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My dad refused to eat anything "powdered" after serving in WWII. His one concession was instant mashed potatoes. During one of my youthful trips to the army/navy surplus store to acquire really cool camping gear, I bought a case of surplus WWII powdered eggs. Seeing as this was in the early '60s, I'm sure the expiration date--if it had one--was long past.

My mom decided to cook up a package. Dad came home and got one whiff before almost collapsing on the floor and assuming a fetal position as he gagged. He ordered the powdered eggs to be disposed of.

After he went to work the next day, mom cooked up the whole batch to give to my poor black & tan pet hound Elmer. Even he wouldn't touch them for two days. He was suspicious of anything new put in his bowl after that.
 

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For us it was Mr E, two a day. After the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, Higher-ups began to pay attention to the troops when we groused about chow. The MREs these days are largely palatable; just stay away from the veggie omelet. Prior to ‘03, we had the standbys of “Jamaican Pork Chop” and the infamous 4 fingers of death (MRE hot dogs). Everything else was okay.
If the command decided we deserved hot chow, we got T-rats (tray rations). Powdered eggs and sausage that we were sure was 82% cardboard filler.

Interesting fact about the shelf life of MREs- Don’t care at all how long they are supposed to last. If you stick them in a shipping container for three weeks during an Iraqi summer, they ain’t right when they come out...
 

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Air Force MRE... but there's also the all you can eat Baskin Robbins ice cream bar, and lobster Fridays.
You hit that one correctly!! ^^^^^^^^
I'll have to ask my kid as to what he's been eating in the Dining Hall when he hasn't been able to get back to his Apt (1/2 Mile from the Main Gates)
 

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Even though I was in the Air Force I spent as much or more time on Army Posts due to being in a helicopter unit assigned to an Army Ranger Battalion. The fried chicken from the in-flight kitchen at Ft. Bragg was very good and no doubt contributed to my quadruple by-pass! The Mongolian BBQ at the Albrook AFS Officers Club in Panama was excellent they weighed your plate to determine how much you paid. There were some other great places to eat at various off-base civilian restaurants as well!
 
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C rations, Ham & Lima beans heated with the heat-tab with the cheese spread mixed in along with the crackers. You'll eat about anything when your down to (2) meals a days. That's the way it was for an extended period of time.
 

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Best meal ever was fish in white wine sauce made by a Navy chef. We were out on an island fixing some things and I guess somebody arranged it.

And while not the best meal ever, I also remember grilling pancakes. We got delayed somehow and in 30 below your hot meal doesn't stay that way for long :)
 

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I met a guy old enough to qualify as "Boomer Generation" in a cold water survival class offered to fishermen. He said the first time he ate lobster was in the Air Force. Enlisted man. Lobster. does that sound right ? I figured he was pulling our legs.
 

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I learned to love SOS poured over eggs on toast. Never could get enough of it at midnight chow.

As for the often touted Navy chow, I found it to be disappointing and second to Air Force chow, at least when it was still prepared by AF cooks. All in all, the real problem I found with all branches of military chow was the repetitiveness. It just got old after a while, no matter how good.
Ahhh, savory (cough, cough) SOS along with some coffee-like substance from those huge urns.

I was young and hungry enough to love it.

Those were the days.

.
 
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I met a guy old enough to qualify as "Boomer Generation" in a cold water survival class offered to fishermen. He said the first time he ate lobster was in the Air Force. Enlisted man. Lobster. does that sound right ? I figured he was pulling our legs.
First time I had lobster was at the NCO club in Mildenhall, it was Maine type cold water lobster and I didn’t care much for it. Now down in Diego the Navy fed us warm water spiny lobster which was much better.
 

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When I was stationed at RAF Alconbury, England we could go on separate rats even if we lived in the barracks. Everyone did that, the chow hall was a lonely place.

We ate many of our meals at the club, lived largely on canned soup and tuna, and sometimes cooked in the barracks using an electric skillet. (Not unlike camping.) Whatever we ate, it somehow paired nicely with Schlitz.

The cold war had its warm moments.
 
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I met a guy old enough to qualify as "Boomer Generation" in a cold water survival class offered to fishermen. He said the first time he ate lobster was in the Air Force. Enlisted man. Lobster. does that sound right ? I figured he was pulling our legs.
Like I said above, there was a period in the early 70s when AF food service went the extra mile. Till the money ran out, I guess.
 

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I have fond memories of the chow on board an LST and an LPH when I was on short cruises. But it seems that almost every field exercise in my USMC days was "tactical" and that meant cold c-rats. Those particular memories aren't nearly as warm and fuzzy.
 

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During the early 80's we were still getting c-rats from the late 40's to the 50's. Mid 80's we started getting MRE's.
Retired in mid - 1985, never even saw an MRE, but between 1964 and 1985 sure saw plenty of C-rats!

Most of the time EOD units were attached to a larger unit for rations, so we had very little choice. However, almost every (Army) EOD Detachment had it's own Bar, and our bars usually put the closest "O" Club to shame!
 

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Like I said above, there was a period in the early 70s when AF food service went the extra mile. Till the money ran out, I guess.
The money ran out during the Carter administration! I know that things got much better rapidly under the Reagan administration! Even though Carter was former Navy, he was no friend to military budgets!
 
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I recall trading MREs for the French Army equivalent with a unit of theirs we bumped into in Somalia. It was very apparent our rations were for fighting, while theirs were actually for eating and enjoying. Different philosophies of use.

We were happy when the mess hall at HQ up the road started serving hot T rations. Even happier when we got bottled water instead of the nasty tasting desalinated ocean water we had at first. Was all still warm, though.

Best meals were Sunday brunch at the Academy Mess Hall. Low stress, and you actually had time to enjoy your food.
 

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I recall trading MREs for the French Army equivalent with a unit of theirs we bumped into in Somalia. It was very apparent our rations were for fighting, while theirs were actually for eating and enjoying. Different philosophies of use.

We were happy when the mess hall at HQ up the road started serving hot T rations. Even happier when we got bottled water instead of the nasty tasting desalinated ocean water we had at first. Was all still warm, though.

Best meals were Sunday brunch at the Academy Mess Hall. Low stress, and you actually had time to enjoy your food.
There are a lot of videos taste testing MREs from around the world. Some seem good, some, not so appetizing.
 
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