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Russian Army Ration

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:14 pm
by Big_jo
User Prado67 sent me a Russian army ration! :D It's quite exciting, you don't see these often!
The outer box is some kind of laminated card, with camouflage colouration.

The contents - 1 man's food for 24hr.
You get 3 main meals (beef & buckwheat stew, beef meatballs, beef & green bean stew)
4 packs of crackers
1 serving of cheese
1 serving of 'bacon', which I suspect is pork fat.
1 serving of liver pate
1 serving of sausage meat
1 serving of beetroot caviar
1 serving apple sauce
1 serving apple jam
1 bar of chocolate
3 hot drinks (1 coffee, 2 tea)
3 packs of fruit juice powder
1 multivitamin
3 wet napkins
3 plastic spoons
1 plastic fork
water purification tablets
heating kit

Re: Russian Army Ration

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:23 pm
by Big_jo
So, what will I have for dinner? :D
Beef & green bean stew, with cheese and crackers. Juice to drink.

Step 1 - assemble reheating kit and light fuel block. It's very similar to the ones in the French RICR.
Well that's the cooking started, time for a snack.

Step 2 - Cheeeeeeese!
It turns out the crackers at very similar to these, ... GN2931.jpg which just happen to be my favourite type of cracker. The cheese isn't bad either, very creamy with a mild flavour. Similar to Dairylea, or Laughing Cow cheese.

Re: Russian Army Ration

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:35 pm
by Big_jo
I left the fuel block heating the dinner for several minutes, I think it's probably done now though. I wonder what the food looks like?
Hmm...interesting. But how does it taste? Actually, it's very good :D Plenty of vegetables and even a few chunks of real beef. It's not overcooked, all the real textures of the ingredients are there, and it all tastes good. The orange juice mix to wash it down is also very nice, although I think that I used too much water.

All gone!
Overall I was very satisfied with the taste and quality of the meal, although I would say that I didn't really feel full. There is still plenty of food in the ration, but I get the impression there isn't anything left to spare. Secondly, although the 3 main meals of the day have been accounted for very well, there isn't much for easy to eat snacks. Sure, you could have the chocolate, but it's only small. You could have the crackers and one of the dips, but you'd really have to be sitting down for this, not very convenient.

Still, I think it's a really good effort, and I'm really looking forward to trying some of the other things!

Re: Russian Army Ration

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:51 pm
by housil
Thanky for your review of that very rare ration

Re: Russian Army Ration

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 2:56 am
by cutsman
Great stuff! Can't wait for the next update :D

Re: Russian Army Ration

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:07 pm
by rationtin440
Very cool review and pics, Big_jo! Actually I've heard alot of negative stuff about Russian rations, but common sense would dictate that even the Soviets with their reputation for not necessarily having the welfare of their soldiers in mind, would not provide rations that would make them sick and render them "combat-ineffective." It is pretty much the same with every country's rations: if properly stored they are made to last.

Re: Russian Army Ration

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:34 pm
by Big_jo
Well from what I've read, the USSR didn't actually produce many specialised combat rations, mainly because of their military doctrine.

In the event of war with NATO, soviet divisions would only be supplied with ammunition. Their vehicles were designed to carry enough fuel to reach their objectives before refuelling, and troops would spend about 72 hours in the line before being replaced by another division. In that time they had biscuits, some civilian canned foods, but generally they were expected to go without so that the attack could maintain momentum and to ease logistics. After this they had 72 hours to rest, repair and reinforce, before going back into the line. I think the best book I ever read on the subject was 'Inside the Soviet Army' by Viktor Suvurov, it's really interesting.

Re: Russian Army Ration

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:01 pm
by Big_jo
OK, so, the long awaited part 2

My next dinner was meatballs:
There was also pate, pork fat, apple sauce and crackers, and something special to drink:
Anyway to the meal. The pate was as you might expect from any canned pate, pleasant enough and good with the crackers. The main entrée was a little disappointing:
Although the quality of the food was good, as was the flavour, it really was just meatballs and nothing else. I would have hoped for a few vegetables, but that's just my taste.

Now on to the strangest item on the menu - the pork fat. At least, I think it was pork fat. The translation I got online was 'bacon', but there was no meat to be seen. I decided that the best way to try this would be hot, so I tried cooking it as best I could on the ration heater:
Before I tried it, I expected it to be disgusting, but to be honest, it wasn't that bad. It didn't really have a taste, and it had an odd texture - perhaps it was meant to be mixed in with something else?

Lastly, there was the apple purée.
I expected a jam, but this was way too watery to be a jam. If anything, it was a drink, but not the less pleasant. Sweet and with a pleasing apple flavour, it made a nice surprising addition to the meal.

Overall, I think the meatballs would be best eaten as a breakfast meal, since it's not too big. If anything, it's not really enough, but what there was of it was quite nice. All except the pork fat, which perhaps was just due to my personal or cultural preferences.

Re: Russian Army Ration

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:57 pm
by dirtbag
I think the lard is meant to be smeared on the crackers, a common european way.
Look up the WW2 German rations, lard was issued as a spread.
Fat is very high in calories, just the thing in a combat situation.

With all the 'Modern" health food ideas, lard has fallen out of favor, but a calorie is a calorie!

Re: Russian Army Ration

Posted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:15 am
by housil
THX for the review and the great pics!

That "fat/lard" is what dirtbag said, a common european way.

Usually we eat it on a slice of bread, sprinkle salt/pepper on it:
You can make it from pork or even better, from goose fat.
German EPas have a similar dish, called "Schmalzfleisch". That´s a "sausage" with just a lard topping: