Heath Druzin reports that U.S. troops across Afghanistan are preparing for a reunion with a long-lost frenemy.

After years of base build-ups and access to massive dining halls with a substantial selection of ethnic food options and specialty nights, soon many servicemembers instead will be chowing down on a plateful of MRE, or Meals, Ready to Eat — also referred to by nicknames inspired by the packaged food’s taste, or lack thereof.

As U.S. troops strive to meet the Dec. 31, 2014, deadline for international combat troops to leave Afghanistan, the American military is mandating sweeping changes as support services also decline. Changes include consolidating housing and reduction of contract labor, as well as changes to the soldiers’ daily diet. All dining halls will replace two of the current four hot meals per day with MREs or Unitized Group Rations (UGRs), which are similar to a giant MRE.

The hot food reductions are part of a larger plan to return to so-called expeditionary standards, meaning a return to conditions more akin to those during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The deadline for all bases to conform to the new guidelines is Oct. 1, though the process has already begun, said Brig. Gen. Steven Shapiro, who is helping to implement the new rules.


as US packs up in Afghanistan, the return of the MRE

 

Writer Jill Dion notices the abundance of MREs after Hurricane Sandy, “Since Hurricane Sandy hit, there have been an abundance of MREs in low-lying towns like Milford hit hardest by the storm.

MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat, have been available at Milford’s firehouses and at the Disaster Recovery Center, which is now located at Simon Lake School. In the days following the storm, police and other emergency officials carried them in their cars as they drove around town. They have been giving the meals away free to anyone in need.” Click the image to read more.

Hungry? Try an MRE!

 

Claire Bigg, of Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, reveals another Russian food scandal: a report published by Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia’s food safety and sanitary watchdog, says food at the base was stored in “gross violations of sanitary norms.” The walls and ceilings of the storage room were covered in mold and peeling plaster. The agency mentioned rusty food cans. It also found fault with the storage of grains.

“The bags are piled up directly again the walls,” it says. “There are rodent droppings and garbage under the bags.” As a result, Rosselkhoznadzor says much of the foodstuff stored at the army base contained mold, rodent droppings, as well as ticks.

Click to read more.

Another food scandal for the cash strapped Russian army

 

Sgt. Jess Williams writes, “MREs (meal ready to eat) are issued to soldiers in a field-training environment, mainly for long shelf life and ability to be hastily prepared. U.S soldiers often think of MREs as a dissatisfying substitute for a home cooked meal, but for Mr. Iga, a local employee of the Tohoku Defense Bureau and Mr. Yukinao Kitahara of the South Kauto Defense Bureau, it was a new and exciting experience.” Read more.

Japanese counterparts test out US MREs

 

The Sporkful, with Dan Pashman, discusses how “sometimes people in the most difficult circumstances are the ones who find the most creative ways to eat well.” In this episode of Dan’s podcast, he speaks with military veterans about “ways to make military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) more palatable, mess hall strategy, and the importance of bartering for better food in a combat area.”

Dan also eats three MREs himself and experiments with them. The episode ends with the vets sharing their best war zone meals, which Dan says, “serve as a reminder of the power of the right meal in the right moment.”

War Zone Eating: MRE Improvement, Bartering, and Veterans' Best Combat Meals Ever

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