USA & Russia pt 1
I had an idea for a do ahead blog to drop in some weekend when I wasn’t able to do the normal blog. I thought it might be interesting to compare MREs from different countries with the US being one for sure. The only other country’s rations I could find easily was Russia’s so I ordered up some of each. Due to the fact that there are multiple meals involved this will be a two part post starting with the challenger, Russia.
The Russian one actually is one package for a full day or 3 meals whereas the US ones are packed one meal per package. Neither one had what I’d call anything like a normal breakfast but both have fairly high calorie count as you’d expect to need if you’re doing strenuous activities often associated with military life.
The Russian arrived first and as you can see in the first photo it was vacuum packed. Inside is a cardboard container with a nicely packed series of packs and containers. Now this is all in Cyrillic and I don’t read Russian so this is pretty much a by guess and by golly although some I could figure out. So here’s what was in the box:
3 large foil tins, 2 small foil tins, 1 small round can, 4 packs of crackers, 2 individually packed tea bags, one pack of coffee, one mystery foil pack, one pack with peaches I figure is a desert of some sort, a pack of powder with fruits & vegetables on it I figure may be a drink powder, 3 packs of sugar that are at least 2 tablespoons full, salt and pepper packets, 3 two packs of what I assumed were wet naps (they were), 5 charcoal tablets for water purification, 3 waxy tablets and a foldable heater, 6 matches and a striker, 3 spoons, 3 napkins, some weird little plastic device and something that is clearly a pill of some sort.
Since I wasn’t planning to start a fire on my table I threw most of the accessories in my emergency zombie apocalypse stash. I decided one big tin, one small tin / can, one pack of crackers, one of the other packs and a caffeine source would make a meal. Here’s the first batch.
The first big tin turned out to be rice and meaty flavored fat dish, allegedly beef. It honestly had a fairly decent flavor with a bit of black pepper added. The crackers had a kind of stale taste that was the first thing you noticed and was a bit off putting but I powered through. The little can turned out to be filled with a cheese flavored substance much like the old C rations had canned cheese but this wasn’t quite that good. It did have a mild cheese flavor and covered the cracker taste but that’s about all you can say for it. The mystery foil pack had jam that made me wish I still had crackers left. It was sweet and tasted like a cross between apple and apricot. The tea I heated in the microwave and it was nice and strong and a packet of the sugar made it something to carry you through a few more hours.
Here are the contestants for the evening meal.
The tin that looks like dog food was a salty beef in liquid and the white stuff is congealed fat. When heated it the beef was tender and swimming in what I’m going to call broth. The beef wasn’t bad but there was so much liquid it had to be part of the equation so I took half the semi-rancid crackers and broke them in to small shards and added them to the mix. In addition to soaking up the “broth” it had the added benefit of softening the crackers and masking their taste. The smaller tin had a meat paste that sort of tasted like patê if you’d never actually had any. The other half of the crackers were devoted to this delight. The final course in this meal was the fruit bar thingy. As the picture showed it definitely had peaches but also finely chopped nuts and a peppery taste from some spice. It wasn’t bad but it’s not going to be on my “gotta get me more of that” list. So filling but not a meal I’d really want to have again.
The last I only snapped after the lids were removed as my enthusiasm waned but I supplemented with a nice snap of the tea and coffee.
The big tin had a beef stew in it and was actually the best of the lot. It was mainly potatoes and beans in gravy but there was enough meat to let you know it was beef stew and honestly was fairly good. The small tin had eggplant paste the consistency of pumpkin pie filling but not the taste. I didn’t know how you were expected to eat it but I busted out another pack of the crackers and used it as a dip. It wasn’t as disgusting as it looked but it was filling. The green pack was a drink powder but didn’t have much of a distinct flavor and the coffee was everything you’d expect instant coffee to be. I didn’t but if you added a bag of the sugar to the coffee that would get you moving for a while.
The beef stew and the tea were definitely the highlights of this package. To reflect my final judgement let me tell you what should be a joke in the Russian army if it isn’t already.
Why did the Russian dog lick his butt? Because he was trying to get the taste of the Russian MRE out of his mouth.
To be fair the packaging was well done and the contents efficiently packed.
Part 2 will be 3 US MREs.