Friday, September 28, 2012

I actually found real MRE reviews

Source from Utah Local provided at bottom

Let's be perfectly fair: A military Meal, Ready-to-Eat has to be able to withstand an airdrop from thousands of feet, last in storage at temperatures of 100 degrees for six months, and sate the ravenous hunger of - and provide a full day's worth of calories for - a U.S. Marine, for example, after a hard day at war.

Given those parameters, the MREs provided by the U.S. military to its combat troops - some of whom prefer the names "Meal, Rarely Edible" and "Meal, Rejected by the Enemy," among other, less printable designations - might simply be the best the Pentagon can do.

After all, you go to war with the grub you've got, right?

And in any case, GIs aren't supposed to have to live on MREs for long. The high-sodium, high-calorie meals are intended to be consumed for no more than 30 days - a period that presumably gives the Army time to set up a respectable mess tent.

Over the past year in Iraq in particular, however, things haven't quite worked out that way. As part of the overall surge strategy, many troops who previously may have dined on large forward operating bases have found themselves in small community outposts where the day's meal of choice often comes in a heavy-duty brown plastic bag.

Each bag includes an entree and, often, a side course or special sauce; crackers and cheese, nut or jelly spread; a dessert item and a powdered beverage mix. The package also includes a heating bag in which, when water is added, a chemical reaction will cook the entree in less than 10 minutes - the bag has also been known to be used by bored soldiers to make small bombs.

The military claims that each MRE menu item is subjected to rigorous taste testing before being sent into battle. But in a political environment where it has become mantra that "nothing is too good" for our nation's military men and women, we began to wonder:

Would an MRE pass muster with a gourmet?

To find out, we invited three of Utah's chefs to The Salt Lake Tribune's conference room, where we proceeded to subject our valiant volunteers to thousands upon thousands of calories in the form of such delicacies as "Chile with Beans" and "Veggie Burger with BBQ Sauce."

It's possible that even Vice President Dick Cheney might conclude our little experiment constituted a violation of the Geneva Conventions, but as eccentric Frenchman and Park City chef Jean-Louis Montecot replied when we invited him to our little food fest, "anything for our boys in uniform!"

MATTHEW D. LAPLANTE can be contacted at mlaplante or 801-257-8713. Send comments about this story to livingeditor@sltrib .com.

The taste test

Jean-Louis Montecot, joined by Salt Lake City chefs Emily Gassman of Em's Restaurant and Adam Kreisel of Acme Burger Co., ranked each of 18 MRE entrees on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.

Here we present the results of their reviews, a few selected comments and, of course, some recommended beverage pairings, which wouldn't be permitted in Iraq or Afghanistan (where alcohol consumption is prohibited under military rules) but might make the whole experience just a little more palatable.

Chili with Beans

Average Rating: 5.3

Most of the chefs made a comparison to canned chili. "Kind of chalky tasting, but probably not a bad meal in the desert," Montecot said. "Basic but solid," added Kreisel.

Wine/beer pairing: Nut Brown Ale

Cheese Tortellini

Average rating: 4.3

"The tortellini alone was OK," Gassman said. "But the sauce has a medicine taste." Kreisel also was disappointed. "The texture is not really like pasta," he said. And Montecot agreed. "A little too much like baby food," he said.

Wine/beer pairing: Sauvignon blanc

Pork Rib

Average Rating: 3

Kreisel had tried this one before, "once, when I was drunk with some friends." This time around, a sober Kreisel said the meal "tastes like nitrates mixed with liquid smoke." Gassman said simply, "I wouldn't order it twice."

Wine/beer pairing: Squatters IPA

Beef Ravioli

Average Rating: 4

Gassman wasn't impressed with the heartiness of this meal. "It's OK as an appetizer," she wrote. "I wouldn't eat it as an entree."

Wine/beer pairing: Spanish Monastrell

Cheese & Vegetable Omelet

Average rating: 2.3

Kreisel was dumbfounded. "I'm curious how this could be described as an omelet," he wondered. "It doesn't really taste like eggs or vegetables or cheese. There's very much a refried bean-like taste and texture." "It looks terrible!" Montecot added. "Visually not appealing," Gassman concluded.

Wine/beer pairing: Kris Pinot Grigio

Chicken Breast

Average rating: 2.3

How badly can you screw up chicken breast, really? "This almost tastes like really crappy tuna!" Kreisel complained. "The aroma is similar to my dog's kibble." Montecot added: "They're going to forget what chicken tastes like and enjoy cardboard instead."

Wine/beer pairing: Bud Light

Chicken Fajita

Average rating: 1.3

"Seriously," Kreisel said, "this one is ridiculous - the texture of the chicken in the sauce was worse than it was by itself." Gassman agreed: "There was even less flavor than the chicken by itself!"

Wine/beer paring: Corona Light

Chicken with Salsa

Average rating: 2.7

Montecot seemed relieved to find something edible called chicken, "this is better than the others - I like the spiciness in it." Gassman wasn't impressed: "They should bag all the chicken dishes," she said. Kreisel split the difference, "a little more serviceable," he concluded, "but the texture is still not very friendly."

Wine/beer pairing: Corona

Beef Patty

Average rating: 3.7

"This beef doesn't really taste like beef," Kreisel complained. But everyone agreed that the sauce saved this meal. "Just like the French" Montecot mused, "just top it off with a good sauce and you are rolling!"

Wine/beer pairing: Coppola Zin-Syrah-Cab blend.

Beef Stew

Average rating: 4.3

"OK, some recovery here," an obviously relieved Kreisel said. "Some veggies, some potato - it actually tastes something like the name would suggest." Gassman was less enthralled. "It tastes like a cheap canned soup that you haven't added water to," she said.

Wine/beer pairing: Beaujolais


Average Rating: 4.7

No one loved it - "I wouldn't serve it at a wedding reception," Montecot said - but everyone agreed this was another serviceable, though not very filling, choice. "Bagged tuna - 'nuff said," Kreisel said. "This one would be OK as a snack, but it's not very satisfying as a meal."

Wine/beer pairing: Sancerre

Spicy Penne Pasta

Average Rating: 5

Montecot was actually impressed. "I love the spice in this one," he said. "It looks good and smells good!" Gassman conceded that this meal "has flavor - not bad for a vegetarian option," she said.

Wine/beer pairing: Sangiovese

Veggie Burger with BBQ Sauce

Average Rating: 4.3

Everyone agreed: The veggie burger was better than the beef burger. Still, Kreisel lamented, "it doesn't really strike you as 'veggie' and it has a weird after-taste."

Wine/beer pairing: Hefeweizen

Beef Enchilada

Average rating: 5.3

The chefs seemed impressed that this meal actually looked like what it was called. "This can actually pass for Mexican food!" Kreisel rejoiced. "The texture was good and the sauce had some spice to it," Gassman said.

Wine/beer pairing: Dos Equis

Chicken with Noodles

Average rating: 5.7

After more than a dozen entrees, Gassman seemed relieved to find one that was passingly edible. "This is the best so far," she said. "It tastes, looks and feels like chicken with noodles!" Kreisel agreed: "It's sort of like Campbell's," he said. "Definitely solid as a meal."

Wine/beer pairing: Gewurztraminer

Sloppy Joe

Average rating: 3.3

"This might be considered some kind of sandwich," Kreisel said, "but it's definitely not a sloppy Joe." Montecot concurred: "Leave this one alone" he said.

Wine/beer pairing: Anchor Steam

Beef Roast with Vegetables

Average rating: 4

Montecot wasn't sure "beef" was the right word for this meat. "It's more like warm Spam with a good sauce," he said. Kreisel gave slightly higher marks: "Pretty much like canned stew," he said.

Wine/beer pairing: Syrah

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Average rating: 5.3

The chefs were all over the map on this one. "I can definitely survive on this!" Montecot raved. He gave this dish an 8, the highest mark of any chef for any meal. Gassman was far less thrilled. "Medicine taste," she said, rating this pasta a 3. Kreisel split the difference, handing out a 5, "it is what it says it is," he said.

Wine/beer pairing: '43 Chateau Lafite

Source: on link.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Basic First Aid Kit - A great link

Just an FYI for everyone, Monsoon Matriarch over at Frugal Prep has posted an excellent article on building your emergency first aid kit.  It is always cheaper, and you'll get better quality gear if you build one yourself rather than buying one off the shelf. If you have a few minutes or wondering "where do I start?" this is an excellent resource. Plus, you'll get the chance to check out a new blog, if you haven't already.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Picture Collection #5 ( mild offensive language)

Surprisingly, I have enjoyed these posts. Not much thought required, and hopefully it spreads a few smiles.

Wait until QE3 really kicks in and the Dollar is no longer the world reserve.

A truck for the Zombie Apocalypse

A child's imagination.

POV from F-15 during Shuttle Launch

Here's another one for my brother

F-35 Self Portrait

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blog Cookoff - Anyone interested?

After a comment by Mamma Bear in reply to Jacked Up Glock Mom, I thought I might put some feelers out for a blog cook off contest. I don't know what the prize will be other than bragging rights, but it sounded like a fun idea.  I'll host and setup a nice blog entry ( w/ links ) for the voting day, just let me know if you want to enter. Deadline for entry is the 29th at 11:59pm.

I do have a few rule suggestions though...

1- Pictures have to be posted!!!
2- Recipes have to be included ( bonus points for old family recipes ).
3- Presentation matters
4- A cheap bottle of wine has to be included ( exemptions for AA or any other reason really )
5- The post title has to be " Blogger Cook Off Entry" or something???? to identify it.
6- Entrants have one vote, but cannot vote for themselves. ( To prevent a six way tie of 1 vote )
7- Sunday the 30th of September is the posting date. Voting begins through the comments section on Monday the 1st of October.

Any other rules?
Spread the word through your blog, and let's have some fun!

I'll update as the comments roll into my email....

Contestants And their links:

Jacked Up Glock Mom & Senor
Pioneer Preppy
Myself ( K )

Friday, September 21, 2012

Test Results

Here are the results:
33/35 on Basic Patient Care ( 94%)
68/70 on Radiographic Anatomy (99%) + 1 bonus point
...FYI the ligament that connects to the Hyoid bone is the stylohyoid ligament.
42/47 on Procedures I ( 89.3% )

So, if you'll excuse me I have something waiting on me.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mid Week Update

To all three four six of my loyal followers,

It has been a busy week. Row, my first grader, started Cub scouts this week. Scouting was the only group activity that  I really wanted to push on my sons. I like the values and activities, and this is the last place that I'm aware of that he will be saying the Pledge of Allegiance. This is really a sad commentary on America. I remember having to place my hand over my heart every school morning as a kid. I guess I'm showing my age.

We went to the local scout shop, and got nearly all of the gear that Row needs. Red Ant had to have a cub scout shirt and belt too. I don't mind, he's gonna be a scout too. I figure that it will be cheaper to buy it now, rather than later. I was disappointed to see that all the patches and clothing that we touched were not made in the USA. I think that this is fundamentally wrong, and would be willing to pay more for an American label.

School has been keeping me busy. I have three different tests on Friday: Radiographic Anatomy, Lab Procedures, and Basic Patient Care. Thankfully, this will be the last time that I have three tests scheduled on a Friday. Physics of Radioactive Isotopes in quite hard, and this test is on Wednesday. I'll be ready for a beer when I'm done. I am taking 15 hours this semester, and the  'A's  start at 93%. I have one A and the rest are B's, to varying degrees, and am really struggling with this reality. I really hate it when I'm chasing an 'A'.

The world has gotten a lot crazier, but I won't post about it, you can read the news yourself. I posted this on Small Holding blog site and could make an entire post about it. "I don't know how much more duct tape and baling wire this world can take without it falling apart. Keep Right On prepping, it's gonna get rough."

Congrats to my cousin for their new baby girl. Another female for the compound! A.T. probably already has the baby doing pushups.

Matt - Good Luck!!!

Keep Right On Prepping, Take Care, and Phone a Friend.



Monday, September 17, 2012

MRE Monday - Almond Poppy Seed Pound Cake

If it is posted early in the morning, then I already had it done. In the evening, I just did it for dinner. Anyways, here is today's MRE.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 71 g or 2.5 oz.
Calories: 310
Calories from fat: 140
Total Fat: 15g or 23% DV
Cholesterol: 30mg or 10% DV
Sodium: 270mg or 11% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 38g or 13% DV
Dietary Fiber: 0g or 0% DV
Sugars: 20g
Protein: 4g
Vitamin A: 0% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Thiamine: 10%
Riboflavin: 6%
Niacin: 6%
Calcium:  8% DV
Iron: 10%
Folic Acid: 6%

I expect that it will be very similar to the Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake.


Right out of the gate, Row took a small bite and said that "I don't like it." After a little questioning, he said that it tasted funny in his mouth. It was the texture that was turning him off to the dessert. He did say that it smelled good though.

Red Ant, our youngest, was much more receptive to the new dessert. "Yummmmm...I like it very much", which might be the first time I have ever heard him say very and much together. I offered another portion, and he gladly took it, but this time said that "I super like it." Well, sounds like a winner to me.

My dear wife, Sweetheart, noticed the heavy almond extract scent almost immediately. "I'd eat it again.", was her overall assessment. She did make the comment that the heavy scent didn't carry over to the taste of the pound cake. We looked at the ingredients, and found that it was the artificial flavors that carried the scent, but it didn't translate into taste.

I thought it was good, and maybe a bit on the dry side. The flavors carried over towards the end of the taste, and it would also go great with a cup of coffee.


We'll order it again, but probably won't make it on this month's order. I would probably consider this a secondary item, even though it rates three stars. Not that it's bad, but we would prefer different items to have in our BOBs except for Red Ant's bag. $1.10 was the price on the last invoice.

Try it out.

Stars: * * * ( 3 )

Friday, September 14, 2012

Picture Collection #4

Stephen & his new and improved Boar's Nest retreat. No more wet ammo!!!

New screen saver

The 90's seems so long ago.

[/sarcasm] Yep, putting America back to work. [sarcasm]

Curiosity Rover images of Earthrise.

Link to article ... Earth is the lowest "dot".

Space Shuttle Cockpit

For my's a new screensaver for you. Van Gogh style

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Election Prediction

I've gone out on a limb a few times since I've started this blog, and I'm gonna go out on it again. I am predicting that President Obama will win a second term. I know that this is an unpopular position to take, especially in the blogging world.

Here is my reasoning:

1. Population of USA:  311,591,917 . Which we will round up to 312 million.

2. "During the 2008 presidential election, there were 132,645,504" people that voted. I'm going to round it up to 133 million people.

3. SNAP ( Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ) / WIC recipients will likely vote for their master. If someone is "giving" you money, are you going to vote for someone that wants to take it away? I don't think so.

***3A. "As of August 2011, 45.8 million persons were participating in SNAP."
             This is 14.679% of the US population.
***3B.  "9.17 million people who received WIC benefits each month in FY 2010"
             I believe that this number is even higher now, considering the current economic conditions.
             This is 2.93% of the US population. Most of these recipients are children, but I'm sure that the parents will remember where their food is coming from.

"In 2010, the average SNAP client received a monthly benefit of $133.79, and the average household received $289.61 monthly."

This equals roughly around 17.6 % of the Total USA population. This number will carry over to the percent of  people that vote. The voter apathy of the poor can be negated by liberals, if not more.

4. I will also make the assumption that registered voters will continue to vote along their party lines. Which leaves just the independent voter as the most courted group of voters.

"169 million registered - 86 million Democrat- 55 million Republican - 28 million others registered."

Even if Romney captures all 28 million Independent votes, he is still 3 million voters short, and this doesn't take into account ethnicity nor food stamp recipients in item #3

5. Cash, yes cash. We also need to look at who has how much.It is currently reported that Romney has $60 Million more than  Obama.

6. The Liberal Media will pick and choose what news is "worthy" to report. Obama has the advantage.

7. The incumbent usually wins.

 "There have been 31 presidential elections in which a sitting president has run for re-election. (This includes Franklin Roosevelt running for this 3rd and 4th terms) Of those 31, the incumbent won 21 times. That is a reelection rate of 67.7%"

8. The economy will also be a factor this year, like every election year.  I think that the economy has been bad for so long, coupled with the American attention span, that any small good news will greatly benefit Obama. The price of gasoline and the pocketbook of Americans has always been closely related, and the recession/depression is keeping the price of oil down.

9. Point two about the economy. Around 80% of Mitt Romney's contributions are from large individual contributions and the top five campaign financiers are the banking/stock industry. The economic climate does not favor the silver-spoon-in-the-mouth candidates. Mitt will try to distance himself from the rich, but the harder he tries the more obvious it is.

Small Indiv. Contrib.
Large Indiv. Contrib.
Total Individual contributions$192,355,237

10. Obama's campaign contributions are about 40% from small individual contributions. These people are invested in the Obama campaign. If you are invested, you're going to vote for them.

Small Indiv Contrib.
Large Indiv. Contrib.
Total Individual contributions $347,909,254

This is just my unbiased opinion. In all likelihood, I will not be voting this year. The United States of America is really in trouble if this is the best two candidates that America has to offer.

"Keep Right On" prepping and getting ready!!!
Comments are always welcome.


Monday, September 10, 2012

MRE Monday - Maple Muffin Top

Still running a little late getting these posted, but it's here! This is the other MRE my wife was ready to sample.

Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: 2.2 oz.
Calories: 270
Calories from fat: 130
Total Fat: 14g or 22% DV
Trans Fat:1.5g
Cholesterol: 45mg or 15% DV
Sodium: 300mg or 13% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 32g or 11% DV
Dietary Fiber: 0g or 0% DV
Sugars: 18g
Protein: 3g
Vitamin A: 6% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Calcium:  2% DV
Iron: 4%

My hope is that it is like a homemade muffin top, probably a little more cake like or moister.

Red Ant, our 3 year old, took two bites before he decided to pass it on over to Sweetheart. She did happen to get Red Ant to take another bite. I did ask him what he thought, and Sweetheart offered to options of yummy or kinda yummy. He chose kinda yummy, but for him to eat 3 bites was a real good sign that he liked it. Otherwise, he would flat out refuse to eat any more.

Row, our six year old, got excited and said, " It smells like syrup! ( chew ) It taste like syrup too!" He ate a third of the muffin top and when I asked him if he wanted more he replied that " I want some more, I want it all." An excellent sign.

The family food critic, my wonderful wife, after taking a bite said that " It's the best one we have tasted...period." She compared the smell to an early morning when the pancakes have cooled and the house is drenched in the smell of pancakes and syrup. She also noted that the first taste had a strong maple syrup flavor, but mellowed out into a more subtle cake flavor. The texture was also a big improvement from other MREs we have tried. The ever present slight chemical taste was also absent..another first.  ( I sometimes wonder if she is a super-taster. )

Her critique is hard to follow, but I also liked the maple muffin top. I thought that the texture was much improved and the moisture level was good too. I thought it would be similar to the maple sausage sandwich from Mcdonalds and it was close taste-wise, but much moister.

Final Thoughts:

We thought it was a good product, but really excited that Row was all about the maple muffin top. He was more excited about this product than anything we have tried so far. They will be reordered at $1.25 each, and would make a great morning meal.

Stars: * * * * ( 4 ) 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Picture Collection #3

Aurora Borealis from the ISS and my new screen saver

Chest Radiograph with Elemental mercury contrast

My school's IT Dept Yearbook photo

Perhaps my favorite.

Southern Gun Control