ground beef. I know, I know, it's specially formulated to be ultra nutritious for a Warrior. But it doesn't taste any different than what you'd make for $20 worth of ingredients at home.


MRE crackers are the hardtack of the modern day. They're basically oversized saltines without as much salt, and would be indistinguishable from store crackers if it weren't for their size and packaging.


Many MREs come with some kind of cheese spread for the crackers (other alternatives are peanut butter and jelly packets). This MRE sticks with the Tex-Mex stylings and includes jalapeno cheese spread. The cheese spread in general tastes like Cheez Whiz and similar processed goop, and the jalapeno flavor provides a vital kick to make it taste a little more like real food.



I don't have a photo of the cornbread included in this MRE, but I've got some of a fudge brownie from Menu 2 (Chicken Fajita & Refried Beans). This demonstrates a consistent theme with the soft bread products in MREs: they all have a shiny, almost moist texture and are very dense. Still soft and chewy, but they're apparently formulated in a way that prevents crumbling and maybe enhances preservation. I've never encountered a bad product like this in an MRE, and the fudge brownie and vanilla pound cake are probably my two favorites of the lot.



This cinammon scone from another MRE demonstrates a similar texture....



....as does the First Strike bar. This is actually a series of energy bars in various flavors packed into MREs and First Strike Rations (I believe they were developed specifically for the FSR). The chocolate one has more of a dark chocolate bite to it, quite interesting for a country raised on Hershey. The mocha bar is even darker in flavor and has a distinct coffee component.



Again, substituting photos from a different menu. Most MREs in service nowadays have beverage bags like this. Originally beverages came in tiny little sachets for dumping into a canteen cup or water bottle, or somewhat similar bags to this one. The beverage bags first came out in 2006. You pour water into them and shake to mix the drink, then pour it into a cup (or just straight into your mouth depending on your branch of service). The newer bags like this cappuccino powder are ziplock topped instead of needing to be folded over, which almost totally eliminates the chance of splashing your drink everywhere during mixing. It honestly tasted really nice and I'd be happy to get a drink like it from a coffee shop. The most common beverages are simply powdered fruit drinks like knockoff Kool-Aid. There's also the infamous dairy shakes, which suffered a recall from salmonella a few years ago. Sad they have such a bad reputation, because I actually like them. They're closest to the Muscle Milk shake line in taste and texture.


Now, what if you want a hot drink but you don't have any campfire or stove to boil your water over? The Hot Beverage Bag comes to the rescue! This is just a thin plastic bag that you pour the beverage powder and hot water into and place into the FRH with your meal. It's a bit clumsy to use (as you'll know if you've tried to pour drinks in and out of a ziplock bag), but it beats drinking cold MRE coffee.



Amusingly, the accessory packet is so close in appearance to the ones issued in the old MCI rations from Vietnam that I once mistook an MCI accessory pack for an MRE one. The accessory packs usually come with a small amount of toilet paper, salt, sugar, creamer, freeze-dried or spray-dried instant coffee, a matchbook, an alcohol-free wipe, a brown plastic spoon, and some kind of season like ground red pepper or some Tabasco sauce. MRE coffee doesn't taste too good, but it's sometimes the only hot and/or caffeinated drink you can get out in the field and you can carry a billion of them in your pockets if you want.



This matchbook has barely or never changed since World War II. Why mess with what works? It's like any typical matchbook, just remember to fold it over the match and pull it through if you want it to light. The matches have gotten a little less useful since cigarettes were removed from rations in the 1970s, but there's always a reason to be lighting a fire....usually just more cigarettes.


This is the full contents of Menu 2, which I posted some items from earlier. You can see that it follows the Tex-Mex ideal by including tortillas rather than crackers!




Looks like dog food, tastes much better. The beans basically never come out looking anything different than that, but they taste normal. I've had this twice, and both times it benefited from the packet of Tabasco in the accessory pack. Tabasco in modern rations comes in plastic sachets like ketchup or mustard, rather than the mini bottles of old. You can still buy the tiny bottles in packs of 6 from the store.

And here we come to a slightly scarier part of my taste testing. I purchased some MREs from a goon back in the spring, only to discover that they were from as far back as 2008. I was seriously uneasy at first, but I remembered that MREs as old as 10 years old have been eaten before and decided that my digestive system was robust enough to handle it. This post will let me not only show off some old menu items and how they've aged over the years, but also how some aspects are different.


This is one of those famous mini bottles of Tabasco. You can see that it's already turning colors other than red, which is why I simply gave it to my brother as a souvenir.


The FRH used to come packaged in this brown bag. Presumably it was eliminated as unnecessary. The actual heater inside is no different.


The past decade's cheese spread. I didn't even bother opening and sampling this one. I imagine the smell alone would be a biohazard.


The fig bar was still edible over 5 years later, but I'm not really a huge fig bar guy in the first place. I can definitely say that I ate the whole thing with no ill effects.


This was the 2008 entree, I believe. I think it was Vegetarian Lasagna, one of a number of vegetarian or vegan dishes available in the MRE repertoire. It was basically indistinguishable from Chef Boyardee.

The next entree....was not so pretty.



5 years does wonders for the Cheese & Vegetable Omelette. I was incredibly ill at ease upon pulling the cooked "omelette" out. It wobbled and jiggled like a solidified paste made of eggs, and that isn't the camera quality making it such a disturbing off-white color.


Amazingly, it was still safe to eat and actually didn't taste bad at all. The peppers included were still just flavorful enough to give it some kick after so many years in a pouch. But the texture of the "egg" made everything seem like some alien dish dropped on my plate. Nothing about it immediately looked like food for humans.

The only other component I really recall from these old MREs was bags of M&Ms in all of them. All of them were past their expiration date and I didn't have quite the confidence in Mars packaging as I did in government contractors, so I passed on eating them.

chitoryu12 fucked around with this message at Nov 6, 2015 around 02:40

Gridlocked
Aug 2, 2014

I should wake up at 4AM to watch Australia lose


Your actions in exposing your digestive system to these, chitoryu12, are nothing short of heroic.

I only wish I had more to post beyond perhaps attempting to make my own Plumpy'nut, but that sounds like a recipe for gastronomical disaster.

Nine of Eight
Apr 28, 2011


Dinosaur Gum

The omelet picture gave me vivid memories of gagging in the woods circa 2011, probably on the same batch of ration, there doesn't seem to have been much of a change in the intervening fours years, that's what you get.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

Goodness no, now that wouldn't do at all!


Nine of Eight posted:

The omelet picture gave me vivid memories of gagging in the woods circa 2011, probably on the same batch of ration, there doesn't seem to have been much of a change in the intervening fours years, that's what you get.

Just wait until we get to Ukrainian. I'm going to do Lithuanian tomorrow, which is almost benign. Ukrainian and Russian are foul and gag-worthy even to look at. Here's a preview from Russia:

rndmnmbr
Jul 3, 2012



For various unsavory reasons, I wound up homeless for three weeks in December of '13, living out of my vehicle in the middle of winter. The only thing that got me through, food-wise, was five cases of circa 2005 MREs I was given by a friend. And honestly, for being 8 years old, most of it was still edible. The chicken fajita was the only entree gone so far off that I wouldn't eat it, although the chicken tetrazzini gets a big nod for being an atrocity.

Saint Celestine
Dec 17, 2008

Lay a fire within your soul and another between your hands, and let both be your weapons.
For one is faith and the other is victory and neither may ever be put out.

- Saint Sabbat, Lessons

Grimey Drawer

Can you buy the hardtack that comes in the MREs commercially?

Edit: I love those things.

Saint Celestine fucked around with this message at Nov 6, 2015 around 04:14

Failed Nihilist
Apr 10, 2015


Saint Celestine posted:

Can you buy the hardtack that comes in the MREs commercially?

Edit: I love those things.

Look around on survival/camping/preparedness/zombie apocalypse type store websites and you'll come across them before long.

bony tony
Aug 9, 2013

an electric ghost painted in the colours of a dead moment





It's pre-puked, for your convenience!

Fuck da Mods
Jun 27, 2013

fina get poz'd?


mother russia

red19fire
May 26, 2010


This thread is bringing back some fond memories. I was a US marine 03-07, and had to eat MRE and cafeteria rations for about 2 months in a remote base in Iraq. I went from about 185 lbs to 150 in 2 months, on top of walking/patrolling 5-10 miles every day or so. MRE is the bare minimum nutrition necessary to sustain human life. Cafeteria rations were marginally better, they're huge bags that are boiled and poured onto trays and then get served, which for breakfast is like one scoop of boiled egg substitute plus chipped beef on bread (poo poo on a shingle). One time our company supply LT hosed up and only ordered 2 MRE per day each for like an entire weeks worth of training, by the end we were licking the insides of the foil packs to get every calorie possible for the 15 mile hike back over the mountains.

First and foremost, I love chicken Tetrazzini and will knife fight anyone who disparages it. I will also do shameful things for peanut butter m&ms. When I was there they were still experimenting with some of the new flavors, I've had boxes of newer stuff along with older boxes of the 5 fingers of death & Charms candy. The specifics are kind of fuzzy, I don't remember the main meals too much, I had 4 favorites (chicken tet, beef stew, chili, meatballs & spaghetti?) but I lived for the brownies and lemon pound cakes. They introduced those powerbar/energy bar things while I was there, they were just short of rock solid and took a good minute of dedicated chewing to be edible. No matter what you did, the bread was like a pizza crust left in the refrigerator for a week.

Also we would have cookoffs in the field sometimes. Iron Chef Fallujah. One box (12 pack) of MRE, 1 hour to mix and match and make interesting dishes. A slightly more edible version of what dudes in prison do with ramen and fritos.

We also used chemical toilets for that 2 month stretch. If you want to try it at home, stretch a garbage bag full of cat litter over a milk crate Then after 5 uses throw the bag over your fence into the neighbors yard! gently caress em!

E: I should also add this was on the tip of the spear of the war. Further back from the edge there were motherfuckers eating ice cream, hot wings and pizza in air conditioning, who will tell you how they're a hardcore warrior-poet. No.

E2: also if anyone's wondering how to use the toilet paper in the MRE, here's a direct quote I will never forget from combat training school: "Use one swipe of the entire wad to wipe your rear end, then peel off the lovely paper and wipe again. ANYONE WHO TELLS YOU DIFFERENT IS TRYING TO TRICK YOU INTO STICKING YOUR FINGERS IN YOUR rear end"

red19fire fucked around with this message at Nov 6, 2015 around 14:23

Force de Fappe
Nov 7, 2008



Calorie deficit is no joke. This January I had a four-day excercise in -20C temperatures. Between the snowshoes, plate vest, A and B pack, medic pack and pulkka, I lost almost 15 lbs in three days of march and training

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Yeah, winter survival is a bitch and a half. You spend more energy trying to stay warm, and you also have to carry more everything. A thermos full of hot berry soup is basically the best drat thing, closely followed by chocolate and dry woolly socks.

My Lovely Horse
Aug 21, 2010



Great thread idea. I was never in the military but for some reason I love seeing what's in those MREs and the various ways to prepare stuff, what different countries consider essential etc. A while ago I came across a youtube channel by a guy who reviews MREs from around the world, would I be stepping on your toes if I posted that as a supplement?

OlyMike
Sep 17, 2006
I'm talking about flagellation, who gives a damn about parades

You're mentioned a couple times that they sell these at the stores on base. Why is gods name would anyone buy and eat these if they had the ability to cook and eat real food?

Minarchist
Mar 5, 2009

by WE B Bourgeois


OlyMike posted:

You're mentioned a couple times that they sell these at the stores on base. Why is gods name would anyone buy and eat these if they had the ability to cook and eat real food?

Maybe if they like to go hiking or something?

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

Goodness no, now that wouldn't do at all!


My Lovely Horse posted:

Great thread idea. I was never in the military but for some reason I love seeing what's in those MREs and the various ways to prepare stuff, what different countries consider essential etc. A while ago I came across a youtube channel by a guy who reviews MREs from around the world, would I be stepping on your toes if I posted that as a supplement?

Go right ahead!

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Force de Fappe posted:

Calorie deficit is no joke. This January I had a four-day excercise in -20C temperatures. Between the snowshoes, plate vest, A and B pack, medic pack and pulkka, I lost almost 15 lbs in three days of march and training

Northern Warfare School was a bitch, we were eating everything that wasn't nailed down. I went from 180 to to 160 in less than a week.

CAPT. Rainbowbeard
Apr 5, 2012
My incredible shitposting will not transform the xbone into a good console


Lipstick Apathy

This thread is super interesting. I kind of want to try these things out.

One question: what is berry soup? What makes it different from fruit juice or a smoothie?

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



It's juice-like stuff that's made by boiling berries with water, sugar and something to thicken it with. Or, in the military case, it's that stuff but dehydrated into powder.

AnonSpore
Jan 19, 2012

Bear Witness

This thread started off strong and is only getting better and OP is a braver man than I for daring to put that loving omelette in his mouth.

Force de Fappe
Nov 7, 2008



It's just a soupy compote made from dried fruit like apples, prunes, apricots and so on. It's rather filling compared to other sweet drinks and provides a bit of minerals, salts and dietary fiber. It's very satisfying in the deep cold.

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Force de Fappe
Nov 7, 2008



I don't think I've ever had it in the civilian world.

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