An Acronym Adventure!

Big excitement at work yesterday!!

My boss used to be in the Army, and he ordered a bunch of MREs (Meal, Ready-To-Eat) to send to the troops. An extra box was sitting around in the office, so clearly a few of us decided to grab one to sample as part of lunch. Heh.

“Chili with Beans” seemed like the least scary option. ;)


From Wikipedia:

The MRE is a self-contained, individual field ration in lightweight packaging bought by the United States military for its service members for use in combat or other field conditions where organized food facilities are not available. Each meal provides about 1,200 calories and they have a shelf life of three years (depending on storage conditions).

They also have to be able to withstand parachute drops from up to 1,200 feet. No big deal ;)

We eagerly ripped open the package. Look at all this stuff! Crackers, PB, blackberry jam, Mexican style corn, a weird chocolate milkshake thing, twizzlers, and finally: the advertised chili with beans!



Guys out in the field need lots of fuel :)

We decided to focus cooking efforts on the chili. Yikes… lots of ingredients (and salt)! Guess they’ve got to preserve it for three years somehow…



My coworker was the designated cooker since I was scared of the intense directions ;) To cook an MRE, you apparently take off the cardboard casing and put the inner pouch into another chemical pouch, to which you add some water. This starts some sort of chemical reaction which heats the food (and smells really bad… oops! guess you’re supposed to do this outside… haha). I was a little worried we might set something on fire when it started smoking ;) I always wondered how these things were cooked!


Fifteen minutes later, and…!    021

We have chili!!! It actually wasn’t too bad, either! I’m sure this would be AMAZING if I were out in a freezing cold tent after hiking around all day. My coworker actually loved it and after I tried a few bites, he devoured the rest of it, along with a large portion of the rest of the MRE! He’s now trying to get more to eat all the time. Lol.

The only other thing I tried was a taste of the chocolate milkshake, which was disgusting, BLECH!! SO sweet — it tasted like icing or something, but not in a good way. Not even my coworker liked it. :)

What a fun experiment!

I continued lunch more normally with a packed spinach salad (with peppers, avocado, cucumber, and feta) from home (with balsamic vinaigrette in a mini ziplock… this is key! no sogginess here!)


And a huge pear :)


I also had a PB&J Larabar… mmm my favorite!

Now I’m watching the snow fall outside. Seriously, D.C., WTF!!!!! It is NOT supposed to snow this much here! I went to the grocery store after class tonight and everyone and their mom was there stocking up.

Could it be the DC snowpocalypse part 2??!? Will I have to bust out my super hot snow outfit and go sledding with the neighbor’s kids again??!!? Stay tuned to find out… :)


  1. 1

    lol– funny stuff. I gotta say, that pic doesn’t look too appetizing :-)

  2. 2

    wow – what an experience indeed!
    Love the idea of keeping your dressing ina zip lock bag – brilliant!!

  3. 3

    Oooh the plastic bag is a smart trick! I keep a bottle of balsamic vinegar in my desk at my office so I can be prepared :)

  4. 4

    Ugggh I know too well on how those MRE taste since I was in the army for about 4.5 years. One of my favorite meals was the hamburger and also beef terijaki. However I would always just try to find the MREs with M&Ms in it and just eat those. Another thing we use to do is make “ranger stew”. It was hot chocolate mix, mixed with water and peanut butter. Then we would smear it on crackers or crumble the crackers in it (sorry can’t remember all the details because I have been out since late 2003).

    Oh my gosh that sounds… interesting, haha! My other coworker used to be in the Army too and was saying how they used to mix the included instant coffee grinds into basically whatever entree they had! So funny. -Anne

  5. 5

    LOVE the MRE! When I was little I used to be obsessed with the “astronaut food” sold at air & space museums…freeze dried ice cream and what not. I would love to mess around with a MRE :)

    OMG!! I was obsessed with the freeze dried ice cream, too! Must try to find that again ;) I’m still fascinated by how they do that… -Anne

  6. 6

    If you are looking for vegetarian food that is shelf stable but tastes good you might want to check out entrees by Tasty Bite ( They make Indian and Thai food and are packaged in the same tough style of packaging as MREs. Most are vegetarian or vegan, kosher and gluten free. The spices are authentic and full of flavor.

    The biggest drawback is their sodium levels. Like you said they have to preserve it somehow and salt is probably better then other chemicals. All of the entrees are around 200 to 300 calories which is a bit low to be an entire meal. Having two of them could make the sodium level an issue.

    You can find some of the varieties at Whole Foods, Wegmans, and many other grocery stores. My favorite so far is the Bombay Potatoes.

    How interesting, thanks for the tip! I don’t normally have a need for shelf stable meals, but these sound like a good option for those do — I bet they’d be great for a camping trip! :) -Anne

  7. 7

    I’ve eaten these MRE’s before after a hurricane or two down here in South Florida. Let’s just say there were a few incidents that made me glad I “prepared” them outdoors instead of inside with the smoke alarm, haha.

    Lol yeah that was definitely almost us on Monday ;) -Anne

  8. 8

    MRE’s are scary. My hubby is army so he’s had his fair share of them. He says that the vegetarian ones are the best tasting and least scary. This was an interesting experience I bet.

  9. 9

    MRE chili looks a little scary! How does the milkshake keep from spoiling?

    It was in powdered form and had lots of scary stuff in it… -Anne

  10. 10

    I love that there are peanut butter packets in there. Gotta give our guys on the field their peanut butter ;-)

  11. 11

    wow, that’s intense! it’s good to know it tastes pretty decent though, but it’s no wonder those guys miss good home cooking :)

  12. 12

    Oh wow what an experience! I have to say that the chili looks pretty yucky though… but I guess if you were in some situations you would be grateful for it! Poor guys!

  13. 13

    When I was a kid we had those MREs as school lunches for a bit after a big hurricane. I always loved the chemical cooking process, like a tasty science experiment! Ours never had as many items as that one though. Do you know how your boss went about purchasing them for the troops?

    Yeah it really was like a fun science experiment! :) I have no idea where he got them – he’s still really connected in the Army world, though. -Anne

  14. 14

    Hmmm, that chili sounds quite interesting but glad it turned out to be tasty.

    Anne, I wanted to let you know that I am officially working on a Blogger Meet up for The Cherry Blossom Race in April. I was thinking of doing a lunch on Saturday, April 9th. I wanted to tell you now because I would LOVE if you could join. Also, if you have any ideas on good places to eat a nice lunch, I would be so grateful to your experienced opinion. I have a few people who are on board, but hopefully there will be a nice turn out. Let me know what you think and if you are available! :)

    Take care hun!

  15. 15

    Bahaha that is hilarious. I wish I worked in a workplace like that :)

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