Had an MRE for dinner. Not too bad...

It was eight years old, manufactured in 2004 and distributed after Hurricane Katrina. I never used it, and it quickly disappeared into a closet. I came across it yesterday, and my wife and I decided to give it a try. Menu #16 - Cajun Rice, Beans, Sausage.

This was our first MRE experience, and we were rather impressed. The crackers were still good-as-new after eight years, the cheese spread was as artificially tasty as expected, and the Combos knock-offs were good filler. The fiber/protein chocolate bar was a bit dense, but that’s the norm for fiber/protein bars. The drink mix was just sugar and grape flavoring, so no surprises there. The main course had a strange edge to the smell, but we couldn’t swear that wasn’t what it was supposed to smell like, and otherwise it had decent texture, appearance, and flavor.

We’ve got one more to try: #14 Chicken and Noodles.

Wow, those are pretty old! Back in my day, MRE’s were awful. This would have been late 1980’s/early 1990’s US Army. I hear they are much better now than they used to be. Old entrees like “Dehydrated Pork Pattie” were simply inedible.

I’ve had hundreds. Maybe thousands. Meh. They certainly have improved a lot in the last few decades. I ate my first one in 1989. It was from 1985. Dehydrated beef patty. Disgusting. The one I just finished was beef roast with vegetables. Not too bad. And the pound cake is always welcome.

Never has “You are what you eat” sounded more threatening.

Worst one I ever had was the omelet w/ ham.

Favorite was pork chow mein…nobody else liked it, so I could have it pretty much whenever I wanted.

Seems like everybody else loved the chicken with rice, but I could take it or leave it.

I was leaving when the new versions in the tan pouches came out. The few I had were pretty good.

Those dehydrated meat patties were the worst. They were chock full of bone chips, for one thing. Couple that with the fact that you were supposed to re-hydrate them in your canteen cup with warm water…blech.

I would trade packs of cigarettes while out in the field for a different MRE if I got one of those.

The last couple of menu sets have been downright edible. As you can see here, Natwick is working to constantly make MREs something that the troops will actually eat and “enjoy,” rather than dump and starve. We always keep a case or two on hand for earthquakes and eat the cases coming off cycle. They’ve gotten much better since the 90s.

Can ‘civilians’ get these somewhere? I’d just assumed they were accessable only to the military and Red Cross.

ETA: Nevermind, I found some info in the link.

Do you have a preferred online site for buying them?

Major Surplus is close by (relatively) so I can just drive in and not have to pay shipping. But look around eBay for 5-star dealers. You can also buy smaller lots and try them before you buy.

Looking around my classroom, I find a couple of Sopakco meals and a couple of military meals.

A co-worker who was in the National Guard brought a case of MRE’s in to work one time and left them out for anyone who wanted to try them. I ate a few and they weren’t bad. They were at least as good as the food we’d get out of the vending machines anyway.

That place looks awesome, and not too far from me either…

A friend dumped off a bunch of MREs for me in the early 2000s. I even remember one Thanksgiving where I ate a turkey & gravy MRE. I’m not sure what kind of MREs I had, but it did come with a pouch containing something like lye & aluminum that you would add water to so it would heat up, and then you could cook your main dish pouch in it.

All in all, I actually liked all the MREs I had. They were surprisingly edible. That said, I’m also one of those people who doesn’t complain about airline food.

Meals Refusing (to) Exit. Good luck being regular again.

Never had one. But I did just finish a 16-ounce Claxton fruit cake by myself. No, not at one sitting. It took three days. I got it last Xmas, and was planning to wait a full year, but I didn’t make it.

Were hostages involved?

I’ve heard there’s a vegetarian pasta with veg “sausage” bits MRE that is not only palatable, but actually very tasty. As a vegetarian who likes to have some food, water, and other supplies stashed in case of emergency, this is intriguing to me.


You youngsters should try some canned salt pork and hard tack (preferably with weevils), washed down with ale.

Of course, I’m only 36 and haven’t tried those, either (well, the ale I have). Blech!

The current production vegetarian meals are #11-14. eBay has a lot of the vegetarian options available.