Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Post-Diluvian Follies: Meals, Ready to Eat

Sandy’s MREs proved to be a godsend. As the week progressed, I found that my rattled brain—sufficiently taxed by my primary endeavor—had little extra room for such minutiae as finding and preparing food. And the highly engineered soldier-food proved well-suited for the calorie-burning task of flood-slopping.

Each case contained twelve brown plastic pouches labeled with different entrées: Chicken Tetrazzini, Jambalaya, Beef Ravioli, etc. Each pouch contained the entrée in yet another brown pouch plus a “Flameless Ration Heater (FRH)” and a varying array of sides and accessories: crackers, cheese spread, peanut butter, molasses cookies, salt, Tabasco, moist towelettes, matches, gum, toilet paper.

Meal, Ready-to-Eat

Heating the meal was complicated, like an exciting and possibly dangerous eighth-grade lab experiment. The instructions explained how to place the entrée pouch in the heater pouch,* how to add water (neither too much nor too little), how to hold it level for one minute and incline it against a “rock or something” for ten to fifteen minutes, and how to knead the MRE “to ensure uniform temperature”. But beware, the “contents will be HOT”. (I burnt myself on my first attempt.)

By the end of the week, though, I was an expert, casually tearing, folding, flipping, and kneading with hardly a thought.**

* The smell of heating was distinctive, chemical but pleasing. I will forever remember it, inextricably mingled with the city’s flood-stench.

** A sort of MRE culture sprang up in the city. My neighbors across the street had their stash. We’d sit on the stoop at lunchtime eating out of bags with plastic spoons. People had favorites and swapped them like school lunches. Certain entrées were prized, others were reviled and left sitting neglected in the corner of the box. (The vegetarian meal was the subject of particular scorn.)


  1. Anonymous10:41 AM


  2. Hi there! Nice stuff, do keep me posted when you post again something like this! MRE Giant 


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