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chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

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


angerbeet posted:

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!

I covered this early in the thread, but not really. The short version is that the military did their own testing after hearing complaints of various digestive problems, and found that it was a mixture of:

1. Not eating everything (throwing out or trading what they didn't like, which threw off the nutritional balance)
2. Consuming huge amounts of protein shakes and similar foods while exercising like crazy to get jacked.
3. Poop shyness in a combat zone.

I've had no unusual problems today after having eaten a 5-year-old MRE yesterday, and I've never had problems with any past MREs or freeze-dried rations no matter their age or contents.

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Steve Yun
Aug 7, 2003

I
ANALYZE
CARTOONS


Soiled Meat

Nm

JacquelineDempsey
Aug 6, 2008

It's a horrible name for anything really but especially a shirt.


I've already been following this thread (via the AFP thread), but a goon over in the industry thread suggested folks here might like to hear more about chow hall food. My roommate and I both are govt contractors at an Army DFAC. He's a cook, I work KP (the dishpit/cleaning crew), so I can share much behind-the-scenes info.

If OP doesn't mind, I'm happy to share about food on base. Also OP, if there's a particular MRE you're on the hunt for, our commissary sells them. I can't buy bc I'm but a lowly contractor, but I got connections.

Internet Wizard posted:

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.

Haha, oh god this. We have signage all over our DFAC about "Go For Green!" They label the food with green ("optimum food for the soldier athlete"), yellow ("medium performance food, choose in moderation") and red ("low performance food, use sparingly"). And then one whole line, every drat day, nothing but "red" foods like nachos and chili dogs. Also, I was not aware that hot sauce is a "high performance food" until I started this job. Guess that's why they throw those lil' Tabascos in the MREs.

And your description of your salad bar makes me sad. Ours looks like a chain restaurant's, with all the fixin's, on one side; the other side will have some pre-mixed salads like tonight's Zesty Rotini pasta salad, Cobb salad, and Bodacious Broccoli (which is pretty much, "poo poo, it's Sunday, we just got slammed by 4 buses of AIT students and we don't have a food truck coming in til tomorrow, so... uh... chopped broccoli, leftover bacon from breakfast, shredded cheese, and some mayo-based dressing? GO!" poo poo was tasty, though, props to the cooks for the last minute improv)

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

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


JacquelineDempsey posted:

I've already been following this thread (via the AFP thread), but a goon over in the industry thread suggested folks here might like to hear more about chow hall food. My roommate and I both are govt contractors at an Army DFAC. He's a cook, I work KP (the dishpit/cleaning crew), so I can share much behind-the-scenes info.

If OP doesn't mind, I'm happy to share about food on base. Also OP, if there's a particular MRE you're on the hunt for, our commissary sells them. I can't buy bc I'm but a lowly contractor, but I got connections.

Go for it!

quote:

Also, I was not aware that hot sauce is a "high performance food" until I started this job. Guess that's why they throw those lil' Tabascos in the MREs.

It might be included for the morale boost. Hot sauce provides basically no calories, but it adds flavor to even the blandest foods and overwhelms bad flavors. I've eaten plain Spam with nothing but hot sauce and found it a passable meal.

monster on a stick
Apr 29, 2013


You forgot to mention the best MRE cracker spread, peanut butter chocolate (which tastes like Nutella.)

C.M. Kruger
Oct 28, 2013


As I recall, during WWII the Hungarian soldiers had "Hitler Bacon", a substitute for bacon fatback that was basically a very dense jam made from pumpkins and plums.

sleepy.eyes
Sep 14, 2007

Like a pig in a chute.


C.M. Kruger posted:

As I recall, during WWII the Hungarian soldiers had "Hitler Bacon", a substitute for bacon fatback that was basically a very dense jam made from pumpkins and plums.

Was it as terrible as it sounds? Survival aside.

Internet Wizard
Aug 9, 2009

BANDAIDS DON'T FIX BULLET HOLES


JacquelineDempsey posted:

Haha, oh god this. We have signage all over our DFAC about "Go For Green!" They label the food with green ("optimum food for the soldier athlete"), yellow ("medium performance food, choose in moderation") and red ("low performance food, use sparingly"). And then one whole line, every drat day, nothing but "red" foods like nachos and chili dogs. Also, I was not aware that hot sauce is a "high performance food" until I started this job. Guess that's why they throw those lil' Tabascos in the MREs.

And your description of your salad bar makes me sad. Ours looks like a chain restaurant's, with all the fixin's, on one side; the other side will have some pre-mixed salads like tonight's Zesty Rotini pasta salad, Cobb salad, and Bodacious Broccoli (which is pretty much, "poo poo, it's Sunday, we just got slammed by 4 buses of AIT students and we don't have a food truck coming in til tomorrow, so... uh... chopped broccoli, leftover bacon from breakfast, shredded cheese, and some mayo-based dressing? GO!" poo poo was tasty, though, props to the cooks for the last minute improv)

The AF base I'm at now is much better re: salad bars, but not in many other ways. The salad bar here actually has tuna most days and occasionally chopped eggs, so I can actually put together a decent salad on the days when they go crazy with the pasta here.

Both here and the Army base do the stupid red yellow green thing. Whatever nutritional guidelines they use to determine what color something gets assigned are pretty clearly about 50 years behind the times. Back when people thought that grains should make up like 2/3 of your diet.

Fo3
Feb 14, 2004
Interested party

chitoryu12 posted:

Go for it!


It might be included for the morale boost. Hot sauce provides basically no calories, but it adds flavor to even the blandest foods and overwhelms bad flavors. I've eaten plain Spam with nothing but hot sauce and found it a passable meal.

Also chilli is supposed to boost your metabolism.

Force de Fappe
Nov 7, 2008



What the gently caress kind of boot pog dick is poopshy in the field, if anything the qualities of ones stool and the manner of its expulsion is a prime source of banter material when bored.

Force de Fappe
Nov 7, 2008



The hot sauce adds morale, as does the candy. Like a shred of tangible evidence that you once were a civilized human being who stood erect and wore clean clothes.

Fo3
Feb 14, 2004
Interested party

JacquelineDempsey posted:

Bodacious Broccoli (which is pretty much, "poo poo, it's Sunday, we just got slammed by 4 buses of AIT students and we don't have a food truck coming in til tomorrow, so... uh... chopped broccoli, leftover bacon from breakfast, shredded cheese, and some mayo-based dressing? GO!" poo poo was tasty, though, props to the cooks for the last minute improv)
I was hoping you would post when someone wondered about chow halls

Roasted broccoli with parmesan cheese and either bacon; or garlic, lemon zest and pine nuts is soooo good.

DekeThornton
Sep 2, 2011

Be friends!


Force de Fappe posted:

What the gently caress kind of boot pog dick is poopshy in the field, if anything the qualities of ones stool and the manner of its expulsion is a prime source of banter material when bored.

Unlike you crude Danes US recruits are delicate little flowers who grew up with indoor plumbing and running water.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

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


This is a link to 1980s field evaluations of the MREs.

quote:

The inadequate consumption of the MRE has been replicated independently under two different conditions. Askew et al. found that caloric intake averaged about 2400 kcal/man a day over 13 days in volunteer soldiers fed only MRE's. These volunteers ran a 9-11 mile cross-country course for seven consecutive days during the testing period. A similar Ievel of energy intake was found in the 1985 Combat Field Feeding Test during the first three days when troops subsisted solely on the MRE. Following this first test phase, troops continued to consume only about two thirds of the one or two MRE's provided each day in combination with other hot meals.

Having problems copying and pasting without needing to fix the format, but the troops had three major complaints about the MREs that led to low consumption:

1. No breakfast items (gently caress those guys, I'll eat whatever I want for breakfast).

2. Small entree portions (I guess they were used to entrees being a large part of the calories and didn't realize that they had to eat all the "snacks" instead of saving them for later).

3. No instant fruit beverages (which add calories and encourage drinking water).

It was also guessed that the lack of cold drinks in the exercise may have discouraged fluid consumption. Most of these issues have been solved (though you don't actually get to choose whether or not you get a breakfast MRE in your backpack, let alone get the chance to eat it when you want), but the crux of the matter is that most of the stated problems like weight loss can eventually be traced back to the soldiers themselves. You gotta eat, son. May not be the best food in the world, but of courses you're going to have problems if you don't eat the food given to you. Boil-in-bag pouches are probably the best poo poo you're actually going to get that has an expiration date of 4+ years.

Failed Nihilist
Apr 10, 2015


Force de Fappe posted:

The hot sauce adds morale, as does the candy. Like a shred of tangible evidence that you once were a civilized human being who stood erect and wore clean clothes.

Unfortunately, it seems like the Tabasco comes in regular condiment packets now instead of those nifty little bottles. drat shame.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

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


Failed Nihilist posted:

Unfortunately, it seems like the Tabasco comes in regular condiment packets now instead of those nifty little bottles. drat shame.

Yeah, probably because they're less likely to break than glass and you can mass produce them cheaper.

C.M. Kruger
Oct 28, 2013


sleepy.eyes posted:

Was it as terrible as it sounds? Survival aside.

I have no idea and was actually hoping somebody from the region would know more.

Near as I can find it apparently has a consistency similar to quince cheese? I'd imagine it was probably okay if the plums were ripe when it was made.

English wikipedia has this translation from a book

quote:

The food supply of the Hungarian soldiers were not adequate ... Not only the Hungarian armies suffered from the lack of proper food but also German troops, but for the Hungarian soldiers there were an additional drawback, that the food was German, and these German foods (like pudding, anchovy paste, cheese in the tube) were uncommon and not popular among the Hungarians. Only one German food has been accepted by the soldiers and even brought back to Hungary and become a normal product at those days and that was the "Hitler bacon" which is a flavoured jam made from pumpkin.

And I found this blog post lamenting the decline of traditional Hungarian treats, google translated:
http://www.nyugat.hu/tartalom/cikk/...msagok_nyomaban

quote:

And, for that matter with the candy, the older generation has a lot to say when a majority of the grocery stores are reddish in color, mixed fruit, commonly called the "Hitler-bacon". It was essentially a kind of jam (today would call more jams), which sold a block, and he sliced ​​up the blocks of cheese. A net-like roof protected the flies, the dirt, so that more air is also given. It was excellent not only bread, but various baked goods, such as Isler, a donut or a tart. Well, the bad beats you, who these days "Hitler-bacon" you want to eat. It disappeared from shops. Apparently in some places - especially markets - shows up after a home-made version, but that's not the real thing.

Frostwerks
Sep 24, 2007

by Lowtax


Force de Fappe posted:

What the gently caress kind of boot pog dick is poopshy in the field, if anything the qualities of ones stool and the manner of its expulsion is a prime source of banter material when bored.


Why don't you go eat some charms over it.

Secret Spoon
Mar 22, 2009



Force de Fappe posted:

The hot sauce adds morale, as does the candy. Like a shred of tangible evidence that you once were a civilized human being who stood erect and wore clean clothes.

I think towards the end of my last deployment hot sauce was traded with more than cans of dip. A full bottle of Texas Pete could buy you endless favors of any nature.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

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


Okay, here's the 2010 MRE I ate on Saturday. This was after a full day of airsoft lasting from 9:00 AM till 5:00 PM with only short breaks, and no food eaten during the day except two hot dogs for a light lunch. I had no utensils not provided by the MRE except a 1 quart canteen and its matching cup.

This is Southwest Beef & Black Beans, with a side dish of "Mexican Rice". It was only Menu 15 in 2010 and 2011 and examination of the (barely legible) date stamp suggests 2010.



If I remember correctly, the second number is the last digit of the manufacturing year. So a 0 means 2010.



The M1961 Canteen and its matching cup are a neat piece of kit. The plastic canteen replaced the aluminum M1910 and stainless steel M1942 during the Vietnam War (it wasn't until the tail end of the war in the 1970s that all the metal canteens were finally taken out of service), all of which hold exactly 1 quart. These canteens (as well as a flexible model made of soft plastic that can be squeezed and squished down into a compact form when empty) are still being issued, but they've fallen out of favor due to the advent of hydration systems like the Camelbak. I normally have this canteen in an M1967 carrier with ALICE clips on my belt during airsofting, but on Saturday I kept it at my gear table for pre-respawn drinks and put an old metal Swiss canteen in my backpack for drinking on the field.

There's actually two types of canteen cups, though one is much older and is harder to find. The older model has an underfolding handle, while the current model (as seen in the pictures) has butterfly handles. General opinion is that the butterfly handles are easier to use for drinking, but the underfolding handle stays further from a heat source and is thus cooler to the touch when heating coffee or tea in the cup. The cup (whether stainless steel or aluminum, underfolding or butterfly handles) has been part of the canteen system since 1910 and MRE instructions for the FRH and instant beverage mixes still use the cup as a convenient measurement for water to be added. The cup is shaped exactly to the canteen, so the canteen can be nested in the cup and put in the pouch.

This particular beverage was a lemon-lime powder, which the packaging helpfully reminded contained no actual fruit juice. Likely due to age, the powder didn't fully dissolve even into a full canteen cup of water (you're only supposed to add half a cup), and it was so stubborn that it was difficult to wash the dregs out.



The "cheddar cheese pretzels" are unashamedly Combos. The magic of Sopakco packaging meant that even 5 years later, this convenience store snack was practically fresh.



This shows how the FRH looks when stuffed completely with two retort pouches, and when put in the box and leaned on a convenient Or Something. As usual, the double retort pouches meant uneven heating and the stew entree was barely lukewarm (I tend to place the side dish immediately on the heating pack, as it generally needs the most heat).


Looked normal, smelled normal. Taste was okay. It was surprisingly lacking in flavor, with little in the way of noticeable spice. Everything just blended together into a taste that can only be described as "Mexican." Now, how about the rice...




Amazingly, it still tasted fine and even had a bit of chili pepper kick to it. The binding powers of the sauce combined with 5 years in storage meant that it broke apart into soft, moist chunks rather than any kind of rice.

Overall, an MRE only needs to be combined with a source of water and a metal cup for everything to go smoothly. The FRH is simple to use even in an improvised field setting, and the newer pouches are torn along the horizontal rather than the vertical to provide a wider opening for you to stick your spoon into (you kinda cup the pouch in your off hand like it's a flexible bowl). If I had a source of heat, I could have mixed and heated the freeze-dried coffee at that table as well. Some time after World War II, a portable field stove was added to the canteen system; this was simply a stand in the same shape as the canteen and cup, which you placed fuel like Sterno or hexamine tablets under to heat the cup placed on top (or in the older days, C-ration cans). The canteen cup could nest in the stove when it was turned upside-down in the pouch, allowing for all three items to be placed in the canteen pouch and hung off your belt or rucksack.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004



Fun Shoe

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."

Oh, god. gently caress MRE omlettes.

gently caress them straight to hell.

Internet Wizard
Aug 9, 2009

BANDAIDS DON'T FIX BULLET HOLES


That's how the rice always looks, even when it's from the current year.

Keldoclock
Jan 5, 2014

by zen death robot


When I was 14 and tried, with varying degrees of success, to do backpacking with very little money, I had a setup like this:



As shown, they don't fit into a pouch, and I confess I never did try inverting them. I can report that with careful attention you can get an OK twig burner going on, and that it is very difficult to get rice, eggs or sausage cleaned out of the canteen cup. I still have the Nalgene canteens, and loan them out to other people so they don't ruin my good bottles. They're fine except for one flaw- if you tighten the cap too much it will crack down the side(and of course, they're heavier than soft bottles & bladders, which is why I abandoned them).

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

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


Keldoclock posted:

When I was 14 and tried, with varying degrees of success, to do backpacking with very little money, I had a setup like this:



As shown, they don't fit into a pouch, and I confess I never did try inverting them. I can report that with careful attention you can get an OK twig burner going on, and that it is very difficult to get rice, eggs or sausage cleaned out of the canteen cup. I still have the Nalgene canteens, and loan them out to other people so they don't ruin my good bottles. They're fine except for one flaw- if you tighten the cap too much it will crack down the side(and of course, they're heavier than soft bottles & bladders, which is why I abandoned them).

The actual fuel the military issued with those stoves was initially Sterno, then hexamine tablets, then trioxane bars. All of these had fears of toxicity so they got discontinued, but hexamine tablets and folding stoves are still commonly issued by other militaries like Germany, Russia, and Lithuania. I actually think the standard German field gear includes a hexamine stove with fuel, so for a long time their rations didn't include a heater.

Keldoclock
Jan 5, 2014

by zen death robot


chitoryu12 posted:

The actual fuel the military issued with those stoves was initially Sterno, then hexamine tablets, then trioxane bars. All of these had fears of toxicity so they got discontinued, but hexamine tablets and folding stoves are still commonly issued by other militaries like Germany, Russia, and Lithuania. I actually think the standard German field gear includes a hexamine stove with fuel, so for a long time their rations didn't include a heater.

I had esbit cubes for emergencies, but when I could find dry wood (which was most of the time) I used that instead.

I use a Super Cat now.

All petrochemical fuel is toxic to greater or lesser degrees AFAIK. Just don't ingest it!

Force de Fappe
Nov 7, 2008



K5: *cough cough* *swallow* *spit* *spit* Ugh.
Me: You okay dude?
K5: Naw. Queasy.
Me: Spitting constantly? Stomach unsettled?
K5: Yeah. *spit*
Me: You sit watch over the Primus tonight?
K5: Mhm. Three hours ago.
Me: You refill it?
K5: Yep. *spit* Why?
Me: You touch your mouth after?
K5: So what if I did? I might've touched my mouth a little yeah, come to think of it.
Me: Niner-mike, this is K7, I got an incoming for you, suspected kerosene poisining, over.
9M: Ouch. We'll get a stool and a basin ready. Bring him over. Out.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

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


Taking a vacation to NYC. When I get back in a little over a week I'll post the Ukrainian rations.

FaradayCage
May 2, 2010


My Lovely Horse posted:

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

This was very entertaining to watch because I felt like a guy watching a slasher flick and kept wanting to point out flaws in the guys logic.

"Why would they give you that much salt? Why?"

for sale
Nov 25, 2007
I AM A SHOPLIFTER

FaradayCage posted:

This was very entertaining to watch because I felt like a guy watching a slasher flick and kept wanting to point out flaws in the guys logic.

"Why would they give you that much salt? Why?"

Yeah it's really weird, I watched some of his other videos. It's surprisingly hard to watch somebody with like zero intuition or common sense try to narrate something even as menial as eating an army meal.

for sale fucked around with this message at Nov 24, 2015 around 00:02

Shrapnig
Jan 21, 2005

a real bad post

Secret Spoon posted:

I think towards the end of my last deployment hot sauce was traded with more than cans of dip. A full bottle of Texas Pete could buy you endless favors of any nature.

Hence the standing erect...

Goodpancakes
May 18, 2004

Redlining my shit posting machine


Fun Shoe

I was a cook in the army national guard for 10 years. 92G. AMA

MrYenko
Jun 17, 2012

#2 isn't ALWAYS bad...


Goodpancakes posted:

I was a cook in the army national guard for 10 years. 92G. AMA

Were your pancakes any good?

Crust First
May 1, 2013

Wrong lads.


MrYenko posted:

Were your pancakes any good?

All pancakes are good.

Goodpancakes
May 18, 2004

Redlining my shit posting machine


Fun Shoe

MrYenko posted:

Were your pancakes any good?

I make very good pancakes. In all seriousness I use the recipe from Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. Makes good cakes imo.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

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


I got pics of some old Naval recipe cards at the Intrepid today. The pot roast recipe includes three alternate variations that are mostly minor changes in vegetables and herbs.

JacquelineDempsey
Aug 6, 2008

It's a horrible name for anything really but especially a shirt.


Crust First posted:

All pancakes are good.

You have not tried my DFAC's pancakes.

Squashy Nipples
Aug 18, 2007



Great thread! I haven't been keeping up on GWS so much lately, but I've really enjoyed everyone's contributions to this.

(I have zero military experience, but I've eaten a lot of freeze-dried backpacking rations, so can relate to a lot of this)

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014

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


Also, I bought a civilian MREStar brand MRE on vacation and will compare it to a military example.

Shooting Blanks
Jun 6, 2007

Real bullets mess up how cool this thing looks.

-Blade


This thread is awesome, can't wait to see the Russian and Ukrainian meals.

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Diet Crack
Jan 15, 2001



There's a distinct lack of hexamine stoves in this thread for the authentic British/Australian experience.



There was an Australian CR1M back in the early 2000's from Menu B (I think) that was called Beef Kai Si Ming. Jesus christ it was horrible with the freeze dried rice.

Of note in the CR1M's were the improvised explosive constipation devices, known as cheese tins and the trusty eating tool known as the FRED (loving Ridiculous Eating Device) which I still have a few of lying around. They make excellent can openers.



Chicken satay was the poo poo though, and with a fire and certain rat packs you could make an awesome apple cobbler with some of the biscuits, condensed milk and tinned fruits all mixed into a can and put on the edge of a fire for a while.

Diet Crack fucked around with this message at Dec 2, 2015 around 13:20

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