Gourmet?  No.


In the military, our food is often presented as Meals Ready to Eat aka MREs. Frequently, these meals are all we have for days on end. Other times, we get hots or a combination of hots and MREs.  At times, it,was hard to know which was worse.

MREs consists of a main course and a variety of other foods: things like crackers, bread, peanut butter, some sort of desert, and the absolute prize…tobasco sauce. There is also an MRE heater.  Just add water and you can warm your food.  If you’re more creative, the heater can also make an impressive “bomb.”  You also get 6 sheets of toliet paper.  Save up four or five sets and you can actually have a bowel movement and have enough to wipe.  Fortunately, the MREs tend to stop up that particular function.  But, when you do go, it’s like crapping bricks.

  
                       (Example of MRE)

The MRE menus have improved since I joined in the 1990s.  Still, there are some absolutely nasty ones.

Perhaps the worst I had the misfortune to encounter was “Chicken ala King.”  Or, more accurately, Barf ala King.  Looks, smells, and tastes like barf.  It did make a good tool for practical jokes.  Leave a pouch open under a rack or in a locker.  Set it up so someone steps in it barefoot.  Good times.

There was always trading of meals or parts of meals.  No one would touch Chicken ala King.  Currently tobasco sauce is in every meal.  In the 90’s and early 2000s, it was only in some meals and very highly prized.  One of my experiences with Chicken ala King demonstrated the absolute hatred of the meal.  I received the meal two times in a row.  The second time, I tried to trade it for something, anything, even the second place in digesting meals, the omelette.  I saved two bottles of the tobasco sauce.  I offered them in trade for someone’s spaghetti.  No.  I sweetened the offer.. Both tobasco and the cake desert.  No.  All I mentioned previously and $20.  No.  I gave up.  At least there were peanut butter crackers in that one, 

I often miss being in the military after my medical retirement.  One thing I don’t miss are MREs.

  

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