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The Future of MREs

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the blinded-me-with-science dept.

Science 335

jonerik writes: "MSNBC features this article today about scientists at Washington State University who are attempting to perfect a way to add two staples of American cuisine - eggs and macaroni & cheese - to the US military's MRE ration packs. The problem has been that MREs need to have a shelf life of three years. The scientists have focused on microwaving the rations during the packaging process instead of the traditional method of boiling the contents (which alters the smell and color of eggs and cheese and makes pasta soggy)."

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335 comments

fistes prosses (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055857)

bitchaz

Re:fistes prosses (-1)

Carp Flounderson (542291) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055874)

feces process.

I reclaim fp for trolls cause an AC with a fp is like a... damn, I was always bad with metaphors... well, it just sucks.

Drug sluts deserve to be in prison (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055951)

She should be locked up. There is no war on drugs , just a concerted effort to weed the fuckwits from society.

The current menu (5, Informative)

spt (557979) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055864)

MREs [dla.mil]

They look nice. I'll have a #3 please.

Re:The current menu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3056050)

Ummm...

Yeah, you really don't want that one. A lot of people get heartburn from that one.

Yummy!!! (1)

diatonic (318560) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055867)

Nothing like sitting down to a hot bowl of eggs and macaroni & cheese.

That's a meal that will keep our soldiers sane. The three great tastes that go great together!

Re:Yummy!!! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055967)

Actually, the Chili Macaroni went great with the Jalapeno cheese, except that they were in two different MRE's, so you either had to trade your poundcake for the cheese or steal another MRE.

I became an artist for putting together the perfect MRE. Some things trade for higher value, and eventually I would end up with something completely different than what I first grabbed, or with twice as much. It's like currency, only you that you can not only trade it and trade it again, you can also eat it.

As far as the freezedried items, the freezedried peaches are supposed to go with water, but they taste better crispy. They literally melt in you mouth!

MRE's are great in the field, because, unlike the hot food served in the field, you can eat them without having to imagine and pretend you are eating food at every chew. The only thing is that a regular diet of MRE's will leave you a little, well, plugged.

Re:Yummy!!! (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056018)

The three great tastes that go great together!

Hmmm How about Reese's Eggs&Macaroni&Cheese Cups?

It's about time! (1)

Ibby (130127) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055868)

Well, at least they're doing it halfway through my military career instead of right at the end...

About the Troll Library (-1, Troll)

RoboTroll (560160) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055869)

In my development of the Troll Library and the Troll Library Technology, I have received many questions and concerns in reference to the Troll Library and its use on Slashdot. The intention of this post is to "clear the air" of the misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions which have been posited about the Troll Library.

What is the Troll Library?

The Troll Library is a database of the best and brightest trolls of Slashdot history. The database is SQL 2000 and is managed by Microsoft C# using .NET technology.

How can the Troll Library be accessed?

The Troll Library is not yet available online, but it will eventually be made publicly available in the form of a .NET web service-- That means that you will be able to browse the library and submit your additions with your web browser (yes, even an inferior piece of shit like Mozilla, since Microsoft for some reason chose to include "down-level" compatibility with their web services in .NET).

What's the ultimate goal of the Troll Library?

To crapflood Slashdot into oblivion using Microsoft technologies.

What does the Slashdot community think about this?

Using Microsoft .NET to annihilate Slashdot really pisses off the Slashdot community, which is hilarous.

Do you sit around and read Slashdot all day?

Of course not. The client troll poster bot will automatically detect a new story on Slashdot, select a post from the Troll Library database, and submit it to Slashdot. The client is written purely in C# using Windows Forms in .NET. It would be impossible for Slashdot server to detect the presence of the bot, except for the "Dirty Linux Users:Are Hippies" header.

What if they crack down?

If the 'editors' (I use the term loosely) were to ban the RoboTroll or Troll Library posts, the posting client would have to become open source and avialable to everyone. The irony and humor is very rich indeed.

How can I help?

The single biggest need is a .NET server with the bandwidth capable of being slashdotted. Please make your plans and prepare accordingly; when the time comes, we want you to be ready. What you will receive is nothing more than a .ZIP file to unzip to your inetpub\wwwroot folder.

If you are running Apache or some other open source derivative piece of shit, I can only laugh at your sad ability to serve up plain ol' HTML. You sad and pathetic, and I fear for your future career-- or lack thereof. HAHAH!!!

Thanks!!

No - Thank you, the honorable and noble Trolls of slashdot, we all know that WE are the lifeblood of Slashdot itself, and it would wither and die without US .

Do not attempt to email me (email is bullshit of course) or otherwise, just reply to this post; replies are automatically indexed and delivered to me.

This troll was reposted from the Troll Library without permission of the original author. If you object to this post, or if you wish to add your troll to the Troll Library, please reply to this message.

Re:About the Troll Library (-1)

Carp Flounderson (542291) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055908)

Hey, I was just doing some thinking about this thing's potential... and now ya just posted this info. Anyways, I had a couple of ideas for the troll library. Check out my journal entry on the topic here [slashdot.org]

Re:About the Troll Library (-1, Offtopic)

RoboTroll (560160) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055984)

You have some good ideas, and the design of the client and server engine of the Troll Library are such that it is expandable to the concepts you describe.

But, lets stay realistic for now, good things come...

That's always been the problem... (1)

iPaul (559200) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055873)

That's always been the problem with the battle field, no good comfort food like macaroni and cheese.

Re:That's always been the problem... (1)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055961)

But they currently have Chili and Macaroni (MENU 10), so they aren't having the soggy problem with that Macaroni. How is Mac and Cheese that much different?

Reason? (1, Flamebait)

LiquidPC (306414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055875)

Is there a particular reason theyre spending money (a great deal, I assume) on paying scientist to figure out how to add eggs and mac'n'cheese to rations, other than "A lot of people eat it". Seems like a waste of money to me.

Re:Reason? (1)

Ozymandias_KoK (48811) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055883)

Because if you don't have at least some semblance of variety, eating the exact same thing day in and day out, you'll start throwing those damn things up a whole lot faster. You try eating the exact same thing 2-3 times a day for a month and see if you can still stand it, it's harder than you'd think.

Re:Reason? (3, Insightful)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055896)

It's a conscious decision to spend money on our soldier's comfort and happiness. I can advocate that.

I mean, it's not any more wasteful than spending money designing and creating newer and bigger SUVs or creating and marketing XBoxes.

Re:Reason? (0, Flamebait)

ElectricRook (264648) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055950)

not any more wasteful than spending money designing and creating newer and bigger SUVs

Not all of us want to live in your party's thumb.

Re:Reason? GAMMA IRRADIATION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055993)

They just want to start using GAmma Irradiation more often and this is part of a cover story.

Its old hat. Military foods have been gamma irradiated for ages. (no pun intended).

Re:Reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055900)

It's the military. There's no such thing as a 'waste of money'. Support our troops! USA!

Re:Reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055924)

It's probably for morale.

Re:Reason? (2)

the phantom (107624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055949)

This is another situation where military technology is not just useful to the military. While I agree that way to much money is spent on the military, MREs are usefull to a lot of other folk as well. The firefighters that put out forest/range-land/wild fires during the summer make great use of MREs. I have, on occasion, taken them out into the field with me for several night trips. MREs provide a good number of calories (something like 5-6k per package) at a reasonable cost in mass. On MRE is generally enough for two meals, though only the first one is hot.

Re:Reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055966)

Besides, even Napolean knew that an army travels on its stomach.

Re:Reason? (1)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056005)

MREs provide a good number of calories (something like 5-6k per package)

Everything I have read about then suggests 1200-1400 calories per "meal". I think this includes the drink powder (colored sugar) and the desert.

Re:Reason? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055996)

Sheesh, I ask a question and within 2 minutes it's flamebait. This moderation system is nuts.

Shelf Life (1)

Ozymandias_KoK (48811) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055877)

Used to be a disclaimer on each box that they have been stored in temperature and humidity controlled conditions and date of pack should not be considered when determining usage. FWIW, I doubt it matters toooo much, since I've had several that were well over 5 years old, and I got no sicker off those than brand spanking new ones. :) Some of them you can work with, and some are just plain nasty, much like anything else I suppose.

Re:Shelf Life (2, Informative)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055970)

Bascially it is like this:
Temp - Shelf Life (months)
120 - 1
110 - 5
100 - 18
90 - 30
80 - 48
70 - 66
60 - 84
= 50 - 96

I've had an MRE (and I'm not military) (2, Interesting)

asdfasdfasdfasdf (211581) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055878)

Our company works with the military quite a bit, and I've had an occasion to try an MRE. They're actually kind of cool. They come with their own (chemical) heat source and re-heat the foods pretty rapidly-- It uses technology similiar to those little handwarmers I use to have when I was a paperboy. As I recall, you'd boil em to "reset" em.. (I think the MRE heatsources are one-use)

In any case-- it's okay-- better than freeze dried anything-- but I still wouldn't like one of them falling on my head from the skies above-- it's not *that* delicious.

Re:I've had an MRE (and I'm not military) (1)

Ibby (130127) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055938)

Well, they're not really designed for consumption over a long period of time. Aside from work, I take them camping and hunting and whatnot.
The Canadian ones truly kick ass. A lot of time and effort went into them. They must be good, I've traded cases of them for very interesting (and expensive) objects...

Re:I've had an MRE (and I'm not military) (1)

Jester998 (156179) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055963)

I must agree... the Canadian IMP kicks serious ass.... never tried a U.S. MRE, but I've had a number of IMPs throughout my cadet career... There's one, some kind of Lemon Chicken (I forget the name that's marked on the IMP), that is absolutely fantastic.

I'd like to find a place where I can buy a few cases of them.... they'd be great for camping, hunting, whatever.

- Jester

Re:I've had an MRE (and I'm not military) (2)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055947)

Yep ... take the guts out, throw it all in an empty two liter, add water, close ... throw ... instant training device .... :)

penis power!!! (-1)

Mayor McPenisman (557253) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055880)



Mayor McPenisman has a tale of woe to dispense, and since you asked, here goes:
Emporer Napleon Bonerpants founded Penisville with the intention of eating penis pot pie on a daily basis. Soon after, Harry "Penis" Houdini assisinated him through trecherous means. Our penis loving state was in danger of being taken over by the Poonis worshippers.
Then I, Mayor McPenisman united the penisites under the flag of penis (the flag of penis being a penis drawn on a flag) and the general love among penismen. All "members" (get it?) of the penis party get penis sitting privilages any time they want. Phallic Phreedom to all!

Need Ingenious Guinness Widget Engineers (2, Funny)

jeepthang (560529) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055893)

Just find those brilliant guys who invented the nitrogen "widget" in the Guinness can.

You open the eggs, macaroni and cheese. A capsule inside explodes, instantly cooking the meal to perfection.

Mmmmm... incinerated gruel.

-Jeepthang

is it just me (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055894)

or is there too much interest and attention being paid to the military these days? I foresee a future where the American military will become part of popular culture, at which point the fascist thugs running the government will become 'stars'. Finally, zee dream vill kum true.

Oh, btw, Britney Spears salutes our men in drab.

Re:is it just me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055917)


No, it's just you

Re:is it just me (1)

Mr. X (17716) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055926)

Actually, if anything, the military is becoming less and less part of American popular culture. A smaller percentage of 'middle America' serves these days.. and we haven't exactly had a draft in quite a while.

eggs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055906)

I worked one summer as a prep cook at a camp. If I had known what a shitty job it would be, I would have gotten a job as a circus freak instead.

Anyhow, we had this scrambled egg shit that came in a plastic bag. Just pop it from the freezer to the oven, bake it, and instant, semi-funky tasting scrambled eggs. It relied on freezing and baking, so it would unsuitable as an MRE, though the taste was right.

I also had powdered scrambled eggs on a month-long fishing expedition (just add water). I'd susepct they could be used.

They already have pasta and cheese (2, Insightful)

spt (557979) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055909)

There is no macaroni-and-cheese or egg products in MREs," said Juming Tang, a professor of biological systems engineering at the university.


Look at menus [dla.mil] 10, 11 14 and especially 13.
How come Cheese Tortellini doesn't suffer from the same problems as Mac&Cheese as described in the article (pasta goes mushy, cheese tastes burnt) ?

Re:They already have pasta and cheese (1)

erlenic (95003) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055982)

How come Cheese Tortellini doesn't suffer from the same problems as Mac&Cheese.........

You apparently haven't tried that particular MRE; it does suffer the same problem.

But what about hot dogs and apple pie? (5, Funny)

dinotrac (18304) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055920)

Macaroni and cheese?
What next?
Peanut butter and jelly?

I can see it now.

"Hey, soldier. Get up at the crack of dawn, lug around a hundred pound pack through all kinds of terrain, in all kinds of weather.
Maybe get shot at. Maybe have to shoot back.
Maybe get your sorry butt killed.

But if you manage to make it back to camp, you can have three year old mac and cheese."

Bet the recruiting lines are a mile long.

Re:But what about hot dogs and apple pie? (1)

Ozymandias_KoK (48811) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055934)

There's been Peanut Butter and Jelly since before 1990.

Re:But what about hot dogs and apple pie? (2)

the phantom (107624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055959)

Hell, there's been PB&J since before MREs. Isn't there some kind of B-ration PB&J (I wouldn't eat it, but I'm sure it exists).

Re:But what about hot dogs and apple pie? (1)

rschwa (89030) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055962)

There's been "omlette" MREs for years, too. I would never eat one, but they're there.
Too bad they got rid of the dehydrated pork patty - now _that_ was nasty.

Re:But what about hot dogs and apple pie? (1)

malevolence (301869) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056017)

I will second that. Those were the most disgusting things I have ever eaten. The MRE's on the list don't look to bad. The one's we ate when I was in (1990-1994) were really bad. Most were inedible. I would pray for a beef stew, but usually get stuck with an omelette (shudders).

Re:But what about hot dogs and apple pie? (3, Interesting)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055969)

As a person who's actually eaten these MRE's, in varying conditions (ie, voluntarily and involuntarily), I have to take exception to your statements. :p Now granted MRE's aren't a steak dinner at an expensive restaurant somewhere, but the food isn't anything worse than the junk we stuff our faces with daily at places like mcdonalds or taco bell.

Hard work generally makes food taste better too. I used mine, mostly, when hiking around with a frame pack where I grew up. At the end of the day, that stuff tastes DAMN good.. it's several times easier on the stomach than dehydrated food, and usually offers a lot more variety.

Considering the requirements of being an MRE.. most notably the 3 year shelf life, it's amazing how good the stuff really is. Only downside compared to more orthodox trail food is there's more garbage to carry back with you, and MRE's are a bit heavier because the food is fully hydrated.

boiling alters the taste? (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055921)

Last time I checked, Microwaved eggs tasted nasty thankyouverymuch. Blech.

What I can't believe... (2)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055922)

...is that there's actually a vegetarian MRE [dla.mil].

You don't win wars with sal-ad! You don't win wars with sal-ad! You don't win wars with sal-ad! [cartoonsounds.com] :-)

~Philly

ughhh... not everyone eats meat (2, Interesting)

DeMorganLaw (543089) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056039)

Not everyone eats meat, and not everyone eats every kind of meat. The MREs that were being dropped to Afghans were vegetarian MREs. There are also vegetarian soldiers in the US Army, and Muslim/Jews who cannot eat Pork and Hindus who cannot eat Beef.

Re:ughhh... not everyone eats meat (2, Insightful)

DavittJPotter (160113) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056063)

Which, to me, is an interesting idea. In 'respecting people's beliefs', the Army (and other armed services) has gotten away from a core tenet: You are not special. You are a part of the Green Machine, as they say, or a part of the Navy/Air Force/the Corps (the Marines, sorry). The point is that once everyone is treated the same, then you won't have the little whining about how "it's against my $BELIEFSET !"

Cripes. PC is nice, and all, but this is a little extreme. About the only real choice you had in boot camp was to holler for what kind of meat you wanted. Didn't want either? Better eat something to give you energy while your Company Commander makes you drop. :)

Ah, the memories...

MRE's (1)

Kefabi (178403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055935)

MRE's: Meals ready to eat.

When I was in JROTC we usted to call them MRE's: Meals rejected by Ethiopians...

Re:MRE's (2)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056040)

In Basic Training, we called them the three-way lie:

They were not edible
They were not ready
They were not a full meal

good for bears (5, Informative)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055937)

MRE's a great for camping in bear country. The bears are smart. They learn to knock down bear bags. They'll suck your maple syrup dry, eat your oreos, tear the tent apart, even break the latrine down if you try to put food in it. But they can't smell the MREs and don't touch them. Good thing too, we had a diabetic with us.

Rock or something .... (5, Funny)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055940)

Anyone ever wonder why the military, with its tomes of regulations and procedures succumed to the "Rock or something" on an MRE?

The little heater thingies (mmm, smell like acid), need to lean at an angle to work good ... so on the instructions there is a picture of a rock with an MRE leaning on it, and the caption for the rock is "Rock or something"

I may sound like a complete moron, but man, in the middle of the desert with no sleep, some dude brings up "Rock or something" and I keel over in laughter.

Mac and Cheese, OK...but 3 year old EGGS??? (1)

martums (306333) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055941)

Most of the MRE's I've had when out backbacking and such have been fine (gotta use the tobasco every time). While adding Macaroni & Cheese sounds good, does anyone really want to eat nuked scrambled eggs that are a couple years old?

Ever eat eggs that have been in the fridge too long?

Just give me the chicken loaded with enough preservatives and chemicals to kill my colon & petrify my inestines, thanks.

macaroni & cheese a staple? (2, Funny)

natslovR (530503) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055942)

We may critisize the yanks for the americanisation of our world especially for spreading their crap tv, fast food and pop music to all 'corners of the globe', but i'm just SO glad they haven't contaminated Australia with that.... yet.

Re:macaroni & cheese a staple? (1)

MysticOne (142751) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056000)

Hmmmm ... well, sorry, but you can't rape the willing. So if we've spread ourselves throughout the world, it can only happen because somebody wanted it.

Kinda Surprised (2)

CMiYC (6473) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055948)

1) When they ate Rations on the last Enterprise I thought "Gee that seems impraticle." But after reading about the MRE's, it seems like its entirely possible.

2) These menus seem far more varied than that of the meals I remember eating in my college dorm. So maybe that's why people liked being in ROTC... (j/k)

They used to have an egg meal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055953)

I was in the Marines from 1995 - 2000. When I was in boot camp and MCT, I remember an "Ommlette" meal.

You used to have to save your tabasco up for the ommlette. Any less than four bottles and it was in-eatable....

Anal Cox 's fireside chat (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055954)

Hi kids!
Hey, get away from your parents, they're just tools that don't understand ya!
Choose Lunix!
Stop listening to the hetero poopy-heads!
Yes, your anus WAS designed for that kind of use.
Choose Communism, choose life!
http://www.gnu.org
Until next time Lunixeers :)
Captain Cox

God I hate those things. Well, the older ones... (2)

llamalicious (448215) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055955)

my brother used to bring a sampling home with him after a few weeks of training or what not while in the army. A little sampling of what he had to sustain himself on when in the field for weeks @ a time. Good stuff.

There's still one that sticks out in my memory, Chicken and Rice. Man, that chicken and rice was tasty. Basically came in a nice vacuum sealed heavy-duty plastic baggie. You cut off a corner and squeezed it like toothpaste to eat. (Or, if you had a mini-set of folding pans, you could heat it up in a little aluminum cup and chow down)

But the dehydrated fruit, a little 2.5x2.5x.25 inch square of styrofoam looking fruit was n-a-s-t-y. So was the grape drink mix that came with some of the MRE's..The orange powder however, mmm, now that was nice, almost like Tang.

Coming soon to the battlefield (5, Funny)

mESSDan (302670) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055956)

are some great products:

LBCs - Lazy Boy in a Can, for the soldier out on the battlefield that needs to relax for a while. Can be used with the ...

SBCCs - Superbowl Commericals in a Can, for the soldier caught out in battle and unable to tune into the superbowl. After all, who cares who wins or loses, the commercials are what count!

BJCs - Blowjob in a can. This was created by the sex toy industry, and was licensed by Uncle Sam for the "protection" of our boys overseas. (Has been tested under battlefield conditions.)

OBLCs - Osama Bin Laden in a Can, developed by army engineers with help from the "Dolly" project, this secret device will be used if we are unable to locate the real Osama Bin Laden. Everyday soldiers can have fun with their Osama in a Can by making him do silly stunts, and recording the insane hijinks on....

CCC - CamCorder in a Can. Send in your funny battlefield tapes to America's funniest Battlefield videos, and win an MRE!

I just had waaay too much fun with this ;)

Re:Coming soon to the battlefield (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055965)

Had that been sufficiently funny, I wouldn't be bitching about you posting that shit with your +1 bonus.
C'mon, work with us Dan.

Re:Coming soon to the battlefield (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3056003)

Its not HILARIOUS, but hell, it's not a troll, it's kind of inventive, and it was fun to imagine. Who cares ;) If I had thought about my +1 bonus, I would have taken it off.

Let the moderators handle it. I've got karma enough to spare.

And last, don't bitch, post something better!

--Dan

Re:Coming soon to the battlefield (1)

OiBoy (22100) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056058)

You forgot my favorite from the military. If you were one of those poor sods with bad eyesight you got to wear these horribly ugly glasses, dubbed...

BCG's: Birth Control Glasses

So called, because if you were wearing a pair there was no way you were ever going to get a member of the opposite sex interested in you.

MRE's actually don't taste too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055958)

Despite the myth that MRE's taste like crap, I tried some and found it to be pretty tasty!

I had a roommate in the Air Force last year who brought some MRE's with him to the room, and one day he decided to cook some (by the way, they have a self-contained chemical mix that does the cooking, and when it's done, the food is steaming and very very hot!) -- I think it was like chicken soup or something similar.

Anyway, he cooked it up with the built-in chemical mix, waited about 10 min. and it was done. I thought the food would be nasty, but much to my surprise, it tasted basically like anything you'd find in a sit-down restaurant. Easily a replacement for a real meal...

OK, this is a turning out to be a pretty dumb story, but I was very impressed with MRE quality anyway. :)

Oh, no! They are going to ruin a(pretty bad) thing (4, Insightful)

Greg151 (132824) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055975)

In my other, non geek, life, I am a National Guard officer, with a fair amount of time on Active Duty. The first MREs were absolutely awful. Anybody else remember the dehydrated pork or beef patties? YUCKKKK! They were uniformly horrible ( BBQ beef, ham slice, wieners), until a few years ago they started adding ones with actual taste, like jamaican jerk pork, and so forth. Now they want to go back to the inedible bland menus, because the percieve it to be "comforting"? Are they high? If you are cold, lonely, and a long way from home, a plastic envelope of several year old eggs will not make you feel any better. I want more spicy foods in the field, not less. ( At least they do include a tiny bottle of hot sauce.)

Re:Oh, no! They are going to ruin a(pretty bad) th (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056008)

In my previous life as a defense contractor, some reservists brought some MREs in to the lab... This was right when they came out, replacing the K-Rations (C-Rations?). They were totally nasty. Including the Spaghetti&Meatballs...

Re:Oh, no! They are going to ruin a(pretty bad) th (4, Insightful)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056035)

I hate the fact that most Army units get screwed and are only given MREs for long periods of time.

I served as an OPFOR Support Platoon Leader at the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, CA. Unfortuantely for guys like you, the chains-of-command of visiting units (especially Guard units) were too lazy to bother to get hot food, and would just go for an entire 3-4 weeks on MRE-only for their soldiers because its an easy out. Don't take this as an accusation or anything against you and your unit, I just think its a shame that the Army has spent millions of dollars working on ways to get fresh food for Joe, and most leaders choose to just use MREs.

The US Army has mobile kitchens, and tons of creative ways of getting hot chow to soldiers, unfortunately most of the officers are too lazy to coordinate that kind of support.

Now there is a difference when training for war and just being stupid, but after an extended period of time, the nutrition of troops becomes highly important. MREs are meant as a supplement to regular meals - we usually went Hot-MRE-Hot for Break/Lunch/Dinner, for normal missions, and used that as a baseline.

Naturally that changes according to the mission, but you'd be suprised at how many REMFS (Rear-echelon motherfuckes) would rather say "We'll go all-MRE" because they are too lazy to plan hot food for their soldiers.

Don't complain if you don't like the FREE FOOD! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3056065)

Don't complain, maggot, instead be glad you're being kept around and fed at the taxpayers expense. If you don't like the free food (!) you're getting then why don't you start paying (working for it would be even better) for your food like everybody else does?

Lies! Uses Gamma Irradiation not Microwave! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3055980)

Lies! Uses Gamma Irradiation not Microwave as method of preserving the item.

True.... heat is used to cook the items, but as has been done to navy food for decades, and foods in France like milk and eggs, IRRADIATION is used to kill all lifeforms within the plastic bags.

This is a heavily kept secret because it turns out the public hates gamma irradiation for many reasons... one of them is the fraud issue (humans have a hard time judging ages of irradiated meats in plastic bags without use of smell and sight of decomposition).

True, maybe nothing is wrong with gamma irradiation, but the REAL STORY is that MREs are planning on introdicing gamma irradiation.... something banned from usa store shelves without proper labling.

In San Francisco, in import shops in ChinaTown you can buy illegally imported spiced meat that was irradiated by gamma rays, but it... and US Military MREs are not meant for us store shelves unless properly labelled as GAMMA IRRADIATED.

Re:Lies! Uses Gamma Irradiation not Microwave! (1)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056044)

They also contain a certain amount of dihydrogen monoxide [dhmo.org]! I'm not exaggerating, this has been proven! Be careful!

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.

microwaving ??? (1)

vrmlknight (309019) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055985)

Ok I didn't read the article... while camping I have used MRE before and their great, no animals get in to them and all you need is water but I don't bring a microwave with me when I go, nor a power supply and aren't microwaves tuned to excite water molecules? So wouldn't they contain a lot of water anyways also making it heaver?

Re:microwaving ??? (1)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056014)

Maybe you should read the article. The Microwave is about making the MREs. You will still use the water activated chemical heater in the field. Try reading the article, it helps you sound less like an idiot. :)

Re:microwaving ??? (1)

vrmlknight (309019) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056038)

I read it and after reading it my impression was that it was still made ready by microwaves but thanks for clearing it up

Eggs (0)

BoredGuy (445884) | more than 12 years ago | (#3055989)

Eggs are going to be in a rotten state when military personnal will eat it.

This is amazing work of scientist......

Eggs and Cheese in MRE's? Been there, done that (1)

Gunfighter (1944) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056012)

I was in Uncle Sam's Marine Corps for five years ending in 1998. We had egg MRE's (omelet... my least favorite), and every MRE had either peanut butter or _cheese_ to spread on the brick-like crackers. Given my experience with MRE's, I'd have to say it doesn't matter which process they use to prepare the food. It will still taste like crap. The trick to being able to stomach the MRE's is to make sure you get one w/ a Tabasco in the accessories pack. Better to taste the Tabasco then an artist's rendition of whatever it says on the label.

I went to Wazzu... (1)

T3kno (51315) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056022)

I grew up in Pullman, went to WSU for 3 years (droped out as a freshman :) and am proud to still call myself a Cougar. I know this is completely offtopic, but I'll take the bitch slap. WSU has a great Agriculture department, as well as a really good Vet. school, lots of Betties, and some wicked parties. This is the first time I have ever seen an article on /. about the school, and it fills my heart with pride to see the crimson and grey up there. Props to all of my buddies roaming the hallowed halls of Sloan hall. GO COUGS!!!!

MRE Trivia (2, Funny)

Agar (105254) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056023)

Back in the day, before flavor was engineered to survive a 3 year shelf life, MREs were fondly referred to as "Meals Rejected by Ethiopians."

Anyone know other trivia?

It must be a really slow news night... (1, Troll)

puppetman (131489) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056026)

if this is what passes for a /. story.

I mean, really. Who cares?

If you have nothing interesting to post, it's best to post nothing.

Proof it's a slow news night (1)

bigdreamer (465083) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056055)

It must be a really slow news night if this is what passes for a /. story.

You said it. This story is from MSNBC, for goodness sakes. I've learned quickly that Microsoft is not a safe topic around here. So I have 3 theories.

1. CmdrTaco is taking a 3 day weekend to spend more time with Kathleen, and is not posting stuff.
2. There really is a change of opinion toward Microsoft around here. Stranger things have happened.
3. Everyone (even nerds!) is out partying and not making anything newsworthy.

I'm working on a Perl assignment. Sigh.

Given WSU's history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3056027)

I'm suprised it doesn't contain beer.

Kraft EasyMac (1)

JayAndSilentBob (517888) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056034)

Why don't they just use Kraft EasyMac? It only needs water and heat, and is readily available at every Wal-Mart in the country. Sounds much easier than some $400,000 grant to figure out how to preserve cooked Mac&Cheese. And it's lighter (actually the same if you count the extra water needed).... MRE's already need water to be cooked and for the drink powder to be of any use. And EasyMac is tasty. I'd have told the military for only $1,000

My Family and Wife's Family is Military (2)

puppetman (131489) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056042)

Mine, Canadian Army, hers, American Navy. Cousin who is a marine, another a helicopter pilot, and a third a technician.

The cousin who is a marine is also a vegan. Yah - hilarious - the vegan marine. She is in Afghanistan right now - wonder what the hell she eats. No dairy, no eggs, no seafood, no poultry, and no meat.

I was a vegan for a few years - pretty tough to find food in a supermarket that has no dairy. Imagine what it's like when your food comes in a grey plastic bag.

ugh (1)

Drache Kubisuro (469932) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056047)

I pitty the day when I'm deployed and they give me *eggs* to eat in the MRE. I hate eggs. And they've got to be even more nasty as an MRE. I sure hope they supply plenty of those cute little miniature tabasco bottles with it... don't get me wrong, MREs as they stand now are really nice... for some reason I've always loved the pork chop MRE which is really nothing more than pressed meat. Those mint(iirc) brownies/bars are the _bomb_.

Mmmm.

C-Rations (5, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 12 years ago | (#3056068)

Does anybody else remember C-Rations? They were the predecessor of MREs. They came in a cardboard box, full of little OD green cans. You haven't lived until you have eaten Ham and Eggs, cold, out of a can. See Army Chow and Other War Atrocities [jophan.org] by David Thayer, for a look at Army chow in the pre-MRE era.
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