What is an MRE

What is an MRE? You may have heard all about MREs. They have become a staple in a soldier’s diet while on deployment. On today’s show, we are going to talk all about the history behind military rations and how they have evolved to where we are at today.

MREs came into existence in the early 1980s. They replaced the MCI rations used heavily in Vietnam. These meals were lighter and offered greater variety than the MCI rations. Over the years, the military has continued to refine and tweak recipes and formulas in the classic MREs. However, despite their best efforts, soldiers still found some creative nicknames for the meals.

Soldiers affectionately called them, Meals Rejected by Everyone, or Meals Rarely Edible. They contained low fiber which could lead to constipation. Soldiers had a nickname for that too, “Meals Refusing to Exit”. 

Who Has The Best MRE

In the next week or two we are going to be talking about French cuisine. My research into MREs sparked that interest. Here’s why.

In March 2007, The Salt Lake Tribune invited three gourmet chefs to taste-test 18 MRE meals. None of the meals rated higher than a 5.7 average on a scale of 1-to-10, and the chicken fajita meal, in particular, was singled out for disdain, rating an average score of 1.3. Early in the war in Afghanistan, among the international troops who mingle at Bagram Air Base, a single French 24 hour combat ration could be traded for at least five American Meals Ready to Eat.

So with a French ration being so widely desired, I had to look up what is in it. Here is an example French menu.. It sounds so…. French! A streamlined, but sophisticated, French ration pack offers soldiers deer pâté, cassoulet with duck confit, creole-style pork and a crème chocolate pudding. There is also a disposable heater, some coffee and flavoured drink powder, muesli for breakfast and a little Dupont d’Isigny caramel.

Now this next part just sounds terrible! The vegetable cheese omelet MRE, Recipe No. 4, introduced in 2005, is generally considered the worst ever. Soldiers serving in Iraq dubbed it the “Vomelet”, both for its appearance and taste. It was discontinued in 2009.

Wrap Up Food in Space

Today’s episode will also wrap up food in space. We will discuss the vital importance of nutrition in space. Then we will continue talking about military rations. Enjoy the show!

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What is an MRE: The History of Military Rations
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