The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

August 20, 2013

How the armed forces fix their meals in the field

MADISON COUNTY — Have you ever wondered how the armed forces fix their meals in the field.

I thought I would devote some time to write about how we feed the military folks, especially the ones in a combat zone. Being a spouse of a retired military man, I have seen firsthand some of these meals.

Some of the prepackage meals are called MREs which stands for Meals Ready to Eat. These are prepackage meals that have a built in heater that when water is added causes a chemical reaction in the heating part of the packages to warm the meal. I have had one, and they were quite good for the items that were included.

In researching some of the ways the troops themselves deal with their meals, I have found some interesting ideas I thought you might like to know.

Ramen a la cheesy summer sausage

Ramen noodles. What would we do without your cheaper-by-the-dozen, foil-packaged goodness?

If you haven’t enjoyed a warm canteen cup of these noodles on a cold night, or morning, in the field, you haven’t lived. But there is always room for improvement. Here is a recipe that is a favorite among the troops.

In a canteen cup, cook one package of ramen noodles with some thinly sliced summer sausage or beef jerky works just as well. You may want to rehydrate the beef jerky for a while first and then add the noodles.

Either way, after boiling the noodles for three minutes, add some MRE cheese spread and dig in. If you are at home, you will not have access to an MRE, so you could use the cheese you have on hand. For a thicker blend, add some crackers.

Sometimes necessity becomes the mother of invention when a Marine needed to keep alert through an all-nighter in a combat zone. He mixed up his own high-octane caffeine cocktail. He put 10 Folgers coffee packets and two cocoa powders and a couple of creamers in one of those hugh water bottles they gave out in Iraq. That kept him up all night for sure. Such a concoction would keep me up for a week!

One of the interesting stories I found was how military people would heat up bread. Grab a packet of margarine or any light oil-which would typically stay stable in the field for weeks before going rancid. Give the bread a good coating, wrap in tin foil and stick them on your Humvee engine block after a good drive. Five minutes later, you’ll have proper crispy toast or breadsticks.

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