+1DIRTYDAVE wrote:Man, this thread needs to go into the Hall of Fame, lots o replies!
It also makes a fantastic place for newbies (long-time lurkers or fresh blood) to introduce themselves!
I learnt far more about each of you than if you'd written a "mundane" intro.
My first military ration experiences were as a teen in JROTC in the late '70s thru early '80s. It was a mixture of dreadful boxed lunches, and "proper" canned rations which were fascinating to most of us.
My first mylar MRE was in the early 80s, while in the adult Air Reserves (nothing high speed, just puddle-jumper SAR, cross-trained for light reconnaissance - roughly the equivalent of the Danny Glover role in "Bat*21", except we never deployed overseas (except for training) in the time I was in). My unit was on some sort of big (to me!) joint exercise, and at one point we were swapping rides with a really cool Huey squadron. I was mesmerized (my first rotary wing ride), and stayed behind, talking to the crew, asking tons of questions and obviously really enthusiastic (in retrospect, I may have been the only one who didn't rush away, looking rather ill/airsick).
As I was about to leave, one of the crew suddenly opened a container, pulled out a smallish cardboard box, handed it to me, and said something about it being a new issue item I might get a kick out of. I only had a second to glance at it and thank him, then had to catch up with my group.
That evening, I opened it, and was in a state of complete wonder.
This was a work of engineering!
It was a breakfast meal, and had one can and one brown mylar pouch (one was meat, one eggs - I can still vividly "see" the box and main two content items in my mind, but can no longer "read" the containers - argh! age!). I forget what else was in it, but will always remember the sense of awe at how high tech it felt, compared to canned style rations.
I don't know what ration that was (was probably a semi-obscure one), and was never issued any other "modern" MRE (the local base issued us homebrew boxed lunches, or we'd arrange something ourselves - yeah, that was during the cheap years, when the mall majority tried to pretend the military didn't exist).
I have also had old style Canadian rat packs, from swaps on NATO exercises in the early 80s. The cheese and crackers were awesome!
Fast forward to 2007... I'm an UberGeek, and regularly read SF writer Orson Scott Card's equivalent-of-a-blog, and was pleasantly surprised to read a review of an MRE taste testing he hosted. Until then, I had not realized that MRE components could be legally purchased by civilians (hadn't even realized prior service could buy on a base). The main weakness in my car emergency gear was food (I had lots of snacks but no "proper" meals), so I mentally noted that I should investigate MREs, next overhaul.
The next Spring, I started what turned into a major overhaul of all my car emergency gear, which, of course!, included major research into MREs that also led to several new-ish civilian shelf stable foods that I hadn't been aware of.
That's when I stumbled across this superb site!
My favorite thread of all time is Kman's week-of-eating-MREs .
My favorite recent thread was the FSR hack-a-thon. When you start with a "I wish somebody would do this", and turn it into a "we will figure this out", and actually do it, you are hacking... and that is a good thing!
My main interests, MRE-wise are:
- practical, emergency preparedness
(car only, though after the "James Kim" incident I decided to aim for at least two weeks of food (I've lived in somewhat remote areas), plus I am a roving contract software engineer (hence the "Nomad" part of my handle), so having "real" meals in my car gives me more flexibility, is a stress reducer, and time saver (usually, I have far more food in my car than most city folk have in their home))
- sheer Geeky wonder at the construction of these complete packets of tastee-ness!
- nostalgia, combined with sympathetic curiosity of how our younger brothers & sisters are eating in the field
I'm not quite finished my 2009s, and recently bought a box of items from TheEpicenter, so I'm still in significant MRE "Quality Control Mode".
I'll be posting some MRE reviews, plus some civilian shelf stable stuff (both food and alternate cooking devices), to give back to this wonderful treasure trove of information!