I’m having to do some research for a story on MREs, which stands officially for Meals Ready-to-Eat, or as they called it when I was in “Meals Rejected by Everyone.” The ones I had during Desert Storm are in the second to last rows of this page. We often had lunch as an MRE, though when I was at Log Base Alpha, the food was so bad at the mess hall that we went to MREs three times a day. That’s saying a lot! The MREs were not that good. They tended to be a little dry, probably from the processing, and didn’t have a lot of flavor. A list from the site of what we ate:
- Pork with Rice in BBQ Sauce – Meh
- Corned Beef Hash – I always tried to pass on this one. I didn’t like corned beef to start with, and adding the military version — no, so no.
- Chicken Stew – Most of the soldiers didn’t like this one, but I did, so I was happy to take what someone else didn’t want.
- Omelet with Ham – Absolutely no one wanted this one. The eggs had a very strange, unegg-like consistency.
- Spaghetti with Meat and Sauce – This one was pretty popular.
- Chicken Ala King – Again, another one most people didn’t like, but I did.
- Beef Stew – Meh
- Ham Slice – Meh
- Meatballs, Beef and Rice, in Tom. Sauce – The sauce had a metallic taste to it.
- Tuna with Noodles – Meh
- Chicken and Rice – Again another one most people didn’t like, but I did.
- Escalloped Potatoes with Ham – Ranks with the eggs.
We also got very creative with all the ingredients. Boxes would be filled with parts of meals people didn’t want. Hot sauce always went fast (to hide the flavor the meals, of course), but I could always find cheese or peanut butter. I even bought some nacho cheese dip from the little shoppet and used that in most of the meals. Cheese made a lot of them more palatable! Except for the Omelet with Ham. Nothing could make that better.
I think the army was not prepared for the fact the meals were really not very good. They were okay if you had them for a few days out in the field, but on a regular basis, it was pretty bad for morale. After Desert Storm, they revamped the menus, and have continued to make updates. I believe now they even have vegetarian options.