the MREs

Usually shelf-stable, always for survival. Military MREs, food for hiking.


belarusian mre

  Gift from my uncle on Christmas of 2021. I didn't weigh it at the time, sadly.

- PORRIDGE: The main course. Similar to corned beef hash, but with grain instead of hash. I ended up cooking it like corned beef hash, in a pan. Pretty good.
- MYSTERY PATE: The top one in the image, not really sure what it's made of. Had an odd taste that I suspect was iron. Kept flipping between liking it and not liking it while eating it.
- TURKEY LIVER PATE: It tastes like vienna sausages. I like it.
- CRACKERS: I wouldn't say they were crackers, per say... more like puffed rice sheets. That's what the texture made me think, at least. Pretty good, though. They were much more pale than the packaging suggests.
- RASPBERRY BISCUITS: Shortbread cookies with a hint of raspberry. Yum.
- MUESLI BAR: The flax seeds were kind of overpowering, but the fruits still came through. Pleasant.
- CHOCOLATE WAFER BAR: Not much to say. It's what you would expect. Nice and light.
- TOFFEE? BAR - I thought this was going to be bog standard chocolate. Nope. I broke off a piece and it crumbled. I wouldn't call it toffee, because to me, toffee is hard. That's what the menu says, though. Has a kind of caramel flavor to it, I think? Very confusing, but still good.
- PEANUTS: Just salted peanuts. The bag was pretty big, I thought.
- HARD CANDIES: I'm pretty sure it was the dark blue one that was mint flavored. The other one... I have no idea what flavor it was supposed to be. The most legible thing I could get off the packaging with Google Translate was "flying lollipop", and that just confused me more. The yellowish-green one has a pear on the wrapper but I can't really say the flavor made me think of pears.
- COFFEE: Standard Nescafe instant coffee affair. Not a big fan, but the condensed milk helped.
- SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK: Shoutout to this stuff, dude. You get a big old tube of it which you would be fucking insane to use only on this ration. I've been using it in coffee and tea day to day. It's nice. I love that this is in here.
- JELLY DRINKS: I thought these were tea at first. One is raspberry flavor, the other is mixed berries. Very odd to drink(eat?) and they liked to hang out on the inside of whatever I made them in. I'd say they were good, though.
- POCKET STOVE: I know this isn't a food item, but it fucking sucks. Trying to use it on one of the porridge cans was HELL. Fuck this thing.

french individual reheatable ration

  Gift from Christmas of 2023. This is full of regular food that I'm sure you could find at a store in France if you looked hard enough. Unmolested, it weighs about 3.5 pounds. It does not come with any utensils. The fifth picture is showing how the tin handle works, it wouldn't actually work in that orientation but I had to tape it there to get a good shot.

- PORK CHEEK WITH RAVIOLIS: A very odd taste for my palette. I don't know what they put in the ravioli but it's got a flavor that's between savory and sour. Still good, just weird.
- GIZZARDS AND QUINOA SALAD: This is much better. Soft quinoa grains and assorted vegetables with chicken gizzards. Could have used the salt and pepper but was fine without. A little annoying to heat up the can and also open it, though.
- MUESLI: Strong taste of whey powder, but easy to make and filling. Overall a satsifying breakfast.
- TUNA IN PICKLED SAUCE: Very good, especially on the biscuits. It's a puck of processed tuna in a pickled tomato-based sauce. Extremely flavorful and filling. This might be my favorite component. If the biscuits were a more traditional club cracker, something with more butter, then I think it wouldn't be such a good combination.
- SOUP: Soup. Had mushy noodles that were kinda sticky. It's alright.
- FONDUE: Fondue in a ration. It's just a can of fondue. Goes great on the salted biscuits. I'm sure you could use it in some esoteric way, such as in one of the canned mains, but I decided not to.
- APRICOT JAM: Very nice flavor. Went very well on either the chocolate or cereal biscuits. Had some on graham crackers to let the biscuits last a little longer, also good.
- CHOCOLATE: An unsweet dark chocolate. 65% cocao. Good but nothing special.
- BISCUITS: 3 types of these. The chocolate ones are very nice, they have little bits of chocolate in them as well as chocolate in the dough. The cereal ones are also quite nice. The salty ones are the same texture as the others, firm with a nice snap, which is slightly odd to me. On their own they're nothing special.
- CEREAL BAR: This one is odd. It says it's apricot flavor but I don't really taste it... it reminds me of one of those ship ration bars but commercialized and marketed towards exercise. It's got something holding it together as well, something that turns it chewy instead of crumbly. It's a pretty small bar so you're done with it in two bites.
- NOUGAT WITH FRUIT: Way too firm, have to gnaw on it like it's raw meat or something. Mouth gets tired chewing it, but it tastes good and the fruit chunks are flavorful. This is the only bar that should be this size, any larger and it'd be like chewing a whole pack of gum.
- FRUIT JELLY BAR: Much less firm than the nougat, a thin layer of sugar surrounds it and adds crunchy texture. A fairly nice raspberry flavor. Yum.
- COMBAT FUEL BAR: A cereal bar with chocolate and coffee. Soft and tastes mostly of chocolate with a strong coffee aftertaste.
- COFFEE: I don't think instant coffee will ever get away from that distinctive, intense bitterness, but this one isn't too bad. Obviously the thing to do with it, as with all rations that have coffee and cocoa drink mix, is to put them together. In this case a little sugar helps. If I may go off on a tangent, I respect rations that just give you 3-in-1 instant coffee or a mocha style powder, because what are you gonna do, drink the things seperate?
- MINT TEA: A simple mint tea that doesn't need any sweeteners to be enjoyable.
- BLACK TEA: Easy, simple, decent.
- SPORT DRINK: Mango tea flavor. Tastes interesting, leaves a film on stuff. More powder than I'd expect from a ration beverage base. Not bad.
- MISC: The pocket stove is nice, it's made of a thicker material than the Belerusian one and is more stable in general. The tuna can shape of the mains helps. Works well. No utensils, as mentioned above. The can handle thing(last picture) is pretty smart. Matches work well to light the fuel tablets. Has nice, thick toothpicks.

dutch operational ration

  Gift from Christmas of 2023. This thing is fucking huge! It weighs almost 4.5 pounds and has a lot of food in it. I think on its own it could stretch to almost 3 days, but if you had food to compliment it, it could easily go for 5 or more. I tried very hard to keep everything in frame but I gave up. This ration has a lot of brands from a lot of places, some of them I recognize.

- CHICKEN CURRY WITH POTATO: I haven't had curry before. Good taste and texture with straight up shredded chicken with mini-corn and other vegetables. Not good for shelf stability(these are only good for 3 years) but it's a very nice meal. Made me feel a little sweaty after eating it, though. - POTATOES GREEN BEANS AND MEATBALLS: These Danish fellas are eating well on patrol. Slipping the Italian herbs into this along with the salt and pepper made this a very hearty and enjoyable main. You can't go wrong with meatballs in my opinion. - RICE PUDDING WITH CINNAMON: Good! I lost track of when I added the water but I think it was over 5 minutes I let it sit, still had some crunchyness to it. I don't know if that's intentional, like if they put puffy rice in it or not, but it was good. Tasty apple chunks and light cinnamon flavor throughout.
- MEUSLI POPCORN: Uhh... yea it tastes kinda like popcorn... but with powdered milk and chcolate bits. Why did they make this? It's not bad but it's a weird combination of wet oat texture, buttered popcorn flavor, and bits of chocolate. Eh.
- APPLE TURNOVER: Made by Bridgford, who has a hand in a lot of MRE development, especially bread items; their items can be found commercially and in the current issue US MREs. The turnover itself is nice, with cinnamon bits in the bread and chunks of apple on the inside. Would be good for breakfast or just to eat while walking.
- BEEF JERKY: Commercial beef jerky from the UK. A little stringy in places but good, generally. Might have gone well in one of the mains.
- PEANTUS: Product of Thailand. Unsalted and roasted peanuts, nothing special.
- FARMHOUSE PATE: A nice liver pate, goes great on the wholegrain biscuits. Sticks to the spoon a bit, though.
- STROOP SPREAD: A tart fruit spread, very nice on the wholegrain or fruit biscuits, especially in combination with the hazlenut spread.
- HAZLENUT SPREAD: What else would you use this for other than a fruit biscuit PB&J? It likes to squirt out the sides so it can get a little messy, but at least it's a camouflage color. On its own it's still nice, but when life gives you a spreadable fruit product, a nut spread, and any bread product, you make a sandwich. That's just how it works.
- WHOLEGRAIN BISCUIT: 3 of these, all individually wrapped in connected packages for some reason. They are very rough crackers, but they are good.
- FRUIT BISCUIT: Those biscuits do be having fruit in them. A firm but crunchy biscuit with small, chewy fruit pieces that you can't tell are there if you don't pay attention. Also shortening. Very good, could easily eat them all plain.
- BEEF SOUP: A slightly odd tasting beef bullion with a sprinkling of tiny, thin noodles inside that get all mushy. It's alright.
- VEGETABLE BROTH: Salty ambiguous vegetable soup with some carrot bits. I can imagine it'd suck very badly cold. I don't have much to say about it.
- JELLY BEANS: Why are there jelly beans? They taste alright but I don't know why you'd add a handful of jelly beans to a ration. In my eyes they'd just make noise(they were not vaccuum sealed in the bag) and be the most likely component to drop while eating.
- CHOCOLATE: 50% cocoa "dark" chocolate. A nice balance between earthy cocoa flavor and sweet vanilla. Good bar, should suit most people's tastes.
-ISOTONIC DRINKING POWDERS: You get 2 of each flavor: orange, grapefruit, and exotic. The orange one has a very natural smell to it and tastes kind of like Tang mixed with OJ. The grapefruit has a bit of an off, chemical taste to it but overall smells and tastes almost exactly like grapefruit juice. The exotic flavor is... mango, and banana? I think. I'm not sure and the ingredients just say 'flavorings' but it tastes good. What a huge amount of isotonic beverages. It adds up to 1.5 L of fluids and lots of plastic when you're done, as the bags are big enough to drink out of. Quite a different approach to the US MRE that just gives you one that's 500 mL(iirc).
- COFFEE: I really like how they divided up the portions of the coffee. You get 3 coffees, 1 creamer, and 5 sugars, and with the cocoa powder, you can make a variety of caffinated beverages. This is the typical coffee sugar creamer set in an MRE taken to a point it's actually got a reason to be divided. The coffee itself is good for instant, which will never compare to real drip coffee, but it is what it is. The cocoa drink mix is rich and did not require sugar when mixing with one of the coffee tubes.
- TEAS: You get 3. The black and green teas are nice, nothing special though. The tea with lemon has a bitter aftertaste. It's hard to drink. Maybe that's why they give you the jelly beans, to make up for this. Seriously, this stuff is no good. Maybe I let it steep for too long? It's not an old ration so it wouldn't be deterioration.
- MISC: The spoon seems to have recycled material in it or something. The toothpicks are thin and break easily when wet. The gum is sugar-free but has decent artificial flavors.

unrecorded rations

  List of rations I've experienced but haven't bothered to/haven't been able to take pictures of.

- US MRE: Ubiquitous in the US, nostalgic for me. I haven't had one in a while. The earliest I've had were around 90s vintage I think(and I had them 2010+/-3 years iirc). Newest were probably 2021. Get some for yourself, not like they're rare in any capacity.
- US MCW: Meal, Cold Weather. These share a lot of parts with MREs but usually come with Mountain House freeze-dried mains and feature no FRH, because you will be melting snow rather than purifying water. I've had the 2018-2022 menus 2, 6, and 7. That mocha bar in menu 2 kicks ass. They were all very nice.
- US HDR: Humanitarian Daily Ration, the pink bags. These were not made for people in first world countries. The 2 mains are bean heavy and fortified with maltodextrin, made specifically to fill stomachs. The pudding and cookies these come with are awesome, though. I can't really compare it to other rations.
- Sopakco RSM: (Reduced Sodium) Meal, Individual. Civillian MRE, does not keep well. Something infuses itself into all the items and makes them taste weird, the Poptarts dry out, and the grape jelly takes a very odd consistency that you can't get it back from. Don't get these if they're free.
- Nex-xos XMRE Blueline: These are commercial MREs marketed towards medical use and emergency preparedness. The company seems to pack most of the components, but the mains are only distributed by them. They're individual meals and come with 1 main, 1 drink, and 2-3 other food components. The FRH they come with is very effective; it's made by Nex-xos and they seem to sell it to other companies. It's fast and doesn't spew flammable gas like the US MRE ones. One of the best choices for actual "prepping" MREs, in my opinion.
- Ukranian Outdoors MRE: Forgot the name of it, it was gifted to me before the Ukraine stuff really kicked off and eaten quite promptly. I can't recall many of the components, but I did receive, at the same time, some seperate bags of soup packs from the same type of ration. They're the only thing left related to it. I can recall that the components were good, but that some jelly or honey packet had burst inside, making everything sticky.
- Homemade MREs: My uncle packed MREs for emergencies. Sadly, being packed for emergencies, I can't get my grubby mitts on them. If the power goes out and we crack them open, I'll try to keep some charge on my phone to take pictures. Sorry if they turn out bad with candle-light, the LED emergency lights we have don't play well with my phone.
- US MRE Sheet Cake: Soon™️