MRESorry to those who preferred the vegetarian lasagna, refried beans, potato cheddar soup and chicken fajitas when digging through the Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) piles. Barbecue shredded beef, vegetarian taco pasta, and seasoned black beans will replace them starting in 2014.

The Combat Feeding Directorate went out and collected feedback from troops, and it turned out vegetarian lasagna didn’t have many fans.

Now, vegetarian taco pasta is a mystery. Google vegetarian taco pasta and images of spaghetti inside a taco shell come up. Look forward to see what that sort of dish looks and tastes like, but apparently troops liked it.

Jeanette Kennedy, a senior food technologist at Natick Labs, Mass., did answer why the common request for pizza has yet to make it into those plastic pouches. She acknowledged that pizza is the most requested food stuff for an MRE.

However, the food preservation technologies haven’t allowed Natick to make a suitable pizza that travels and lasts as long as the military needs. Eggs, deli meats and macaronia and cheese are other items in high demand.

Kennedy said the military is getting close to a break through. Right now the military uses the retort process to sterilize food. The food is heated up to 240 degrees in their pouches in order to kill the microbes that causes bacteria an food spoilage.

Natick Soldier Research is testing non-thermal, low-thermal, and advanced thermal processes in order to sterilize food, Kennedy said.

She predicted in an Army release that the next generation of food could be processed with “microwave sterilization, high pressure processing, super critical carbon dioxide preservation, or osmotic dehydration”

 

{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance August 2, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Feel bad lasagne is out. No vegi crap id say. DO like the Pizza.

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Lewis Covin August 5, 2013 at 11:55 am

I miss c_rat John Wayne chocolate and toffee chips candy discs in the b-1 can units. Ham slices and tuna fish were great, too. If you dropped your ham slice you just rinsed it off with canteen water. B-2 units with the hard crackers tended to suck big time but the canned cheese spread was okay. Mixing the nondairy creamer, sugar packet and hot chocolate packet made a decent chocolate icing for the D-2 desert pound cake can unit. Beans and franks were desirable as were the older c-rats with ham and boiled white potatoes. The canned eggs really sucked. But any of he fruit unit cans were good, pears, apple sauce, mixed fruit, sliced peaches were always good Tastes of home while sitting inthe dirt and mud in the field.

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Lewis Covin August 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Also we used to get LRP freeze dried evals. Usually some type of minute rice meal with beef and sauce., Just add water. ot water was best ut you took what water you had… LRP's were Long Range Patrol rats issued to Rangers and Special Forces guys who plundered the jungle often on their on or in small teams.

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Lewis Covin August 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Also c-rats were heated for the m-60 gunners who attached their big c- rat meal units to the M-60's as an ammunition belt feed support. Also remember the boot socks full of c-rat cans hanging off the side of the Alice pack or butt pack. The socks kept the cans from clanking while you were moving in addition to handy accessibility to eat while moving. They did swing around and thunk into you a bit, though. Then there was always the indispensable P-38 attached to your two dog tags. I hope the inventor of the P-38 became a rich person. That inventor's handy device had effects on every soldier, air force guy, and Navy seal/ medic and marine in the field. From generals to privates even though general's probably had an aid opening their c-rats I would bet that the generals always got ham slices, fruit and John Wayne candy bars in their rats hand picked out of the c-rat cases by aides.
Who remembers c-rat cigarettes? Talk about modern day politically incorrect. Lucky strikes, marl boroughs and camels. Heat tabs and c-rat-matches? That is why so many vets from WW2, Korea and Vietnam have smoking related illnesses today. Everyone but a very small minority smoked to relax a little or stiffen nerves.

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Lewis Covin August 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm

That is also why back in Clinton days, when Hilary asked the VA to stop treating vets for smoking related illnesses she got shot down big time. She was too ignorant to know the military issued cigarettes out with each c-rat meal. Typical of anti military types that became politically correct smoking nazis in the 80's. those types sprang up from the Vietnam anti war/ military types in our institutions of higher learning in the 60-70's. I hated them for their disrespect and harassment on Campus. They were so arrogant and self righteous looking crown their noses while pacing flowers in the barrels of ROTC cadets standing in drill formations with their M-14's at right shoulder or port arms. By the way, I still believe the M-14 is the bet field rifle going with that 7.62 round and twenty round magazine. Especially the modified switches converting them to full auto. Much better and lighter than the BAR OF KOREA, AND WW2. Also lighter than the M -1's with the M-14mag vs the M-1 eight round clip that always pinged when it ejected. The bad guys always knew when you were out of ammo because of that automatic ejection ping after the last round. Was fired. But the M-1 did win WW2for us with it's superior fire power vs single shot rifles often dominant in the enemy's infantry field rifle inventory.

Duncan Anderson August 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Why can’t they make the pizza like a lunch able just give the tomato past cheese and meat in separate pouches and then the wheat snack bread can be the crust…..

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steelcobra August 3, 2013 at 2:13 am

Holy shit, something that might actually make that "bread" palatable!

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Hitchner August 4, 2013 at 7:19 am

Because that would consist of "way too many" pouches, its preferred for the MRE to be one complete meal per pouch. Who the hell would like to carry multiple weightless pouches when you can carry a few.

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Todd B August 3, 2013 at 2:25 am

I miss my corned beef hash and 4 tabascos…..

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Drew November 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Tabaso made any MRE palatable

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Lee August 3, 2013 at 3:32 am

What happened to ham and lima beans? With a little hot sauce from the mess hall, it was great.

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Martin August 6, 2013 at 10:46 am

You my friend are a sick individuals…… ugh!! Ham & M@&H3$F#@kers…. Oh Man that is about as bad as the salted pork!!! You are hardcore!!! :)

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Big Daddy August 6, 2013 at 8:14 pm

That indeed is hardcore. That stuff was horrible. I did find out by accident those terrible cakes in the C rats would taste a lot better if you left it out for a few minutes. I think it rehydrates that way. I have not tried any MREs yet and I don't think I will, although I am curious.

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Rick August 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Martin, Relieved to see that someone else remembers the “Ham & M@&H3$F#@kers….” and provided a warning for those who do not know. If they come through with an egg MRE, hope it isn’t as foul as the Ham and Nastys were. Someone mentioned pound cake, a.k.a ton cake. I preferred that over the fruit cake, some of which is probably still sitting in my intestinal tract. Chocolate Nut Roll was pretty good and could be used to derail a train.

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Robert Everhart August 3, 2013 at 8:37 am

In my early years with the military we had c-rations. I wish I had a truck load of the ham and eggs.

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guest August 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I miss the c-rats. Ham and eggs were the best.

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Britun August 4, 2013 at 4:11 am

My fav as c rats and more too! Got all I wanted as no one else would eat them.

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Rick O'Connell August 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Remember mixing the can of strawberry jam in my canteen to make it taste better. The water was nasty!

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Rick O'Connell August 6, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Me too. But I always put tobacco on it.

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Rick O'Connell August 6, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Opps I meant Tobasco

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Tim August 7, 2013 at 12:24 am

I remember we were in the field and I drew ham & eggs three mornings in a row, and had to eat 'em cold cause we moved out to the new CP soon as we'd drawn chow and had to eat on the road. (And yes, we did mix the boxes up in the case away from everyone then turn it upside down, so the fact I went last wasn't in play… it was just the gods having their bit o'fun ["Har-Har-Har-De-Har-Har"].) Needless to say, the (then) LT was not a happy camper, but the troops got a laugh, so it wasn't all for naught. ;-)

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John August 7, 2013 at 9:32 pm

You could have mine. didn't like!

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Rick August 8, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Ham and Nastys. No thanks!

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War Dog August 12, 2013 at 12:39 am

The old C rations ham and eggs were good. I like the pound cake, we would use the coca mix to make the frosting for it.

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Daniel A. d'Errico August 3, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Gone too are the hockey puck chocolate cookies that came with C-rats. LRRP meals were great for energy boosts. Whatever the young guys get these days has to be 100% better in everyway.

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Tim August 7, 2013 at 12:26 am

Loved those "$#!t Disks" !!

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Adam August 4, 2013 at 2:57 am

Pretty stoked for BBQ shredded beef. I carry a bottle of BBQ sauce in my pack regardless. Great with crackers and cheese.

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mr casper shadow August 4, 2013 at 4:11 am

take a tip from kathy mitchel of the redy-set-go cooker as seen on tv for field,combat,or emergency desaster use if most meals cook on average of 4 min then experment with your favorite mre recipies and have speciality mre packs of sauces,flavoring,s and seasoning,s to augment a verioity of taste,s.and have a portable power source that eather hand cranks or is solar powered like bell and howell plugin or lithium,or small win powered for personal use then youl have totaly funcitional no matter what thanks for reading lot of work ahead of you best of luck.

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FtBragg August 4, 2013 at 7:21 am

Not like it matters we'll have to pay for them anyway with how cheap the military has gotten thanks to those who want to cut our budget we make barely enough to feed our families let alone spend 12$ per mre when in the field guess you just have to go without eating for a week guess that's the new standard in the new army

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ArmyCook August 4, 2013 at 12:02 pm

You do not pay for MRE's. They are purchased with the units training fund. If you have cooks prepare a meal out in the field then you may have to pay for that, but you co not pay for an MRE.

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Steelhammer0331 August 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Troopers and Marines shouldnt have to pay for shit! bean counters have no problem sending cooks and mess privates home with extra stuff from the chow hall, so why shoud men in the field pay for anything? do the cooks who cook the "food" in the field pay for it…..no.

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dan August 7, 2013 at 12:40 am

Don't know about the Army but the Air Force charges for MREs in the storm shelters.

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Bill August 6, 2013 at 11:44 am

oh, Joe get over it, you make more than you lead on. pay to eat just like every one else, or just dont eat or better yet get out of the Army, we dont need winers like you anyways.

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Spartan Medic August 4, 2013 at 7:53 am

I think they should get rid of the omelette MRE…no one that I've ever talked to since it came out likes the darn thing. It's like the country captain chicken of this generations MREs. I've never had C-rats….but I can tell you todays MRE's are much better than the T-rats we had when I first came in the army…I think they should also bring back the bacon and cheese…and make a potato skins MRE….hey it's vegetarian…idk just saying…

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Flippymar August 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Doesn't the omelette MRE have skittles? I think that's the only reason I got them before. Otherwise I liked the cheese tortellini the best.

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Kevin August 5, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I was the only person I knew who actually liked the "Omellette." Didn't taste like an ommellette but I liked whatever it was.

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Mark August 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Yeah, the omelette was unbearable. It's the only "entree" I was never hungry enough to eat during Ranger school. That's saying alot.

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PhilC August 4, 2013 at 8:43 am

GoPicnic.com and other civilian companies have the technology for healthy balanced meals. The military food although I ate it for years was not nutrionally sound or healthy. No excuses anymore. The unhealthy food fed to our troops puts them on the road to bad health which surfaces years after they get out. Decisions on your health are made by gov't bids and you are the captive consumer. Glad I'm on to another part of my life but still love the P38. Also there is a travel cooker that boils water or cooks food. It is about the size of the guys helmet. Powered by 110-220v or a car ligter or battery. If I was in I'd have one. Demand healthier food choices or get people to mail it to you. Make the military items provide nutritional data and ingredient lists.

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Gary Hunt August 4, 2013 at 9:00 am

My first MRE had freeze dried straw berry short cake in it, and a pair of wayfarer sunglasses. They were awesome. South Atlantic early 80"s Years later I found delight in the enchilada dinner. 2002 / 2003OSW/OEF

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Bill Seale August 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm

we did not even have strawberry shortcake..we had to make it….freeze dried strawberries, the crackers that could also double as siding for a shelter, and the coffee creamer. Little water in the strawberries and made the "whipped cream" from the creamer and there you had it. I cannot recall the ones when I was in but to be honest, I was always a fan of the freeze dried "meat" patties and potatoes. Could eat them like jerky and let them expand in your gut. Oh the memories.

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Rick Gillespie August 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I remember the freeze dried strawberries and the crackers that would break a tooth if you weren't careful. My favorite though were the different fruit/nut cakes. I would trade for them all day long. This was in the mid 80's.

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20mm gunbunny August 4, 2013 at 11:01 am

I'd take my bouillon packet and make soup in my canteen coup out of all the freeze dried crap with some sorta whatever meat , heated over the exhaust port of the vehicle heater. Hot sauce done , it was delicious. Mixing c-rats and Mre's.

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Bill Seale August 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm

absolutely….did not need no stinking heat pouch thingy. Just heat it up while performing maintenance on the vehicle. Ha. We made something one time…let's just say it tasted better than it looked and it did not taste all that good…hot sauce could not save it. But we ate it anyway.

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Anthony Davis August 4, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I think anything you can put in a can (canned food) could be put in a pouch. Anything Chef Boyardee or Campbell's soups. Even Uncle Bens Rice. I am sure they can make a form of these or contact the manufacturer. The shelf life of most of these is roughly two years or more! somebody is making money somewhere, and it is a shame this is what dictates what troops eat. What you eat at home is what we would love to have in the field.

When I was in the Marines we used the metal that held the canteen to put several meals in and make a type of soup. I believe they no longer have those style of canteens.

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Old Salt August 6, 2013 at 11:54 am

When I returned to the military, via the National Guard, in the 1970s – 80s, we were still getting C-rats left over from WW II and Korea. The government doesn't want a shelf life of only two years. It wants more like two decades or more. But then, there were no "modern sensibilities": we got cigarettes in each box, too. Get yourself shot, get yourself blown up, get some lingering foreign disease, but for God's sake don't offend anyone with second-hand smoke. War maybe hell, but the Gub'mint can make it worse by trying to make it politically correct as well.

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orly? August 6, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Thought cigarettes made you sniper bait.

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Riceball August 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm

When were you in? When I was back in the 90s we were still being issued metal canteen cups to go with our plastic canteens. Of course now a days with Camelbaks being more popular & common I'm not even sure that the Corps even issues canteens anymore, much less canteen cups.

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Den August 4, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Spam 'singles' are great with ketchup or bbq sauce.

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Moose August 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Can't they subcontract MRE pizza to Dominos's? Only pizza in the world that tastes better cold and 3 days old than it odes fresh.

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Old Salt August 6, 2013 at 11:56 am

Maybe they could even deliver.

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Marine Mama August 4, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Announce the idea of MRE development to the public sector and you will have instant competition to supply the most nutritiously delicious food, produced by REAL food experts, for our troops utilizing the least amount of tax payers bucks. Ditch the over-charging government agencies serving up the current slop and let McDonalds, Taco Bell, Papa John's, Chick fil A, etc, compete for the troops appetites and palates!

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AbnPfdr1136InfDet August 5, 2013 at 2:25 am

Good(?) memories of the ham & chicken loaf…..the dehydrated beef patty was good….the oatmeal bar was a decent desert.

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Mick August 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm

They should really just start giving us what most of the joes are going out and buying on their own dime anyway: beef jerky, trail mix, cans of tuna and crackers.

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M. Amado August 5, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Pizza MRE's are already out and have been out..? I don't get the purpose of this article. Some of these guys are right. We wont have the funding to pay anyways this is just Mil Times filler. But makes me hungry…

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Clovis August 5, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Food in little green cans, a can opener that read "Greene 1951", two chiclets gum in cellophane, a four pack of very dry Pell Mell cigarettes and an OD green pack of matches. Looking back, life was good even when it rained.

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Rick O'Connell August 6, 2013 at 6:39 pm

I remember the Pall Malls tasted like the chicklets.

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JCN August 6, 2013 at 1:46 am

Nothing beats hm & egg c-rats with a little tabasco sauce.

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John August 6, 2013 at 1:46 am

Excuse me, ham & eggs!!!!

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John August 7, 2013 at 8:36 am

Ya, ham & eggs. What would you prefer, a lobster dinner?

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ColdWarVet75 August 7, 2013 at 7:17 am

Urrraggghhhh actually this was the only c rat I liked. Tabasco helped me many a day.

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ronald45 August 6, 2013 at 5:15 am

You know they can't even produce the stable American faire, like bologna and cheese sandwich, or hamburger and they want to try "exotic" meals like vegetable lasagna and Jamaican porkchop???

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Yvettes Sherpa August 6, 2013 at 8:41 am

Don't forget the five fingers of death. lol I loved the dried strawberries just eatting it like a cracker. Pure sugar!!!

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Douglas M. Waggoner August 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I issue a challenge to the creators and designers of MREs. Eat only those for one month.

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Infidel4LIFE August 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Bet ya they would have the runs for 2 weeks. Or more?

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Brian August 6, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Who remembers Chicken a la King? Wow, that was nasty! This was back when you could barely open the MRE sack! And it came with no treats or candies too like the others did. There was maybe a cracker, a tube of peanut butter, a fiberglass fruit salad bar and a packet of coffee. When Supply issued new MREs, Chicken a la King was always the one the troops left in the box.

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Rick O'Connell August 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I remember eating a cold can of beef stew, mistook a big blob of grease for a potato very nasty. Had K rat beer dated 1948, green can tasted good in 1970, but you had to be there.

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ColdWarVet75 August 7, 2013 at 7:15 am

Unless you ate C rats ……stop complaining. Not only did they plug you up, they were nearly all grease and they weighed a ton to hump.

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Greg McCool August 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm

OMG Pork Chowmain was the best dinner ever besides Beans and Beatballs. Nothing like a Ham& Cheese omlett with a cheese melted into it and a Hot Chochlet with Cofee and a cereal bar for breakfast!! Ahhhhh the good old days, gone but not forgotten. I hope that these meals just keep getting better for these soldiers. They desaerve it!!

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The Old Man August 7, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Ah yes…ham and lima beans…beans and mother f**ckers!

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Purpleheartpark August 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

. We used to get SP Packs with our C-Rations. Inside was sun tan lotion, Water purification pills, Cartons of Camels, Hershey's Tropical Candy Bars and everybody's favorite Spark Plug Chewing Tobacco. The hardest block of Chewing Tobacco to have ever been produced.

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Coco2155 August 13, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Did that article really say it gets heated to 240 degrees in the pouches to kill the germs???? I have only seen 3 or 4 times when the heater supplied was able to heat everything in the bag hot enough to eat.. We useed little camp stoves and made MRE"toys" with the heaters.

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Riceball August 14, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I think that they meant that they were PRE-heated to 240 degrees to kill the germs and not that the MRE heaters were actually capable of heating MREs up to 240.

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tongun6 December 11, 2013 at 11:13 pm

still taste like shit!

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