Silly story for Saturday

Roamy here. XBrad has previously posted several times on MRE’s. So here’s my story on my first MRE.

I was co-opping at NASA and living in a boardinghouse. I was supposed to share an apartment with another co-op student, but she backed out less than an hour before we were supposed to sign the rental agreement, and I had to scramble to find a place to live. The boardinghouse wasn’t too bad – the landlady was a divorcee with three grown kids and two cats. My only complaints were that she limited how long I could be on the phone (okay, I talk a lot), and she heated the house with a couple of kerosene heaters rather than the central heating system in the wintertime. I had run of the kitchen, a cheap place to sleep, and company in the evenings.

Speaking of run of the kitchen, she had one refrigerator for her food and another for the boarders. Reasonable enough. Most of the time I lived there, there was only one other boarder (hi Bill!), and he didn’t cook much. I cooked for myself all the time, as cheaply as possible, because I was trying to save enough money for the next college tuition payment. I used to make a chicken, rice, and peas casserole (like arroz con pollo but without the pimento) that was less than $4 to make and would last for 4 meals, sometimes 5. Meat, starch, veggie, glass of milk, got it covered. No food pyramid here.

One of the landlady’s sons was serving in the Army at the time and came home for a week. He knew that one fridge was his mom’s but mixed up which one. He saw my chicken and rice casserole and devoured the whole thing. Holy cow, you ate my dinner for the next 3 nights! Because he was just as broke as I was, he offered me a MRE as a replacement. It was a chicken a la king MRE. Yes, I ate it. I can just imagine XBrad shuddering at that. IIRC, it wasn’t that bad, but I can certainly understand how much better a home-cooked meal would be.

13 thoughts on “Silly story for Saturday”

  1. Lol. The coveted Jalapeno (Ja-lop-eno) cheese! I had a CO that once asked to trade for mine. I told him I wanted it =P
    All he said was, “Fine! Be that way!”

  2. Brad, you whine too much. I grew up with C-rats and loved ’em. ham -n- eggs, ham -n- Lima Beans, yummy! Ate the early MREs as well. Chicken Load, Ham Load, Turkey loaf, all the same to me. It all went down smooth. I was also able to trade for pretty good stuff as well.

    I ate well. Can’t speak for the others 🙂

  3. I was blessed with a sergeant who always opened the case of C-Rats upside down so troops wouldn’t know what they were getting to minimize complaints. What the troops weren’t aware of was that he knew exactly where each meal was located in the case and when he grabbed his and mine we never got the bobby prize. But even Ham’n’Mothers were palatable with enough Tabasco.

    On the other hand, I never could develop much of a taste for MREs. The troops called them “Meals Rejected by Ethiopians.” And they required water, and for an infantryman water is precious. When you have to carry everything on your back you quickly learn how little water you can carry, and how important it is.

    1. We always opened the C-Rats upside down. You then entered the lottery and took what you got, and tried to trade for what you didn’t.

      The water requirement was the one thing I did notice when the TNARNG started getting MREs. I can understand the label “Meals Refusing To Exit.” After the first one I drank water like a fish and never had any trouble getting them out the other end. Driving tghe Company COs tank, I never got that far away from a water buffalo. After we went to the Division ’86 organization and was reassigned, I kept a 2 liter drink bottle with me, and never passed up an opportunity to fill that and my canteen. I may have been forced to get something else if we had been activated, but I would have done what I needed to do. If you’re a “Leg” however, there isn’t much to be done. I really feel for the guys in the AFG and Iraq.

      Still, I’d probably do all I could to have at least a gallon of water with me when I went over the wire. At 8 lb/gallon, it is heavy stuff.

    2. Yeah. Funny how they all seemed to taste the same if you didn’t heat them up using the “hand warmer” =)

  4. When I was stationed in Germany, I was required to keep emergency rations on hand for the wife and kids. We kept a case of C-rations under the bed until they were within a month or two of expiration. Then I fed them to the Cub Scouts when I took them hiking. All of the boys loved them.

    Go figure.

    1. My father ran a DFAC for the Air Force at Echterdingen which was the air field for Patch Barracks and EUCOM (funny place – the AF ran the ground organization for the base, and almost all the aircraft were Army. The biggest unit was a Battalion of Mohawks). They had to put a certain amount of C-rats on teh chow line. No one ate them, so they just put a token amount on the line and let eople take the rest home.

      Like Joe, we kept C-rats at home as our bug out food. If Ivan decided he wanted to sample the wares at Oktoberfest, my mother was supposed to grab us, the food, clothes and what sleep gear we had and run for Spain. Some of us were supposed to go to France. I can’t remember if we were supposed to go to Rota (Navy base) or Torrejon at Madrid. Had that happened, I doubt we would have seen my father again.

      Anyway, we also camped at Chiemsee (we had a campground on the west side of the Autobahn, which was away from the lake. It was a bunch cheaper than staying in the hotel, and we were able to stay the week and bum around doing neat things at the lake and down in Berchtesgaden as well. We made the obligatory trip to the Eagles Nest and Obersalzburg.

      Anyway, our main eats (for my brothers and I) were the C-rats my father couldn’t give away. A buddy from the same housing area we lived at came down at the same time one year, and he joined in our military repast. He didn’t like Ham and Lima beans, which was more for me. 🙂

  5. QM, I lived on Patch Barracks for two years when I was a kid: 76 to 78. Great place to be, although the quarters were cramped.

  6. MRE: “Meals Ready to Eat”. Three lies for the price of one . . . .

    You neglected to mention the Ramen noodles.

    (and the casserole wasn’t bad).


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