When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

21 May 2005

The MRE Gourmet

Was IMing a few weeks back with good friend Chap of the Chapomatic blog.

Chap, a career Naval officer, was concerned to learn that I had been putting in some late hours in the office and actually missing a few meals. He promised to send me some emergency rations from the base PX when he had a minute. Yeah, right, I thought. Ha ha. I've known Chap for (cough, cough) over twenty years now, we kid each other about stuff all the time, and I didn't really think anything more about it.

Until a package arrived in the mail several days later. The contents: two complete Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), the military's standard field rations these days. There was an "international" MRE ("Chicken in Thai Style Sauce") and a vegetarian MRE ("Veggie Burger in Barbecue Sauce") in Chap's care-package.

You know what I had to do.

Herewith, the enrevanche Test Kitchen report on MREs (sample size n=2.)

(Click on the pictures to see larger and higher-resolution versions.)

Thai Chicken MRE Deconstructed
Step 1. Unpack your MRE. (Camo tablecloth optional.)

assemble package for heating
Step 2. Put entree in chemical heating pouch, add water.
Stuff back in cardboard carton.

rest on an incline to heat thoroughly
Step 3. Rest entree heating assembly on an incline for 10-15 minutes.

opening the pouch
Step 4. Open the pouch (careful, contents are hot)...

thai chicken plated up
Step 5. ...and plate it up. (Plate not provided.) Mmm, mmm.

So, how was it, I hear you asking?

The Thai-style Chicken wasn't too bad, actually, once you added enough of the (provided) hot pepper flakes to give it a little punch, though it was still too sweet for my liking. The pineapple chunks were plenty tasty.

dessert course
What's for afters?

The included dessert was somewhat less successful. The French Vanilla Cappuccino beverage powder (I kid you not) was pretty awful, and the creme-filled vanilla wafer cookie was only passable. Peanut-butter M&Ms were fine, however.

The Veggie Burger, complete with two thick slices of shelf-stable bread for sandwich assembly, was, well, kind of a travesty.

veggie burger meal plated up
Veggie burger meal, plated up.

proof I actually tasted it
Proof that I actually tasted it.

With enough Tabasco sauce (also included) it was barely edible, but the smell scared the cat and even Chow Fun, who will eat anything (and was actually pretty interested in my Thai Chicken) turned her nose up when I offered her a taste.

for the love of god more tabasco
For the love of God, more Tabasco!

On the plus side, the included brownie in this meal was surprisingly good, though it didn't survive packaging and shipping intact, and the dried cranberries were just fine.

Here's the complete photoset at Flickr. I recorded the process for this week's podcast, too. (Link: Greenwich Village Idiot Podcast, May 22, 2005 - MP3, 13.4 MB)

No comments: