1988 Menu 7 - Beef Stew

Reviews and taste-tests of any MREs from 1981-present
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1988 Menu 7 - Beef Stew

Post by parafireboy » Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:54 pm

Today I'm continuing the "brown bag tour" through some of my older MREs. It's always a fun trip down memory lane to see these older rations again, and to see how they've held up to the test of time. Just to put the time in perspective, here are few of the things going on around the world the year this MRE was produced:

- Michael Dukakis was running for president against George H.W. Bush.
- A bomb destroyed a Pan-Am 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
- Ronald Reagan was the US president.
- A new drug called "crack" first appeared in the US.
- Numerous indictments are handed down in the Iran-Contra affair.

Ok, we've established that this thing is no spring chicken, let's get on the review.

This MRE is a 1988 DoP menu #7, beef stew. The outer package was fine with no apparent breaches in integrity.
Unopened Menu 7
Upon opening it, the contents appeared just as they did when packed. I was quite happy to find that it contained a cherry nut cake. I miss those things!
I headed up the kitchen to check out the contents and get them squared away on my 1951 military mess tray.

The crackers were crisp and tasted just like new. I'm still amazed at the luck I've had with the older crackers. I have yet to have any that had gone bad.
Next was the nut cake. It smelled perfectly fine, and just as I remembered. The big question was whether or not the nuts had gone rancid. I took a small bite, chewed a couple of times and let it sit on my tongue for a minute. The nuts were fine! This was great news, as I hadn't had a nut cake for years. It tasted great, and I ate the whole thing. :D
Cherry Nut Cake
The cherry beverage powder appeared perfectly fine in the pouch, and dissolved easily in water. The taste was fine, though I was never a big fan of the cherry beverage powder. A little too much chemical taste for me. Still, it was perfectly consumable.
IMG_0426 - Copy.JPG
Cherry Beverage Powder
The coffee appeared perfectly fine as well. I mixed it up and tried it, and found it to be just fine. Maybe the older ascorbic acid type holds up better than some of the later instant coffee types.
Coffee Packet
Coffee Prepared
The other accessory packet items had held up very well too. The moist towelette was still moist, and the Tabasco sauce was still liquid. It had the old Chiclet gum in the box, which went on the shelf.

I boiled the main entree for 10 min and plated it. It smelled just like it did when new, nothing "off" about it. Lots of good beef pieces. It tasted just fine as well.
Meal Prepared
Entree Close-Up
I made sure to knead the peanut butter a couple of minutes since it had been in the pouch for almost 28 years. It looked and smelled fine. It tasted perfectly fine as well!
Peanut Butter
Amazingly, every single item in this MRE was consumable after almost 28 years!

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Re: 1988 Menu 7 - Beef Stew

Post by Norton » Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:52 pm

Excellent review of the classic military meal. The photos are outstanding and the the fact you tested all the minor components such as towelette and Tabasco is very helpful
As for the troop who drew this meal in 1988. It was like the old reliable meal. You knew what the main course would taste like.
It still looks fresh from the photos. If you give the main course the thumbs up in smell and taste, then I believe it's not spoiled.

First to eat the entire nut cake earns you the Iron stomach class one medal :D
The Cherry Drink US DOD style was never one I liked when it was new. I am sure it has not improved with age.
The Tabasco bottles I have from the 1980's are 50/50 dried up.

Again thanks for the taking the time for this brother

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Re: 1988 Menu 7 - Beef Stew

Post by cavguy » Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:42 am

You won the lottery with that nut cake!

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Re: 1988 Menu 7 - Beef Stew

Post by Ruleryak » Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:59 am

This entire 80's MRE is in such great shape! For nearly thirty years old, the meat and vegetables from the main entree look fantastic. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us!

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Re: 1988 Menu 7 - Beef Stew

Post by parafireboy » Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:13 pm

Thanks guys! You're right cavguy, I did indeed hit the lottery with the nut cake. It was great! You're right Norton, the beef stew has been the timeless classic of US military rations. Whatever may be coming in the decades ahead, there's a good likelihood that beef stew will still be on the menu.

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Re: 1988 Menu 7 - Beef Stew

Post by rattattoo » Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:37 pm

It seems such a shame that they had nailed the product as well as they did the nutcake. As I remember had a pretty high nutritional value in addition to really good taste.
1988, and still edible, is a pretty good indication of shelf life.
It would seem at something that good, and done so well, would be a no-brainer to return to the lineup.

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Re: 1988 Menu 7 - Beef Stew

Post by steve1989 » Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:36 pm

parafireboy, your reviews are truly something to behold! Well done!

This 1988 Menu 7 is like a time capsule in this shape. Almost like it traveled through time and unscathed. Do you have a Delorean Time Machine we don't know about, man? :wink: :mrgreen:

Beautiful photos, detailed descriptions making me hungry, and like cavguy says you hit the lottery on the nut cake! Right on, man! :D

I'd forgotten about cherry beverage base powder - man I miss those.

Ahhh the legendary Coffee Instant, Type I - amazing stuff.. I am a fan of it. :)

The entree is looking mighty fine, with a 27 year old vintage!

Outstanding work, Iron Stomach Parafireboy! :D

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