Our experience with an MRE

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Like many boys, Andrew (13) and Michael (10) are fascinated by all things military and have expressed interest in becoming snipers or some such. So, as part of helping them explore this interest, on our recent camping trip, I brought an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat -- a military ration) along for them to try.

Here are the contents of the MRE laid out. Our menu for the evening was a "pork rib, boneless, imitation" (really a chopped pork burger formed into the shape of ribs and covered in a barbecue sauce of sorts), refried beans, crackers, cheese spread, peanut butter (which we couldn't eat since the kids are allergic), and an oatmeal cookie.
The contents of the MRE laid out on our picnic table.

In the interest of giving us the best chance of enjoying the meal, I heated up the meat and beans in some boiling water (the pack didn't contain chemical heaters unfortunately).
Two packets covered in water in a frying pan on a camp stove.

Here's what the meat and beans looked like. The beans tasted fine, just like you'd expect canned refried beans to taste like. The "pork rib, boneless, imitation" wasn't as bad as I had feared. Overall the meal tasted like a mid-quality school cafeteria lunch.
A paper plate with refried beans and a slab of meat with some sauce/juices pooling.

That said, once they had a taste of the various parts of the MRE, the boys went back to their hotdogs pretty quickly.
Andrew (13) enjoying a hotdog by the campfire.

Even after this experience, the boys have not renounced their interest in going military, although I think they'll have to broaden their dietary tolerance before they can really make it.

(For the record, the MRE was made by Sopackco and was a civilian version of the MREs they make for the military.)

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