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My Lovely Horse
Aug 21, 2010



chitoryu12 posted:

Go right ahead!
There are quite a few accounts actually, but this one seems to be the most popular. Here's one of his I particularly like: stumbling through a German ration without speaking a word of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZeCkAgEvL4

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Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Force de Fappe posted:

I don't think I've ever had it in the civilian world.
I drink it every time I catch a bad cold and don't have any appetite for solid food. It took me a bit of looking, but turns out there's a Wikipedia article on the stuff. Marvel it, foreigners!

Oh hey, if there's a Finn in the thread, could you write up about the soup cannon and the brave spade who mans it? We either cooked our own food or had it delivered from the mess so I never had to deal with either. In return, I can write up a bit about the foraging exercise we had to do. (Sneak peek: I fell into a frozen lake.)

DekeThornton
Sep 2, 2011

Be friends!


Force de Fappe posted:

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

I've had it plenty of times.



That is a pretty standard hot drink for mountain hiking here in Sweden. A great pick me up when it's wet and chilly.


Minarchist posted:

Maybe if they like to go hiking or something?

Yeah. The content of those western military rations seem to be fairly standard freeze dried outddoors food, which tends to be stupidly expensive if you buy it at normal outdoors retailers.

kafziel
Nov 11, 2009


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?

If you can just go to any base and buy MREs, what do they cost?

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

We can't stop here! This is cat country!


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?

Why does anyone buy canned or frozen food?

MREs (and their cheaper TOTM counterpart sold at the PX or BX) are little different in quality from normal commercial canned or frozen meals, or convenience store snacks. You pay a few bucks to get a bag with a 1/3 of the food you'll need that entire day, which takes nothing but a little water and 15 minutes of waiting to cook.

kafziel posted:

If you can just go to any base and buy MREs, what do they cost?

MREs are sold at the Post Exchange (or Base Exchange in the Air Force), which is the on-base store. It's open to anyone who has permission to be on the base, including civilian guests and dependents of soldiers; my brother was able to buy me one when he spent two weeks visiting his Air Force girlfriend. They cost in the realm of $3 to $5 each, so $9 to $15 will get you a day's worth of food.

I'll post a few pictures of the TOTM when I get home, but it's almost identical to a regular MRE. It cuts costs on packaging, like using a cheaper clear plastic bag instead of the heavy duty brown one and simply including a thin cardboard sleeve to put the hot FRH in instead of packaging the retort pouch in a separate cardboard box.

Mr. Wiggles
Dec 1, 2003

I would never shop at Costco. The paper towels won't fit into my sports car!

You don't have to wait 15 minutes to heat if you find someone friendly in motor t and just stick the pouch I'm the exhaust stack of a MK 48 for 2 minutes.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

We can't stop here! This is cat country!


Lithuanian MRE

I don't believe the Lithuanian translation of "Meal, Ready-to-Eat" is actually the name of this ration. However, it's basically a clone of the American MRE made to Lithuanian tastes and that's what I'll call it. It costs $5.95 for the meal itself, plus $15 shipping from Lithuania.



The bag is even taken from the American ration, but in green. While it's easy to blame it on the US just making everything in desert camo for the past 20 years, MREs have been in varying shades of brown or tan since their inception in 1982. A big change from MCI rations, which came in olive drab cans because everything in Vietnam was olive drab.



The contents look a little more spartan than the MRE, but I believe it provides about the same amount of calories as an American ration.


Interestingly, almost all of the text in the ration is printed in both Lithuanian and English. Presumably because English is the de facto NATO language, so they want their food to be easily distributed to fellow NATO members. Today's ration is beef stew!



Like the American MRE, the entree comes in a retort pouch in a cardboard box. The box is a little flimsier, as you can see by the damage it took in transit, and has a smooth waxed feel and shine to it.







The FRH is pretty much identical to the American one, just different text. Strangely, all the text on the FRH itself is in English. Is English a huge second language in Lithuania or something? Anyways, it's exactly the same as cooking with an American FRH. I did notice that it generated far more steam than the American ones.


Yes, I know what you're thinking. "That looks like literal poo poo." But it actually tasted pretty good! I remember a distinct dill flavor, plus the large amount of olive oil used. I'd rate it a point or two higher than the American or British meals.




I ate the bar of chocolate while my meal was cooking. It was a high quality bar of European-style milk chocolate and definitely a big plus to the ration.




Unfortunately, the honey for the crackers had crystallized and I wasn't able to get too much of it out. But if you like honey, it's the good kind....when fresh. The crackers were pretty much the same kinda dull crackers almost every ration around the world has.


Good hazelnuts for a snack, and with a high caloric density to make them surprisingly filling.


The drink was a typical lemon drink powder, again like Kool-Aid or Gatorade in taste. Supposedly the C-ration and MCI lemon drink was so acidic it was barely edible.




Unfortunately, the coffee was the one part of the ration that totally fell flat. It looks awesome, but it had a burnt flavor to it that turned me off. Most of the flavor profile was actually superior to American MRE coffee, but it had a strange burnt undertone that hosed it up.



The picture of the stove itself came out looking awful, but yes: the ration comes with a folding stove and some fuel tablets. Since there's no beverage bag to let you heat your coffee in the FRH, they presumably provided this to let you easily boil water. The accessory pack also included the traditional spoon, matches, some mint chewing gum, and....a zip tie. Presumably to let you seal the accessory pack back up with unused items, since I think it's too small to use on the main MRE bag. Unfortunately, the spoon was cheap enough that it broke in transit.

This ration had its ups and downs compared to a "real" MRE. The American one had more individual items, a larger accessory pack, fresher and properly sealed components with a long-as-balls shelf life, and a tougher spoon. But the Lithuanian ration mostly had better tasting food, so it's a toss-up as to which of those two factors is more important to you in your rations.

frankenfreak
Feb 16, 2007

Coming from the deeps of the Frankenwald to haunt you

My Lovely Horse posted:

There are quite a few accounts actually, but this one seems to be the most popular. Here's one of his I particularly like: stumbling through a German ration without speaking a word of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZeCkAgEvL4

Great. I got hooked by his mangling of Rindfleischschinkenwurst and now I've been watching his videos on my second monitor the whole evening.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

We can't stop here! This is cat country!


The Russian ration isn't even 1/3 of the way eaten, but here's that lime and mint gum I mentioned that came in it. It's made in Denmark.

My Lovely Horse
Aug 21, 2010



frankenfreak posted:

Great. I got hooked by his mangling of Rindfleischschinkenwurst and now I've been watching his videos on my second monitor the whole evening.
That's how he gets you.

Somehow in every video I watched, no matter what condition the ration is in, the chocolate is always a mess.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

We can't stop here! This is cat country!


My Lovely Horse posted:

That's how he gets you.

Somehow in every video I watched, no matter what condition the ration is in, the chocolate is always a mess.

Chocolate is surprisingly difficult to incorporate into rations. The big part is that it needs to be heat-resistant, as most field rations will get exposed to triple digit temperatures just from storage in hot climates. M&Ms originated from Smarties (the original British candy that are almost identical to M&Ms, not the American hard candy) that were eaten during the Spanish Civil War and 100% of M&M production went to soldiers during World War II, as the candy shell kept the chocolate from melting. M&Ms are one of the few chocolate products still in American rations today precisely because of this. Tootsie Rolls were developed as a heat-resistant candy that wouldn't melt during the summer months, so during the Korean War they got issued to the US military. In one embarrassing incident, a mixup regarding the use of code words caused a mortar section in Korea to accidentally order hundreds of crates of Tootsie Rolls instead of mortar ammo.

The D-ration bar that tasted oh so terrible in World War II was also designed to be heat-resistant, which meant that it was a thick sludge that had to be pressed into molds by hand during manufacturing and was so tough that you could barely bite into it.



The Tropical Bar was a bit more of a keeper, as it tasted a little better and resembled a regular chocolate bar more. It was still unpopular enough that the military tried to improve its flavor throughout its entire service life from World War II up through Vietnam. Hershey even made a short production run of the similar Congo Bar during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm to test it, but it wasn't too popular. They packaged the small remaining number as the Desert Bar and it was sold for a brief period in the early 90s.


For the record, I got this picture of the Desert Bar from this incredibly bizarre website dedicated entirely to kitsch, run by the woman who made the theme song for Friends. It looks like it's kept the exact same appearance since the 1990s all the way up to criticizing Donald Trump's current presidential bid....until you realize that the site was first made in 2009.

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


I just remembered, I've had desert chocolate! What you do is, you get a can of sweetened condensed milk, thin it a bit for two enamel mugs worth, then put the mugs near the fire to warm it. Then you shave off desert chocolate with your pocket knife into the warming milk. Stir well, it's a grand bit of hot cocoa. Don't know how well that will serve you in the desert, but it does get cool at night.

Plan Z
May 6, 2012



Gridlocked posted:

Your actions in exposing your digestive system to these, chitoryu12, are nothing short of heroic.
Av/Post combo killed it.

Failed Nihilist
Apr 10, 2015


frankenfreak posted:

Great. I got hooked by his mangling of Rindfleischschinkenwurst and now I've been watching his videos on my second monitor the whole evening.

Thank god, I've been doing that for like 2 years. I feel like less of a weirdo now due to this thread.

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

Failed Nihilist posted:

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/

Yeah dude those are probably the best ones. I don't know about the southwest beef & black beans, never had that but the others you listed (especially beef stew and chili mac) are pretty popular and for good reason.

I mean, this isn't like restaurant quality food but imagine like, the upper tier of canned/bagged food that costs good money at the store. It's not great but it's pretty drat good when it's all you've got.

Fenrir fucked around with this message at Nov 8, 2015 around 10:34

Zopotantor
Feb 24, 2013



I've been trying to repress memories of these for thirty years (). Though to be fair, we never actually got them when on exercise, but only when the troop kitchen decided to get rid of rations that were going to expire soon.

Apparently they still include the awful crackers. Our noncoms told us that when you smeared them with the standard issue boot polish, they made excellent fire starters. Never got to try that.

E: at him eating pumpernickel with a spoon.

Zopotantor fucked around with this message at Nov 8, 2015 around 20:17

Crazyeyes
Nov 5, 2009

If I were human, I believe my response would be: 'go to hell'.


I used to eat a lot of military surplus MREs while camping but in recent years they have gotten outrageously scarce. Can't find the old style anywhere. A real shame.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

We can't stop here! This is cat country!


American LRP

The Long Range Patrol ration is one of those oddball rations that nobody really talks about. I guess lacking in the prestige of the older special forces rations like its predecessor (the LRRP ration) or the infamous reputation and commonality of MREs, nobody finds must reason to discuss these unless they're a total field ration nerd.

The LRP and MCW (which I'll cover next) are almost identical outside of the packaging. Both are lightweight freeze-dried rations for light infantry operations and commando units operating in extreme climates, and were consolidated into the two near-identical rations starting in 2001. They're not that easy to find, but my usual eBay source from West Virginia tends to have them both available for a higher price than MREs. The LRP is the variant designed for temperate or hot climates.


Packaging is almost identical to MREs, but you immediately notice that they're much lighter. Just estimating, it's probably 1/3 the weight of a regular MRE (so a day's worth of food is the weight of one MRE).


Much of the packaging and contents are, again, little different from MREs. The big change is that the retort pouch in cardboard and FRH are gone. Instead, there's a pouch that resembles a large, hard cube with an extended "neck" at the top. This is the freeze-dried meal and is very similar to commercial Mountain House food.


As you'll see with the MCW, the writing isn't always this legible. The dehydrated food is rock solid in that pouch and sometimes wrinkles to such a degree that it's like trying to read a raisin.




The food can be eaten dry, but you'll need extra water to make up for the fact that you're eating a totally dry powder and are also crazy. "Cooking" is a matter of adding 8 ounces of hot water and just waiting 10 minutes. The packaging recommends adding the water gradually so it stays hot, which is likely a bigger concern with the MCW. Unfortunately, I added too much water and accidentally made a sort of water egg and bacon soup. Incredibly, even the excess of water failed to totally rehydrate the eggs; some of them were still powdery when I chewed on them. This was probably the biggest failure of American rations, even more than the ancient omelette.


A pack of nuts and raisins. Little different from what you'd pick up at 7-11, but as I said when talking about other rations it's a very good idea to include nuts due to their high food energy for their size.


Just a lonely ol' fig bar. Identical to all other fig bars in this world.


Dehydrated oatmeal! My unfavorite! Seriously though, it wasn't that bad. Came out an unusual white and red color, but it was actually edible. I don't really like sweet oatmeal but I could finish this bowl. Unlike that dehydrated granola with milk and berries that one MRE had. I've never tasted anything more depressing from the American rations.



Two drinks were provided, hot cocoa and orange drink. The hot cocoa tasted like the generic store brand from Walmart, while the orange drink was like a watery orange Gatorade. The hot drinks tend to 100% dissolve more readily, whereas the Gatorade-style ones often need more water than the packaging states.


Aside from the inclusion of a packet of Tabasco, the accessory pack was the same as any typical MRE.

Overall, this was a neat alternative to the MRE aside from the swing and a miss from the dehydrated eggs. Thankfully, my MCW that I got later rehydrated much better and I actually used the right amount of water!

AnonSpore
Jan 19, 2012

Bear Witness

This thread is alive again yay!

Also those loving eggs

DekeThornton
Sep 2, 2011

Be friends!


AnonSpore posted:


Also those loving eggs

Some pasta and that would have been a genuine original style carbonara.

Steve Yun
Aug 7, 2003

I
ANALYZE
CARTOONS


Grimey Drawer

Has anyone tried these sorts of dehydrated survival food things? Is it the same as the long-patrol food?
http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Banquet...s=survival+food

Steve Yun fucked around with this message at Nov 13, 2015 around 19:47

MariusLecter
Sep 5, 2009

NI MUERTE NI MIEDO


Steve Yun posted:

Has anyone tried these sorts of dehydrated survival food things? Is it the same as the long-patrol food?
http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Banquet...s=survival+food

It's all saw dust and bone meal. I'd rather the omelet MRE.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

We can't stop here! This is cat country!


Steve Yun posted:

Has anyone tried these sorts of dehydrated survival food things? Is it the same as the long-patrol food?
http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Banquet...s=survival+food

Pretty much. If you want to find something similar, go to Walmart's camping section and buy Mountain House freeze-dried meals.

Freeze drying makes for extremely light food with an incredibly long shelf life, but is overall more expensive than other options and requires water to reconstitute if you don't like trying to swallow 100% dry powder.

Internet Wizard
Aug 9, 2009

BANDAIDS DON'T FIX BULLET HOLES


Here's a tumblr of pictures of American military chow hall food.

Most were taken at an Army base. Right now it's difficult to update because of not being able to have my phone with me during the majority of the work day.

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


Internet Wizard posted:

Here's a tumblr of pictures of American military chow hall food.

Most were taken at an Army base. Right now it's difficult to update because of not being able to have my phone with me during the majority of the work day.

Nice to see all that spinach. Now, is it getting eaten? We may never know the answer.

There's someone in the Restaurant Industry thread that works at a base chow hall that could probably give us their insight into the kitchen side of things. I can't seem to find their posts, but then again, I did not try very hard.

Internet Wizard
Aug 9, 2009

BANDAIDS DON'T FIX BULLET HOLES


Suspect Bucket posted:

Nice to see all that spinach. Now, is it getting eaten? We may never know the answer.

There was a solid chunk of time where spinach was half of each of my meals because the salad bar on that base was literally just a thing of chopped lettuce, a thing of spinach, and a bunch of smaller containers of stuff like olives or beans that they were pretty lax about keeping filled.

Oh, and if you went through the main line and got the main entree/side combination for that meal, about 2/3 of your plate would just be starchy carbs like potatoes and pasta. Quality dietary planning for an academic training environment.

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

Internet Wizard posted:

Here's a tumblr of pictures of American military chow hall food.

Most were taken at an Army base. Right now it's difficult to update because of not being able to have my phone with me during the majority of the work day.

Wow, so much of this looks so familiar. Also, someone left an excellent comment:

quote:

This DFAC is afraid of me…I have seen its true face. The chow lines are extended troughs and the troughs are full of chipped beef and when the grease drains finally clog, all the enlistedmen will drown. The accumulated filth of all their whiskey diarrhea and MRE shits will foam up about their waists and all the privates and sergeant majors will look up and shout “Feed us!”… and I’ll look down and whisper “Chowdown.”

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
IRL DEBUFFED KOBOLD


Any plans to do non-European/non-North American rations?

I mean these are all cool as hell, and I guarantee everyone wants to see the French one, but I can't be the only one wondering about what the PRC troops or the Pakistani soldiers are eating too, right?

And, for the record, I figure it's all but impossible to get but... North Korea? Eh?

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

We can't stop here! This is cat country!


Xiahou Dun posted:

Any plans to do non-European/non-North American rations?

I mean these are all cool as hell, and I guarantee everyone wants to see the French one, but I can't be the only one wondering about what the PRC troops or the Pakistani soldiers are eating too, right?

And, for the record, I figure it's all but impossible to get but... North Korea? Eh?

I've been looking, but it's quite difficult to find many rations. Of foreign rations sold for Americans, the most common seem to be Ukrainian, Russian, British, Lithuanian, and sometimes French and German. Canadian if you can get it from a Canadian retailer. There's what looks like Korean ration components or meals on eBay, but I can't verify their authenticity. I do know that a British guy reviewed a Chinese ration here (much to his dismay and disgust) and he apparently used a Chinese retailer.

I ate a 2010 or 2011 MRE today, and I'll post pictures later. It was after a Fallout-themed airsoft day, so I actually ended up eating it in its intended situation: after hours of intense exercise (involving guns), with no utensils or dishware except a 1 quart canteen and the matching canteen cup.

Steve Yun
Aug 7, 2003

I
ANALYZE
CARTOONS


Grimey Drawer

Reading around, it doesn't seem that NK even has official packaged rations.

kafziel
Nov 11, 2009


Steve Yun posted:

Reading around, it doesn't seem that NK even has official packaged rations.

You'd need to have food before you can make packaged rations.

Silver Alicorn
Mar 30, 2008

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.


NK rations are a mini bottle of rice wine and a picture of Kim Jong-un.

MrYenko
Jun 17, 2012

#2 isn't ALWAYS bad...


Silver Alicorn posted:

NK rations are a mini bottle of rice wine and a picture of Kim Jong-un.

Officers ration, you mean.

LLeGGo
Nov 6, 2005

No relation. Your mouth foams. We dance.


Fenrir posted:

Just don't get the "chicken tetrazzini" MRE, it's bad.

This opinion is butts. I would legit eat a chicken tetrazinni right now. Cold or hot, I'd always take one of them if I could.

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

LLeGGo posted:

This opinion is butts. I would legit eat a chicken tetrazinni right now. Cold or hot, I'd always take one of them if I could.
drat, I think you're the first person I've ever seen/heard say that.

Internet Wizard
Aug 9, 2009

BANDAIDS DON'T FIX BULLET HOLES


I don't think they even make it any more. The shredded buffalo chicken was one of my favorites when I was going through training in 2013. The tuna was good, too, it was just an actual bag of sunkist tuna with some mayonnaise, mustard, and tortillas. Like half of that one was desert items, it was weird.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

We can't stop here! This is cat country!


Internet Wizard posted:

I don't think they even make it any more. The shredded buffalo chicken was one of my favorites when I was going through training in 2013. The tuna was good, too, it was just an actual bag of sunkist tuna with some mayonnaise, mustard, and tortillas. Like half of that one was desert items, it was weird.

mreinfo.com is a good resource for figuring out when menus ended. Chicken Tetrazzini was made from 2000 to 2005, so I don't recommend opening one up if you find it today. Likewise, the Southwest Beef & Black Beans I ate was only menu 15 (the label on the MRE) in 2010 and 2011, so I know how drat old this thing is. Assuming average storage expectations, it was at the very tail end of its shelf life.

Nebakenezzer
Sep 13, 2005

The Mote in God's Eye



kafziel posted:

You'd need to have food before you can make packaged rations.

The sad thing is that even the worst of these rations would be considered luxurious to the average north Korean as they contain actual meat.

Samizdata
May 14, 2007


Fenrir posted:

drat, I think you're the first person I've ever seen/heard say that.

Hell, I was reading some military scifi and a couple of the characters even mocked the chicken tetrazinni, trying to trade out for some beef stew, as the chicken tetrazinni "gives me the shits."

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angerbeet
Mar 23, 2004


plob


I had always understood that MREs were fairly constipating - sort of a mix of fairly dry food and not enough water.

So uh best of luck OP. Good thread!

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