The Combat Ration Collectors Who Eat Decades-Old Military Meals

Military field rations (now called MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat) are designed to be nutritious, portable, compact, and long-lasting. During wartime, these meals are produced in abundance, and there are usually more produced than needed. Years later, sometimes decades later, you can still buy them -and eat them. In fact, there is a community of people who collect MREs and try them out, even long past their expiration dates.   

This less-than-appetizing meal might be assumed to have little appeal outside the military. But civilians are interested in MREs for a few reasons. Some are ex-military, and develop a nostalgic curiosity. Others are concerned with emergency preparedness. Still others fall into a YouTube hole, end up watching a guy sample a vacuum-packed tuna-noodle entree from 1989, and get hooked on the MRE buy-swap-sell phenomenon.

The rise of the internet and disaster-preparation led to a growing number of people interested in taste-testing old MREs. That’s why you can watch someone open and eat a meal prepared for Canadian soldiers in World War II. Read about these hobbyists and their adventures in eating at Atlas Obscura. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Natick Soldier Systems Center Photographic Collection)

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