Saturday, January 28, 2006
No longer "Meals Refused by Ethiopians"
In the aftermath of Katrina, I resolved to lay in a supply of MRE's for dealing with the aftermath of any natural disaster that hit my own iceberg. I sort of shuddered at the thought, because the last time I ate MRE's it was a horrible experience -- the taste of lard was the predominant taste. They were referred to as "Meals Refused by Ethiopians" back then, with such choice entrees as Four Fingers of Death (really aweful weenies) and Alpo (supposedly "beef with spiced sauce"). And let's not forget Chicken a'La Death (supposedly "Chicken a'La King", but so redolent of lard as to invoke nausea).
So I headed out to eBay and got case B, which includes the "Louisiana Menu." Military retirees with PX priviliges buy MRE cases from base PX's and sell them on eBay, a practice which the Department of Defense discourages (since it encourages pilfering amongst the ranks if they can hawk pilfered MRE cases on eBay amongst the legit ones), but which they have thus far proven unable to stop. The case arrived today, nice and fresh (four months old is fresh in MRE terms, the stuff keeps for years). I popped out my camping gear and tried the jambalaya first... hmm, put this over a half cup of cooked instant rice (a large box of which is also in my disaster kit), add just a dab of hot sauce, and not bad at all! It's not "real" shrimp and ham jambalaya like you'd get in Louisiana, but it's definitely edible and close enough. I wouldn't mind eating this on a regular basis at all. There's the very faintest lard undertaste from the processing, but it's not obnoxious.
Next, the cookie. And peanut butter. I remember the cookies as being hard as a rock and tasting of lard. I remember the peanut butter as being a substance that was more akin to tasteless grease than butter. Well, the cookie is still hard as a rock. Guess it has to be, to survive a parachute drop. But it tastes like an actual oatmeal cookie, and the peanut butter is creamy and tasty. Spread the peanut butter on top of the cookie, and ... yum!
Next, something a bit harder to get right: Spaghetti. Freeze-dried pasta dishes generally are pretty good (about the only thing freeze-dried that *is* any good... everything else freeze dried that I've tried tastes horrible), but canned ones are typically horrible, whether canned in a can or in a retort pouch. So I heat it up and... okay. So it definitely tastes like canned spaghetti. But it doesn't taste any worse than Spaghetti-O's or any other canned spaghetti you'll find in the supermarket. Just a tiny bit of the lard aftertaste, not the "OMG I just ate a mouthfull of Crisco!" that I remembered.
My congratulations to the folks at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, MA, who have managed to do what I thought was impossible: Make army rations that taste good. This penguin gives them two flippers up!
- Badtux the Impressed Penguin
PS: Natick is continually on Rummy's base closure list, though thus far it has been spared. The very fact that Natick was on the 2005 base closure list to begin with just goes to show how much the Bush administration really hates our men and women in uniform, as if we needed any more proof of that, what with the Bushies sending soldiers into battle with inadequate armor, feeding soldiers rotten foods cooked in disease-ridden waters out of filthy rat-and-roach-infested kitchens, etc...
Labels: food, MRE reviews
Posted by: BadTux / 1/28/2006 08:58:00 PM
I had the chilli mac and the beef stew recently, yummy!
# posted by Ole Blue The Heretic : 30/1/06 10:42 AM
- Name: BadTux
- Location: Some iceberg, South Pacific, Antarctica
I am a black and white and yellow multicolored penguin making his way as best he can in a world of monochromic monkeys.
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