That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

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That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:47 am

I feel like writing, and since you're here, apparently you feel like reading it. I'm a picky eater, but "gastronomically adventurous". I'll eat anything once, but usually nothing gets a second shot. Since I have some fun on deck, and some more planned for the near future, you can read about it! This week I'll be doing genuine MREs for lunch at work. If you don't know what an MRE is, Google can clue you in, but I can summarize with "Army field lunch". I've had a few before, and they aren't bad, for what they are, but fine dining they are not.

Today is Menu 22, "Asian Beef Strips". It comes with fried rice, or so the brown cardboard box says! I didn't decide to write this until I was halfway done, so I don't have any good inventory/unboxing for you, I promise I'll do that tomorrow. I put the "fried rice" and "beef strips with vegetables" on a paper plate and nuked it. I used the MRE heater last week, and while that's super-awesome for folks in the woods who can't have or don't want a fire, it's pretty meh as heating goes. Since I'm in an office with refrigerator and microwave, I'll use those whenever I feel it's in my interest.

The whole MRE, entree half-gone, sorry: http://i.imgur.com/zi2j8Ng.jpg

So beef. Very rice. Much wow. Smells slightly salty, like Dinty Moore beef stew. Not necessarily a bad association to shoot for, I guess. Flavor is correspondingly bland, salty, ever so slight hint of peppery spice. Not bad.

The rice, however, is chunky and hard in weird places. I'm thinking this is one of those MREs that gets better the longer you leave it in the back of the humvee, there's little to no texture to lose, and the weird hard chewy bits in the rice would give up and mush after a while.

There's a standard packet of stuff I won't need. I don't like coffee and even coffee people revile instant. PASS. There's a huge brown plastic sleeve that apparently makes hot chocolate, or something very similar. It's 93F outside today, so again PASS. There were some "Twizzler brand Nibs" in the MRE when I opened it, but I opened it at my house and my toddler apparently lifted those. Note to DOD folks: Making the candy in the MRE a bright pink/red crinkly plastic bag makes it a high priority target for pilferage.

Pause for another bite of "beef/rice". My air quotes are getting tired. The entree seems to be solidifying as it cools. Kind of gel-like now. This is not making it any more desirable.

There is "bread" in a brown wrapper. It claims to be wheat bread, but the list of ingredients is actually kind of scary. Shelf stable bread doesn't come easily. Since i don't like blackberry jam, I'm going to save this for another time. That's a pro for MREs, I guess. If you don't feel like eating it, and you haven't opened the sub-package, you can toss it in a bag and keep it for a rainy day. Not a lot of work lunches offer that option.

Bread, jam and peanut butter: http://i.imgur.com/gB1T4Ac.jpg
Scary ingredients (I will eat this some time and add notes): http://i.imgur.com/iDGE32s.jpg

I let the last few forkloads get cold while I was typing. That was not a great idea. Noted.

That was mostly like food. I'll do another MRE tomorrow if there's interest, possibly through the end of the week. I'm budgeting for lunch next week, though, so I probably won't document my more mundane usual lunches. I have a standing date with haggis sometime, but I'll take suggestions for lunch ideas for next week.
Last edited by Forge on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:06 am

Nothing will replace the originals:

01 - Pork with Rice in BBQ Sauce
02 - Corned Beef Hash
03 - Chicken Stew
04 - Omelet with Ham
05 - Spaghetti with Meat and Sauce
06 - Chicken Ala King
07 - Beef Stew
08 - Ham Slice
09 - Meatballs, Beef and Rice, in Tom. Sauce
10 - Tuna with Noodles
11 - Chicken and Rice
12 - Escalloped Potatoes with Ham

The CB Hash and, yes, Omelet were my favorite! All it needed was some Tabasco. Later they added Beef Frankfurters which were awesome. But looking over the new list, man have they come a long way since I was on Active Duty:

01 - Chili with Beans
02 - Shredded BBQ Beef
03 - Chicken with Noodles
04 - Spaghetti w/ Meat Sauce
05 - Mediterranean Chicken
06 - Beef Taco Filling
07 - Beef Brisket
08 - Meatballs w/Marinara Sauce
09 - Beef Stew
10 - Chili and Macaroni
11 - Vegetarian Taco Pasta
12 - Spicy Penne Pasta
13 - Cheese Tortellini
14 - Ratatouille
15 - Mexican Style Chicken Stew
16 - Pork Rib
17 - Maple Sausage
18 - Beef Ravioli
19 - Jalapeño Pepper Jack Beef Patty
20 - Pork Sausage w/Gravy
21 - Lemon Pepper Tuna
22 - Asian Beef Strips
23 - Chicken Pesto Pasta
24 - Southwest Beef & Black Beans
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:13 am

I had the #17 Maple Sausage last week. A little brazen, calling spam "sausage", but it wasn't horrible.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:14 am

Links to the images don't seem to be working, was curious what it looks like.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:16 am

Just switched over to Imgur, give it another go.

Tomorrow I'll take more pictures, get the whole unboxing/assembly/etc in there.

I'm thinking Menu 6, Beef Roast and Vegetables. I can't imagine that looking like it should.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:44 am

I've eaten too many of those to ever want eat another one voluntarily. (Oh no, flashbacks! I'm getting shaky thinking about eating them again.)

The more complicated the dish in the MRE, the worse it is. (Oh god, I just remembered the Country Captain Chicken. The horror, the horror.) I was vegetarian occasionally simply because the veggie MREs were tastier, and most people didn't eat them.

Invest in some Tabasco sauce and use it liberally. It's the only thing that made some of those edible. Also, don't savor them. Eat them as quickly as possible, so you don't taste them. (I'm going to curl up for a little bit.)

There are tricks to using the heater. One is putting in more water then they recommend, and the other is putting the entree back into the box. Another trick is putting the entry and the side into the heater at the same time.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:47 am

tanker27 wrote:10 - Chili and Macaroni


Chili Mac with the cheese mixed in was as good as it got. :)
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:24 pm

tanker27 wrote:Nothing will replace the originals:


On the other hand, the current batch probably aren't Meals Rejected by Ethiopians. :P
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:44 pm

We used to get the older1980s versions from my uncles. Rehydrated "hash browns" with the cheese and applesauce packets wasn't bad with the hot chocolate, I usually skipped the viands except for ham or meatloaf
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:31 pm

Forge wrote:Scary ingredients (I will eat this some time and add notes): http://i.imgur.com/iDGE32s.jpg

Doesn't look any scarier than most pre-packaged foods you would by at a normal grocery store. (And no, I'm not sure whether that is a defense of the MRE or an indictment of the sort of crap people are willing to eat these days... probably a bit of both!)

tanker27 wrote:Nothing will replace the originals:
...
08 - Ham Slice
...

Just the concept of an unrefrigerated, shelf-stable slice of ham makes me feel vaguely queasy. :lol:

Forge wrote:I had the #17 Maple Sausage last week. A little brazen, calling spam "sausage", but it wasn't horrible.

Much like your ingredients list above, if you compared the ingredients of Spam and sausage, I don't think you would see much (if any) significant difference, other than maybe a bit more sodium in the Spam. Spam *is* essentially a block of salty pork sausage in a can! (Furthermore, Spam musubi is quite yummy, albeit also quite bad for you.)
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:33 pm

Interesting experiment. As for the bread, they all seem to be common food additives, although, not in normal bread that are expected to be consumed in a close timeframe.
But I assume most of those things have something that makes it preserve for ages, and hopefully, contain a bit of taste for that time as well.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:40 pm

A little teaser of tomorrow's lunch, since I happened to have it with me.

http://i.imgur.com/PcQPl4V.jpg BIF ROST!

Strangely, this one has all the bits in a bag, inside the bag. Inside that bag? Boxes. Also bags. I think every item is at least triple sealed as a result.

http://i.imgur.com/kxK7ciL.jpg Sealed for X-treme FRESHNESS.

I donated my hot chocolate today along with last week's instant coffee and creamer, plus some extra sugar packets to the ex-Army guy in the office. He's going to make Ranger Puddin, and BOY OH BOY he is stoked. Not sarcasm, guy is genuinely fired up about this. I think the reality is going to be sadly disappointing, but I'll try to get some photos or video.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:43 pm

As awful as that looks, it's still making me hungry...

Oh. 15 minutes til lunch time...
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:48 pm

This thread reminded me of this blog. Enjoy. (Warning: Might be considered mildly NSFW by some...)
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:55 pm

Already gone: Menu 17 Maple Sausage Menu, 22 Asian Beef Strips.

Still coming: Menu 7 Beef Brisket, Menu 6 Beef Roast with Vegetables, Menu 24 Southwest Beef and Black Beans, and the ever-infamous Menu 3 Chicken and Noodles (which is not a personal lubricant, Skippy assures us).

From the original eBay: http://i.imgur.com/7ReHm0n.jpg
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:57 pm

just brew it! wrote:This thread reminded me of this blog. Enjoy. (Warning: Might be considered mildly NSFW by some...)


I think I read that once before. That and Meat Plate got me during formative years, I suppose. I will NOT be eating anything's skin. Nope. Fully Nope. Nopetastic.

I might be persuaded by the potted meat or ancient cereal, but I think not at work.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:01 pm

Forge wrote:I might be persuaded by the potted meat or ancient cereal, but I think not at work.

For which anyone downwind will be eternally grateful.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:05 pm

Forge wrote:I think I read that once before. That and Meat Plate got me during formative years, I suppose.

Do you mean this meat plate?
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:38 pm

Interestingly, most of your photos don't work in Firefox 32.

just brew it! wrote:Just the concept of an unrefrigerated, shelf-stable slice of ham makes me feel vaguely queasy. :lol:


It was one of the more edible MREs. It's basically canned ham. It was salty, but not the worst thing to get.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:04 pm

I don't actually feel in any way off, but my stomach is periodically making the most amazing noises!

I'm inclined to blame the "crackers" and "cheese" more than the "asian beef and fried rice". The crackers weren't all that bad, but that cheese stuff was just not right. Salty cheese flavored play-doh.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:35 pm

Ok, I'm sure this will be disappointing, but the Beef Roast was GOOD. Not just not bad, not just edible, it was GOOD. I could actually see passing up certain less-favored food items for one of these. The beef roast plank thing had a nice meat texture, and the veggies/gravy stuff was very evocative of a good Campbell's vegetable beef. I've had far, far worse.

Pictures shortly. Also, it looks like menu 6 is the sweet tooth selection on the current menu. Entree is the beef roast, but then it has the following: Wheat snack bread (ok, not great, but bear with me), with some CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER SPREAD to put on it. Also, hot chocolate, so you've got Ranger Puddin fixings, a "Kreamsicle Cookie", PLUS "Cherry Blueberry Cobbler", which sounds vaguely horrifying but WTH, four dessert-type items?? I could probably get someone beaten up in trade for one of these. It's a fat boy special, you could trade it away piecemeal and end up with three other MREs instead.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:16 pm

The cobbler is purple sugar mush. Don't look at it, just use the spoon and chew, never look directly at it.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:20 pm

It's been my experiance that the vegiterian ones are usually some of the best. I don't know what they come with now, but when I was "Airman Air Force" I liked the cute little tabasco bottles that some of the MRE's came with.

Oh, do they still come with gigantic crackers to go with the chocolate peanut butter spread?! That was a filling, yummy snack outside of excercises. Jalapeno "cheese" was good on those, too.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:27 pm

Yes! Had crackers last week, ate them yesterday. I disliked the cheese spread they came with, but our local ex-Army says that seems wrong, so my cheese sauce may have been a bad batch.

The cobbler thing burned my mouth. Seared with alternating sugar and tart flavors, all turned to 11. Eating that was a very exciting experience. Like a bowl full of poptart filling, it seemed like a good idea until I tried it. In the future, I would trade that away for crackers and just about any spread.

I have heard tales of the tiny Tabasco, and we had some here in the office, origin unknown, as a gag. None in the MREs I've had so far. I am actually looking forward to camping with these things sometime.

Edit: Wow. The "Kreamsicle Cookie" was really good. Shared a few chunks, everyone in the office found it "not bad" to "pretty good". I could see buying these standalone.

Edit2: I want to complain to S2. Last two MREs had SPLENDA packets in the misc baggie, last week I got a proper brown paper "SUGAR, 1 Gram, REFINED". I want sugar in my horrible instant coffee, NOT Splenda!
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:17 pm

If you make a EP2 please do a proper review. Use the heating element and use all the packets even if it's just a taste. This is how most people will eat these things and I don't know about you but I don't have a microwave available when I have to use MRE's. My complaints aside I like reading about these. I used to eat C-Rations when I went fishing with my grandfather and now I take MRE's with me on fishing or backpacking trips as a extra quick meal so I do like to read reviews about them to figure out which ones to stay away from.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:37 pm

I spent some time as an reserve infantryman in the Canadian Armed Forces when I was a teenager. By the time I was done I had collected a small stash of MREs. I seem to remember a favorite being the cabbage rolls. Also there was a meat+pasta option that was a fave as it basically tasted like Chef boyardee.

I too remember those foil packed loaf ends. They kinda tasted like a denser version of something like whole wheat wonder bread. But still, I was a bit disconcerting eating bread designed to stay "fresh" for months.

And speaking of bread, another fave was the peanut butter. Not because it was particularly awesome peanut butter, but because it came in a fairly large tube for a single serving - something that looked like a small tube of toothpaste (not travel size). We used to keep 'em in our pockets and suck on 'em intermittently for energy during exercises.

I think we had the most fun with the packets of coffee creamer. That stuff gave off some pretty colors when poured over an open flame. Not sure how that could have been good for ingestion.
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:42 pm

Please explain to me why you are eating army rations? Did you enlist????? :o
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:49 pm

There is a community of YouTubers who have reviewed pretty much every MRE out there. I came across it randomly and ended up watching way to many videos... and I've tried MREs twice and have no desire to do so again. Still quite fascinating. Here's my favorite channel, if you're curious about a certain MRE Menu there's a good chance this guy has reviewed it: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx0dBY ... l1f6prRx_Q

I'm curious as well Forge, what's the reasoning behind voluntarily eating MREs?
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:31 pm

Well, today I didn't heat at all. The Beef Roast w/Vegetables was just that good. The cobbler didn't really care if it was hot or cold, and it's hot out, and cookies are room temp. I actually just ate the chocolate peanut butter and the bread, it was pretty good. The chocolate was subtle, the peanut butter was half-too-runny and half-too-thick, like all MRE peanut butter is. It was pretty tasty, though.

I'll consider a full proper MRE review with the heater and everything, but not at work. Did that on a laugh last week and my office smelled like match heads all day. One of my other habits, good for my weight but bad for reviews, I don't eat meals in one sitting when I can avoid it. I eat a bit, set it aside, eat a little more in a while, repeat. Today that one MRE got eaten across 3 or 4 hours. I do have something that might be more interesting coming up in a month or so.

Why eat MREs? Because I'm broke and they make decent lunch. Originally I bought them to pack away with my tent and sleeping bags, for camping this fall or in the spring.

Today's pictures: Unpacked: http://i.imgur.com/xhrDEYh.jpg
Entrees: http://i.imgur.com/OHKjWHh.jpg
Dessert1 (cobbler): http://i.imgur.com/X5P6KQX.jpg
Bread: http://i.imgur.com/emnmMbt.jpg
Dessert2 (cookie): http://i.imgur.com/p2Po7Zt.jpg
Hot chocolate: http://i.imgur.com/MwUHI3u.jpg
Heater: http://i.imgur.com/kbRVVxa.jpg
Entree in motion: http://i.imgur.com/dJJHeWx.jpg
Entree after: http://i.imgur.com/bPyjMdX.jpg
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Re: That is technically food: Ep.1: Asian Beef Strips MRE

Postposted on Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:47 pm

Forge wrote:the peanut butter was half-too-runny and half-too-thick, like all MRE peanut butter is.


Kneading the peanut butter packet for a minute or two before opening will fix that.
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