1996 Ration, Cold Weather: Menu# 5-A

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BTemple
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1996 Ration, Cold Weather: Menu# 5-A

Postby BTemple » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:18 pm

Digging into my first vintage ration ever today. And because we had lots of snow to shovel it seemed appropriate to eat an American Ration, Cold Weather. It's from 1996, from Right Away Foods.... pray I return unscathed. Huge props go out to RC Gusto for hooking me up with this a few weeks ago, it arrived just in time for my birthday!

Here we have all the components laid out.... there's a huge portion of Strawberries and Cream oatmeal for the main breakfast entree as well as a whole pile of other food, which hopefully is still edible. We shall see....

Here's the Oatmeal just doing its thing.... getting reconstituted with some boiling water. Using the closure device just for the hell of it.

The final product: This looks and smells amazing... especially considering it's 20 years old. The cream flavouring hadn't gone bad, the strawberry pieces hadn't oxidized; you would assume it was a brand new package of oatmeal. There's got to be the equivalent of at least 3 or maybe 4 sachets of Quaker Oats in here. Certainly an amazingly filling meal. I tried the get the water level juuuuuuust right for my liking, and I think I nailed it. I hate my oatmeal to be watery and thin, I like it almost like glue. Haha

Next up we have the two main drink mixes. The Apple Cider was absolutely delicious... wish I had a whole case of it. Perfect mix of sweet apple flavour with just a hint of spice. The cocoa beverage on the other hand was showing its age a bit I think, it wasn't horrible... but it wasn't good either. It didn't taste bad at first, but the after-taste reaaaaaaly didn't make you want to have any more of it. Too bad there were two packs of it, just got one sitting around now I'll probably just toss.

For some of the sides/snacks we have some Blueberry Bars, which are very similar to Fig Newtons. Note the sugars which have crystallized on the edges over time. This was surprisingly good for its age. The cake outer-layer was still moist enough, and the blueberry filling was still very good, aside from a couple hard globs of sugar inside that you had to chew once or twice to get to dissolve. Once again, for 20 years old, it was fantastic.
In the back we have good 'ol plain MRE crackers... kinda bland, and sadly no spread of any kind to put on it. What else can you say???

The other main snack found in this RCW was a vacuum-sealed package of Nut Raisin Mix. Simply said, it was great, aside from the fact that 99% of the raisins had all fused together and taken some of the nuts with it. Initial taste test was good, nuts weren't rancid and didn't cause tongue swelling... good to go. I often find walnuts to be the main nut that would affect me if gone bad, so went with a piece of that first. No issues at all. Vacuum sealing really does help keep stuff fresh.

The last side-dish for this RCW is a 20 year old pack of Lipton Cup-a-Soup, Chicken Noodle flavour, and it is about as good as you would expect for 20 year old soup. One spoonful was enough...... this was the worst part of the ration. The soup didn't smell particularly bad, but that one spoonful had such a strange initial taste and even worse after-taste I decided to chuck the rest, no need to get sick, I'm not winning any medals here for being brave.

Broke open the accessory packet as well and tried one package of the Tootsie Rolls (A friend of mine absolutely loves them so he has dibs on the second pack). These Tootsie Rolls were immaculate. Perfect texture and taste. They could easily be brand new. Once again, amazed that after 20 years they can still be this good.

And lastly.... I simply had to open the red packet of Taster's Choice, even though I never drink coffee. I was wondering if I would be one of the few, one of the lucky few, to find an actual good packet, but alas, it was not meant to be. This was perhaps the worst case of dry-mold I have seen in any review of it actually, just one mass of malleable mold.

Well folks, that was the Menu 5-A RCW from 1996. Up next, when I get the chance, will be the 5-B Menu, which has Spaghetti and Meat Sauce as the main entree.

Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed it.

PS: One final question. Would it be preferable to have the review written like this, or would people prefer to have separate blurbs underneath each image?
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Re: 1996 Ration, Cold Weather: Menu# 5-A

Postby steve1989 » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:40 pm

Ahhh - the RCW. Who doesn't love these things?!

Awesome look into an A-component RCW, BTemple! Always feels good to see folks still enjoying these things.. and even better when shared on MREinfo.

Have looked at this one 4 times now - first comment.. love the photos and descriptions. Don't change a thing - but if you maybe put shorter comments/descriptions under each photo to accent your already beautifully descriptive main part of the review - that could be cool.

Man - these things hold up! And you lucked out.. strawberries & cream and blueberry bars.. you lucky dog you! 8)

Cannot WAIT to see part 2 of this thing man - B-component is great! Which one is it, Spaghetti?


Thank you for sharing. :)
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Re: 1996 Ration, Cold Weather: Menu# 5-A

Postby cavguy » Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:03 pm

Excellent review of my favorite US ration! Interesting about how the raisins solidified into the bottom of the pouch, I have never seen that before. BTW - any way you want to do the review is cool, I just appreciate the time you put into it.

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Re: 1996 Ration, Cold Weather: Menu# 5-A

Postby BTemple » Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:20 pm

steve1989 wrote:Ahhh - the RCW. Who doesn't love these things?!

Awesome look into an A-component RCW, BTemple! Always feels good to see folks still enjoying these things.. and even better when shared on MREinfo.

Have looked at this one 4 times now - first comment.. love the photos and descriptions. Don't change a thing - but if you maybe put shorter comments/descriptions under each photo to accent your already beautifully descriptive main part of the review - that could be cool.

Man - these things hold up! And you lucked out.. strawberries & cream and blueberry bars.. you lucky dog you! 8)

Cannot WAIT to see part 2 of this thing man - B-component is great! Which one is it, Spaghetti?


Thank you for sharing. :)


Thank's Steve, glad to hear that people enjoyed the review. I've got a Masters in Military History so I can be a little long winded at times if I get caught up in what I'm writing. Hahaha.
I was amazed by how well everything held up, especially the oatmeal and the nut-raisin mix.
Yeah the B-component has the Spaghetti & Meat Sauce, two packs of oatmeal and cereal bars, and a chocolate covered brownie. I've already torn it open and the Orange beverage powder is perfect, no lumps of any kind, and the M&M's are immaculate. RC Gusto must have stored this well before he sent it to me!
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Re: 1996 Ration, Cold Weather: Menu# 5-A

Postby BTemple » Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:22 pm

cavguy wrote:Excellent review of my favorite US ration! Interesting about how the raisins solidified into the bottom of the pouch, I have never seen that before. BTW - any way you want to do the review is cool, I just appreciate the time you put into it.


Thanks man! Was simply curious if it was annoying to people to maybe have to flip up and down looking at text and then pictures and then back again.
I can't wait to dig into the B pouch and review it for everyone!
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Re: 1996 Ration, Cold Weather: Menu# 5-A

Postby housil » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:31 am

I really enjoyed your review, thx for it!

BTemple wrote:
PS: One final question. Would it be preferable to have the review written like this, or would people prefer to have separate blurbs underneath each image?


I would like to see/read it more "mixed". So you have "lot´s" of reading, later on just pictures. I like it to have each "description" to the particular picture.

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Re: 1996 Ration, Cold Weather: Menu# 5-A

Postby BTemple » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:25 am

housil wrote:I really enjoyed your review, thx for it!

BTemple wrote:
PS: One final question. Would it be preferable to have the review written like this, or would people prefer to have separate blurbs underneath each image?


I would like to see/read it more "mixed". So you have "lot´s" of reading, later on just pictures. I like it to have each "description" to the particular picture.


Hey thanks for the input! This was one of my favourite rations thus far.
I'll try it that way maybe next time, see how it all looks when I'm done.
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Re: 1996 Ration, Cold Weather: Menu# 5-A

Postby parafireboy » Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:48 pm

Great review and pics! Thanks for sharing! :)

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Re: 1996 Ration, Cold Weather: Menu# 5-A

Postby rationtin440 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:06 pm

Great review BTemple! I remember those cold weather rations, wish they still had them because the MCWs have much less for accessories and sides and dessert/snack items, just my thoughts.

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Re: 1996 Ration, Cold Weather: Menu# 5-A

Postby freedash22 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:30 am

Great review! I love reading about RCWs. I've always felt these were the best US winter rations. I really hope the next iteration of the MCW will make it more unique and have more food items for cold weather sustenance (important) rather than just being an LRP in white exterior packaging. Thanks for sharing.
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