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Dog Food

June 2024
1min read

I appreciated your item detailing the history of U.S. Army C rations (“The Time Machine,” November 1996). I place this vignette in the long, vexing story of the development of American’ military field rations. When the new and improved Meal, Ready To Eat (MRE) replaced the C rat in the early 1980s, we veterans looked forward to an appetizing, nutritious menu that would justify the huge expense of research and development. To our dismay, military genius had simply provided us with an expensive, foil-wrapped version of the old canned dog food. Occasionally, new menu items appear as a sop to troop complaints, such as the pork chow mein entrée. It actually contains a few pieces of vegetables, but still has that good old dog-food flavor. Iraqi prisoners in the Gulf War thought they were being tortured when forced to consume MREs; while our troops over there said the initials actually stood for “Meals Refused by Ethiopians.” One item in the new improved MRE has met with universal acceptance. A tiny bottle of Mcllhenny Tabasco Sauce in each meal packet is appreciated by all diners. We apply it liberally to everything, just as the soldiers in your article who had to order it as a supplement in the Korean War did.

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