We were still on C-rations when I was one of the troops, or at least that’s what we thought; officially, the C-ration had been discontinued in the 1950s, but the newer Meal, Combat, Individual was so much like a C-ration that the new name never did catch on. Finally the Army came up with the Meal, Ready to Eat, and the MRE has sustained troops in the field ever since. Of course, being Army chow, it was instantly derided: “Meals Rejected by Ethiopians” is only one of the derisive terms being tossed about.
Still, the Department of Defense is sworn to improve the product, and there is a new pepperoni-pizza MRE due out Real Soon Now:
The pepperoni pizza entrée has been added to the 2018 Meals, Ready to Eat menu and should be on its way to the field soon.
The pizza MRE will include cheddar and jalapeno cheese spread, Italian breadsticks, cookies, cherry-blueberry cobbler and a chocolate protein drink powder.
The pizza can be eaten cold or heated with a flameless ration heater.
“You know, for a pizza that has to last for at least three years … it’s pretty stinking good,” said Jeremy Whitsitt, deputy director of the Defense Department’s Combat Feeding Directorate.
And that’s always been the issue: longevity and flavor seldom keep close company.
The pizza is made with a high-heat-tolerant mozzarella cheese and a process that controls moisture levels, pH and oxygen levels to ensure a three-year shelf life, [Whitsitt] said.
Then again, DoD is not going to throw away stuff just to get the pizza into S4 units faster, either.