|Combat Rations in all their glory|
To all of my friends in the US armed forces. You are getting jipped. Seriously. Your food sucks. Or maybe you just aren’t French enough.
When I responded to Hurricane Katrina, we ended up eating Meals Ready to Eat (MRE), or US army combat rations, for at least 1 meal a day. We would deploy from base at 4 or 5 am and get back well after dark, so lunch was always an MRE and sometimes parts of dinner or breakfast were, too. Generally, there was a couple of packets with either powder or paste that you mixed together and then put in another packet that does some chemical reaction and the whole thing heats up. In the case of the “Mexican” option, you would then smear the whole thing on a tortilla and call it lunch. Otherwise, you ate it with a spoon. There were nice treats like chocolates and powdered gatorade but the quality of the food left a lot to be desired.
Yesterday, we got given a French combat rations as a sample for lunch. It contained such magical items as cheese, chocolates, caramels and good peppermint tea. For the omnivores, there was Mexican salad with beef and beans and a chicken soup thing with significant chunks of chicken. I did have the beans out of the Mexican salad and they were tasty. There was also a packet of soup, pate, crackers and cookies, coffee, cocoa and 3 different candy bars for dessert. That is a wider variety of food than I eat in about a week here.
We split that one ration pack between the 4 of us. Another surreal moment in a day full of bizarre and surreal moments. Hannah and I were still in our ‘church clothes’ aka island dresses, sitting in the middle of their floor eating French army rations we were heating on the included flame heater.