Rat Packs

Found this page all about the history of US military rations.

The way the rations are described is rather clinical and detached - surely some dopers out there have some more evisceral recollections of military rations?

Anyone care to share?

My experience is limited to modern-ish MREs. Well, actually the last one I had was in 1996, and it was made in 1991 I think (no kidding, they keep for a long time). People gripe about them sometimes, but I gotta tell you, they’re pretty damned yummy. I’m reasonably sure a combat guy in any WWII theatre would have thought he was dining high if he had one. The Cheeze-omlette, however, is…memorable. There’s just no easy way to eat a cold omlette, let alone one that has been gelled into the shape of a foil envelope. Hard to do.

T-Rations also are not bad. Again, however, the egg-block is … odd. It’s, well, a large block of scrambled egg. And it has a bit of a green cast to it which is no doubt the result of the canning process. But again, if you’ve been in the field for a week and more, it’s fine fare. But not nearly as good as the BBQ pork MRE. I’ve seen a guy get a bloody nose for trying to steal one from his buddy. Fuckin’ animals…

Early MREs were not nearly as good as what came later. I got out in 1990 and we were just starting to see improvements. The Ham and Chicken Loaf should never be mentioned again. I get sick just thinking about it. The Beans and Franfurters were pretty bad, too. The only time I ever threw up on a helicopter flight was right after I finished a B&F MRE. Coincidence? I think not. Other entrees were more or less OK but some people hated some of them.
OTOH, most of the sides and desserts were OK, if not pretty damn good, though.

I got out in 92, and yes, the early MREs were, um. pretty hit and miss. I liked the Chicken ala King, although noone else did. They had a dehydrated pork patty that was just flat out inedible dry or hydrated. Hydrated it was a lot like a pork flavored sponge. Dry it was like pork flavored styrofoam.
We did have some of the old C-rats in cans when I was in college, and I have to say they had the BEST john Wayne bars. You could sell’em for good money, although I was greedy enough that I always kept’em. However the entrees? Ugh. Discs of meat, slightly green and covered in gelatin. Shudder…

mmmmmmm…pork flavoured sponge. Better than sponge flavoured pork, I guess.

There’s the green tinge again. Odd.

Modern MREs are that bad. I always have a few in the truck as emergency rations, and I eat the old ones when they get cycled every year or so. Not restaurant cooking, but for field rats, not bad at all. I prefer Canadian IMPs, though. Don’t know why. :smiley:

I served during the transitional phase from c-rations to the MRE’s, so I had both. C-rations = canned rations. They were just typical canned goods in olive drab cans, IME. The spaghetti was identical to Chef Boyardee or Franco American, for example. None of them were memorably bad, if that is what you are looking for.
The early MREs were a bit different from the ones they have today, as I understand it. Ours used a fair amount of dehydrated stuff which has been phased out because it required a soldier to carry additional potable water. None of them were particularly bad, either. They were quite similar to commercial “backpacker” food one might have purchased at a camping supplies store.

Pork! The other green meat!

I have friends who were in the military during Desert Storm & Panama, and they keep a small stash on hand for those times when they forgot to go shopping and there’s nothing left in the house to eat. They also usually keep one in their desks at work, just in case. So, they think they’re better than vending machine wheel o’ death food.