The French version of the MRE is defeating the United States original.
The proof is to be found in the peacekeeping operations where French and
American troops both operate. The many peacekeeping and humanitarian missions
going on around the world are seeing increasing distribution of military field
rations, like the MRE, to needy populations. This has become popular because
many nations noted that these MRE-like field rations eventually get too old to
use, and must be dumped. But it's good PR to help the starving by giving them
these rations just before the rations are too old to eat. Since the U.S. is at
war, it has no "about to expire" rations to give out, and lots of starving
refugees to look after. So a special Humanitarian Daily Ration was
some other interesting stuff is going on out there, where U.S. and French
troops are in the same area. The locals get their hands on both MREs, and the
French version RCIR (Ration de Combat Individuelle Rechauffable), and most
quickly decide they much prefer the RCIR. In the local marketplaces (where much
humanitarian aid ends up), RCIRs sell for several times what an MRE goes for.
Note that one RCIR contains a day's worth of food (3200 calories), while each
MRE is good for one meal (1200 calories). Even so, RCIRs sell for twice what
three MREs will cost you.
a look inside an RCIR and you'll see why. Each meal box contains two precooked
entrees, one appetizer, a packet of instant soup, cheese spread, salted and
unsalted crackers, breakfast items, sugar, an energy bar, a chocolate bar,
chewing gum, caramels, hard candies, paper towels, water purifying pills, and a
reheating kit (matches, fuel tablets, and a disposable folding stove). Back in
the 1990s, there used to be a small bottle of wine as well, but now the wine
ration arrives separately. The food is high quality and well prepared. There
are 14 menus, which, like MREs, change from year to year. Half of them do not
have pork products, making them acceptable to Moslems (about 15 percent of the
French armed forces).
appetizer/ Main dish combinations are;
in Jelly/Beef Salad/Tunny Potatoes
Paté/Salmon Rice Vegetables/Shepherd's Pie
Paté/Stewed Beef /While Veal Stew
Beef /Sauté of Rabbit/Chile con Carne
RCIRs are mainly a matter of style and culture, but after a quarter century,
the MRE (Meal, Ready to Eat) is finally getting some respect. Often the only
food available for troops in the field, early MREs were criticized for awful
taste and sometimes literally rotten ingredients. Since the 1990s, the
Department of Defense has used an ongoing survey of the troops to discover
which MREs were popular, and which were detested. There are 24 different MREs
available, and the least popular ones are regularly dropped while new ones are
introduced. Proposed new MREs undergo a lot of field testing with the troops,
and those that do not make a good impression, never enter the regular lineup.
Each MRE still weighs about 24 ounces and has about 1200 calories. Troops going
into combat onfoot often strip away a lot of the stuff in an MRE they don't
need, reducing the weight to about a pound.
problem with MREs, was troops giving them to hungry local civilians. These
people were often malnourished and not accustomed to American food. So the HDR
(Humanitarian Daily Ration) was developed and is currently available for the
troops to distribute whenever they operate in an area likely to have a lot of
hungry civilians. The HDR is similar to an MRE, but with some important differences.
The HDR is designed to provide a full day's calories for a moderately
malnourished person. In order to be acceptable to the widest possible variety
religious and dietary restrictions, HDRs contain no animal products or animal
by-products, except for minimal amounts of dairy products. There are also no
alcohol and alcohol-based ingredients. The original HDR meal bag was bright
yellow, for easy visibility. Unfortunately, that color is similar to the ones
used for cluster bombs bomblets, so a different color was used after that. The
HDR meal bag uses graphic descriptions of how to open the bag eat the contents.
Unlike the MRE, which is one meal, the HDR contains two meals, to provide a
day's worth of food (2,200 calories total.) A spoon and a non-alcohol-based,
moist towelette are the only non-food components in the HDR meal bag. Troops
are often given a lot of HDRs if they are expected to encounter civilians, and
handing them out often wins friends very quickly. The troops often tend to hand
out the candy, and other treats, from their MRES, to local children.
the adults, if given a choice, will try and get RCIRs. These are especially
popular for celebrations. The RCIR food is exotic, and by any standard, well
prepared and tasty. If you want to feed someone, MREs or HDRs, will do, but if
you want to impress them, haul out the RCIRs.