Was talking a few weeks back with good friend Chap.
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.)
Step 1. Unpack your MRE. (Camo tablecloth optional.)
Step 2. Put entree in chemical heating pouch, add water. Stuff back in cardboard carton.
Step 3. Rest entree heating assembly on an incline for 10-15 minutes.
Step 4. Open the pouch (careful, contents are hot)...
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.
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.
With enough Tabasco sauce (also included) it was barely edible, but the smell scared the cat and even my portly yellow Chow Chow, who will eat anything (and was actually pretty interested in my Thai Chicken) turned her nose up when I offered her a taste.
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.
There are pictures and audio of the taste-testing process here: