Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) from Around the World

by Ranger Man on September 8, 2010

Do you know what I love? I love it when papers like The New York Times publish cool survival style articles. The Times is well written, not fluff like USA Today. I wish some big paper would pay me to write survival stuff.

SHTF writer
- right here -
anyone in the publishing industry
pay me to sit at home and write!

Bah – anyway. The Times just wrote a piece called A Taste of Home in Foil Packets and Powder about the American MRE (and MREs from around the world). I’m not going to rehash the article – read it – not long – good.

Choice quote:

Army Rangers have been taught at least as far back as the Vietnam War how to make Ranger Pudding — roughly, it’s water mixed with cocoa powder, instant coffee, melted chocolate, Tootsie Roll, sugar and coffee creamer. “Combat espresso,” on the other hand, is brutal. The creamer, instant coffee and sugar are poured directly into one’s mouth and then washed down with water.

Those words reminded me of a time when, fresh out of college with a highly marketable English degree, I was waiting tables at a chain restaurant. If I was working a double shift on a Friday or Saturday, around 5pm, beat from working a long day already, I’d make my own drink. I’d chill coffee in the walk-in cooler, mix in a lot of espresso from the bar, pour it over ice in a tall glass, then mix in 2 cocoa powder packets, sugar and cream. Stick a straw in it and I could sip the thing down in under a minute. I called it my “go drink.”

I can see why, in a long battle, you’d want a drink like that. I could run up a mountain after one of those (and still not sleep at night). It was ridiculous. I loved it.

The Times article has a great interactive MRE graphic of various MREs from around the world. Click on the image below to go there. Then click on each MRE to see the contents.

- Ranger Man

BTW: Instant coffee, chocolate and sugar – stock it in your bug-out-bag! You might need to mix your own “go drink.”

Wendy September 8, 2010

And if all other methods fail, the creamer in the MRE packets is flammable ;).

Of course, having been privileged to have partaken of MREs as part of my sustenance as a US Army soldier, I’d rather start stocking up on something else (almost anything else ;) …, but for those who opt for MREs as a staple after TSHTF, don’t forget lots and lots of dried fruit, especially prunes. You’ll need it ;).

Rebel September 8, 2010

Check out this post from the scout on the homemade alternative. http://selousscouts.blogspot.com/2008/04/home-made-mre.html.

BTW – rangerman, I know people who have broken into publishing by sending a stream of articles to the paper, and stopping one day. They invariably get and email wondering what’s happened. A paper wants to see you can *constantly* produce.

Angry Mike September 8, 2010

The military DOES NOT recommend eating MRE’s for more than 21 days without “real” food for at least 14 after that. There IS a reason for this. As Wendy pointed out, you will crap out a cinder block daily for at least a week once you are able to again. It will feel like a cinder block coming out and will clink the bowl like one too. Buying pallets of MRE’s is a great idea if you have enough mouths to feed or will be using them for short term.

As a Master Distributor for MREStar I would not recommend MRE’s as your only source of nutrition. One very simple reason is they have very little nutrition compared to fresh food. They are packed with calories and carbs. They were designed for the military. Soldiers hump around 100+ pounds of junk on their backs in temperature and terrain extremes and burn up massive amounts of calories.

An MRE with a meat dish typically contains 2 oz. of meat and depending on the manufacturer possibly less. This equals a low protein diet. Vitamin contenet is not so stellar either. I would highly recommend a mix of dried foods (rice, beans, etc) with the occasional fish or small game added in addition to MRE’s.

MRE’s certainly have their place in the preppers pantry. They are after all ready to eat so if you are on the move or dont have time to cook or have no other food, have at them. Im with Wendy though, I will try not eat them if I can avoid them. How do they taste? They taste really good if you are really hungry. MREStar happen to taste the best in my opinion “wink wink”. Oh…you can start a fire with the heaters. They…heat at 400+ degrees??? something like that, hot enough to ignite dry tinder, paper, cardboard, even BDU’s if you arent careful. You need to take it out of the wrapper or cut it open and DO NOT touch it with your hands. Its a chemical heater that reacts with water. Think before you play with them. Generation I heaters get hot very fast, Gen II not so fast so they are a little easier to work with.

PS: I too am willing to write in my undies all day on this topic and get PAID for it.

Bubblehead Les September 9, 2010

I also would add Instant Oatmeal. Hate having to start the day on an empty stomach. Just check your expiration dates, and rotate your stock in your B.O.B. a month before it goes and eat it at home after putting in fresh stuff.

Wendy September 10, 2010

Kind of off topic, but you mentioned an interest in blogging for a living – I know you mean specifically about the TEOTWAWKI topic, but until the rest of the world really thinks it’s news, you might find some interesting freelance writing work here or here. Sometimes they want established bloggers to write “key word” pieces – essentially, write a blog post about any topic you want with key words that are links to their products. Not exactly what you’re looking for, but it’s a start ;).

Ranger Man September 10, 2010

Thanks. I used to subscribe to Problogger’s job board, but I hadn’t seen the other site before.

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