Spanish Ration Taste Test
October 7, 2007
One of the members in the MREInfo.com Forums wrote this review for a Spanish Combat Ration.
The unit I had was a breakfast unit ( Breakfast Unit No. 1) that came in a papery/plastic like wrapper similar to a snack chip bag that was painted a dark OD color al over with black lettering on the front that you could hardly see unless you turned it the right way under the lights. I found the wrapper was very easy to open and I could slide out the thin cardboard box.
The cardboard box was something of a thin corrugated box type with all the ingredients neatly packed inside. Box measures 6 x 4 x 2.5 inches (15 x 10 x 5.5 cm) and it was painted a lighter OD green color. Here is a list of what was inside:
An instruction sheet printed in English, French and Spanish. Gave a rundown of the contents and how to fold the little disposable stove over. Also gave some bullet comments on how to use each item in the kit. Has some warnings on back if the contents are damaged.
Book of Matches – Strikingly similar to the US kind except the Spanish put a thin waterproof film over the heads of the matches. No printing on the outside.
One big box of breakfast crackers – very good and very crisp. Much like animal crackers but sweeter and it came with a lot.
One small bag of granola with fruit pieces – Didn’t get very much, kind of two handfuls and that was it. Similar to muesli in AUS or UK rations still very good and crunchy.
One tube of sweetened condensed milk – similar to ones found in AUS rations but the tube is bigger and therefore you get more. Tasted similar to Australian version as well. Came out like toothpaste and still had a light texture to it.
One chocolate bar – very small, not enough in my opinion. When opened the outside had dried out but the middle was still good and has a rich chocolate taste to it.
One Cocoa packet – I found that mine contained a small slit in the top and some had leaked out but nevertheless I poured some into a canteen cup and found that the cocoa was mixed with sugar granules. The taste was very sweet and rich but I think I poured too much water in my cup because it had a diluted weak taste. I did pour some condensed milk in mine and some of the chocolate bar it did improve the taste a little. I suspect that the packet was meant for smaller cup of hot chocolate unlike what you would find in a US MRE packet.
1 tablet of chewing gum – came out like a mint and tasted like one but after 2 seconds it dissolved into a gum form and the flavor didn’t last to long. The instructions mentioned something about chewing gum after every meal for dental hygiene.
One hydrate tablet – Not sure what this item was. My first guess was a water purification tablet you put into a canteen to treat water but the instructions say to “use only in cases of great physical effort or in situations of extreme heat and/or humidity” and to “drink with abundant water”. So to this point I am still not sure what it is used for.
Fuel Tablets – Two came with the unit in there own foil pouches. Instructions mention that “under normal conditions 1 tablet can raise the temperature of 250ml to 70 degrees C” but here is what I found. The tabs look very much like the ESBIT tab in the German EPA rations but were hard to light. Probably that is where the matches came in to play. Has a smell like Trioxane in the US versions but after 5 seconds of getting the damn thing lit then the smell was like dead fish. The tabs tend to hiss, pop, and sputter almost like C-4 plastic explosive burning except it leaves a thick, crusty, sooty residue all over the place. 1 tab takes a long time to burn, about 13:26 minutes, so you need both tabs to even get the water to a roiling boil for the cocoa.
So all in all not a bad meal to have for breakfast though the Spanish it seems aren’t to keen on packing a lot into a meal kit like the US versions are. It seems the kit is more designed to be a brunch type menu or something quick to fix. I didn’t seem to get any of the bread that is supposed to come with the rations but I guess that is something more of a myth than reality. Though it would be nice to munch on some while your coffee or cocoa is boiling. Also I put to much water into the cocoa part and watered the taste down, so the cocoa is supposed to be of a small cup. The sweetened condensed milk is a lot to have for one cup of coffee as well.