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Meals Ready to Eat (Military MREs): I Did It For Science (PHOTOS)

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Dec 31, 2012

In this week's podcast I spoke with military veterans about eating in a war zone. As part of my preparation for the show, I purchased and ate three MREs. They weren't all bad, just mostly bad. The chili and macaroni was the best one. The boneless pork rib was mediocre, and the grilled beef patty was indistinguishable from dog food.

Here are the (mostly) unedited notes I took as I prepared and ate the MREs:

Chili and Macaroni

Cornbread stuffing
Vegetable crackers
Grape jelly
Vanilla pound cake
Cocoa beverage powder
Silverware setup with coffee, handi wipe, etc

Chili and mac not bad, total Chef Boyardee ripoff with a bit of cumin and chili powder, at least the meat was soft and tender

Use crackers to scoop chili

Cornbread stuffing was awful

Tried inhaling “lemon scented” wipe while eating to add hint of lemon, but it’s not really lemon scented, it’s more standard moist towlette scent, which doesn’t taste as good.

You're only supposed to heat one item with the heating pouch. Tried heating two in one box – first one on each side, then both on one side – instructions specify that heater should be under the meal, I found that two on one side of the heater heated the second item a little better than having them on either side of the heater, although one side of the second item was heated more (the side closer to the first item). By massaging the packet you could spread the heat evenly.

Use crackers as sandwich bread

Smell of burning plastic when MREs heat up

Salt the jelly -- yes!

Beef Patty, Grilled

Potato Cheddar Soup with Bacon
Crackers, Vegetable
Apple jelly
Almond Poppy Seed pound cake
Beverage Base Powder – Orange (labelled “No Fruit Juice”)

Smelled so much like dog food it was tough to handle

Saw no evidence that it had been grilled

Addition of non-dairy creamer in place of cheese did not make it worse, did add a barely detectable creamy sweetness, although maybe that was in my mind

Soup was very salty, I think they should take out the bacon

Pork Rib, Boneless, Imitation

Cherry Blueberry Cobbler
Crackers, Vegetable
Grape Jelly
Vanilla Pound Cake
Beverage Base Powder, Tropical Punch

Pork rib compared favorably to McRib, more of a smoky bbq flavor (albeit totally artificial, but still)

Cobbler – couldn’t tell where cherries and blueberries ended and cobbler began

Vanilla pound cake a little dry and overly sweet, but roughly comparable to a mass-produced, store bought pound cake that’s just been on the shelf a little too long


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