29 April 2010


Ragnell at Written World has an intriguing theory about the design of military Meals Ready to Eat.

All joking aside, MREs are an incredibly social food. Most contain an entree, a sidedish, a dessert, a snack, and a drink. Only one or two of these things will be edible to you (or you've gotten the only meal that anyone seems to feel is entirely good: The Chilimac. This is an anomaly, also no good for me because I don't like the entree--everything else on the menu rocks, though), the rest will either be disgusting or something you personally hate. You can, if you're hungry enough and alone, give up on your pickiness and just eat what you get. But I believe part of the point of the MRE (or an important side effect, since the main point was probably to make a meal that you could quickly eat a little bit of, work or get into a firefight, and then eat a little more of when the action dies down without it spoiling or spilling) is to build unit cohesion by forcing you to sit with the rest of your flight and trade food pouches to build an edible MRE (unless you got the cheese omelet, then you're shit out of luck. Though you probably will attract a crowd as it is such a legendarily disgusting entree that people will want to see your face when you eat it.)

Ragnell also has some good things to say about superheroes, especially Wonder Woman.

1 comment:

Erik said...

He's absolutely right, though I have no real proof. When I was in the Boy Scouts, living in Okinawa, we often ate MREs (rather than schlepp actual food when camping), and the grab-bag mix of meal components inevitably translated into food-swap. If you played your cards right, you could even barter away the better desserts to get out of your turn at onerous routine tasks like setting up a tent or cleaning actual cooking gear.

Now that I think about it, MREs really should have figured into some sort of Merit Badge: maybe something like "Trade 5 brownie dessert packages for work-assignments to get the QuarterMaster Badge." Mind you, I doubt most Scouts get the opportunity to sample the Army's finest comestibles.