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Ever wondered what soldiers eat out on the field, up in the mountains, on the sea? There’s one guy who is absolutely obsessed with these foods to go out of his way to source them - some over a century old - and sample them for you too.
A 153-year-old cracker from US Civil War rations, dehydrated cheese blocks from 1944 US parachute emergency packs, 75 year old wholegrain biscuits, Italian combat ration pasta soup, Norwegian reindeer casserole - these are just some of the foods that Steve1989MREinfo finds in the rare ready-to-eat military ration packs that he will eat, willingly, in front of the camera for his popular YouTube channel.
The YouTuber has sampled over 100 different MREs, or food rations, clocking up more than 117 million views. The oldest so far is the 153 year old “hardtack”, a dry cracker that he found in a 1863 American Civil War pack that he described as smelling like “old books and mothballs”, but that didn't get in the way of him taking a bite out of it.
Actually he will eat just about anything, as long as it “passes a reasonable visual/smell/taste test”. When it does smell a bit off, his trick is to start with a small nibble, as he did when he tried eating dehydrated cheese from a 1944 ration pack (which he was unable to continue, naturally).
Military rations are designed to be complete meals that could be eaten when in training or in combat. They come in airtight packaging that’s meant to last under extreme conditions that servicemen and women may find themselves in. MREs, “Meal, Ready-to-Eat”, for example, are the food rations created for the US military service personnel from 1958-1980, and were designed to withstand temperatures as low as -51C, and parachute drops of up to 380 metres.
Most food rations will come with a main, side, dessert or snack, some crackers or bread, some sort of spread, a powdered beverage mix, and an accessories pack along with utensils, and generally reflect the popular cuisine of the country that issued them.
Many of the packs he samples are well past their expiry dates. Some, like the powdery cheese, or mouldy World War II biscuits are downright disgusting, but he does get some luck every now and then. Watch him as he tastes the delicacies of a French ration that includes ostrich and cranberry sauce, Russia’s mountain ration that comes with goulash, to UAE's ration with a delicious local chicken dish, and remember: do not try this at home.
1944 WW2 Emergency Parachute Rations
1942 WW2 US Army Field Ration with Biscuits, Candies and Coffee
1984 Ham and Chicken Loaf MRE
1863 American Civil War Hardtack
2014 Italian Combat Food Ration
2015 French 24 hour Combat Ration with Ostrich and Cranberry Sauce
2016 Norwegian Arctic Field Ration with Pizza
2015 Russian Mountain Ration with Brain Pate and Goulash
2015 UAE 24 Hour MRE Ration Pack with Chicken Kabsa