MRE Review

We all likely have heard of MREs or “Meals Ready to Eat” before. These are issued by the military for use in situations that do not allow for full cooking facilities to be set up (due to time constraints, weight restraints, whatever…). Not surprisingly, they have also become popular with backpackers, survivalists, campers, paramilitary enthusiasts, etc. I have heard very mixed reviews of MREs over the years from “they’re the worst thing ever” to “they’re actually not too bad”. So, of course, I was curious about the MRE experience. Well, dear readers, when our military correspondent, Captain Boers, presented me with an MRE, I felt compelled to conduct a review on your behalf…

This is what an MRE looks like when it is still in the package. It is about a pound or two and a foot long or so. All MRE packages look the same except for the label on the outside which will indicate what is inside. In our case, we have the “Marinara Sauce With Meatballs.”


First things first… Not being a fan of cooking at all, I decided to get that distasteful task out of the way immediately. Below you will see the “MRE heater” on the left and the packaging containing our meatballs and marinara sauce on the right:


One places a very small amount of water into the “MRE Heater” bag and then slides the items to be heated into the bag. Below you can see me doing that:


I was very skeptical, but in very short order the “MRE Heater” became far too hot to hold and I placed it back inside the packaging (as instructed) to cook for ten to fifteen minutes (also as instructed). Below are the meatballs cooking inside their packaging:


While waiting for my meatballs to cook, I assessed the other treats in our MRE. Below is a sampling:


All the hard work cooking worked up quite an appetite for me and so I pulled out the “Wheat Snack Bread” and applied the “Cheese Spread” and “Pizza Seasoning” as can be seen below. The cheese spread can be seen in the top of the picture. Although it did not taste bad, there was something about the texture I just couldn’t get past:


Well, the “Wheat Snack Bread” made me thirsty and so I decided to whip up a little drink using my “Beverage Base Powder Orange”. It is supposed to be mixed in a canteen, but since I did not have a canteen readily available I mixed the water and drink powder in the beverage bag provided with the MRE with the assistance of my roommate, Elle:


It was more than a little difficult to drink out of the bag… The drink was surprisingly bland given the amount of powder that went in it, but it wasn’t bad:


Next up came the “Peanuts, Shelled, Roasted”. No surprises here:


Following the peanuts came the “Cheddar Cheese Pretzels”. Again, no surprises here if you’ve had them before. They taste just like what you’d get in any store:


Finally. The meatballs with marinara sauce were ready. I pulled them out of the (still very hot) MRE heater bag and tore open the packaging. Below is the first glimpse of the meatballs:


Below you can see me tucking into my hearty breakfast. I have to say that the meatballs were surprisingly good. I washed them down with the remainder of my powdered beverage and then polished the meal off with the two pieces of mint gum provided with the MRE. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the MRE experience:



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