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Monday, March 1, 2021

Gourmet Grunts, 1968-1970

 

Vintage Meal Combat Individual Sealed New | Foreign and International MREs


I was reading a story that mentioned a "C-ration stove". Being curious and into camping gear, I Googled the term and found several interesting pieces (the story below among them) dealing with field expedient stoves. The German Armed Forces of WW2 issued the now famous folding Esbit stove  and Esbit fuel tablets to their troops for reheating meals, warming coffee, etc. For what ever reasons, Uncle Sam failed to issue such a stove (but did for a time issue fuel for reheating) to American troops up to and through much of the Vietnam war (a canteen cup "stove" was eventually developed and issued). It did not take American soldiers in the field very long to realize they could build a small stove to heat their rations from one of the smaller "b-1" cans that were included in the boxes of C-rations. The article is not about stoves, but simply what attracted my attention. The article deals with how "grunts" in the field prepared their meals with what ingredients they had on hand to make them more palatable.  I have never eaten a C-ration, but I do not think I would care for the dreaded chopped ham and eggs (aka "The Joker")! Of course, if I am hungry I can eat most anything.

Read the story HERE.

30 comments:

  1. Hot sauce! Carried it all the time and used it in everything.

    The one meal nobody ate in C-Rats was....Ham and Lima Beans. Everyone called them Ham and Mutherphukers.

    The one meal that was guarenteed left over from a case, every time. Nothing helped it go down.

    De Oppresso Liber

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    1. I concur on the ham and mf's, but there was always some guy who loved them. On the other hand, I considered the chopped ham and eggs to be most excellent, at least if the were heated.
      Dave

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    2. Agree. Ham and limas were terrible. My favorite was the spaghetti and meatball. (Note singular) We also had small tins of fruit which had some sort of gas in them so when you opened the can the gas would evaporate and cool the fruit.

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  2. I have a single burner US Military stove that comes in a two piece can that can be used as a cup & pot. It burns gasoline.

    I used it camping for a long time but I think the last time I had it lit the whole thing went up and once I got it extinguished I decided to get a new propane unit that weighed a bit less.

    Still around somewhere, maybe in the shed?

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    1. We would take a can, frequently the one that had cookies in it. Cut some air holes in the sides fill it with sand and then dribble some fuel from the huey into the sand. Then set it on fire to make a stove.

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    2. Probably the M1950 stove. It needs a new O-ring for the combination fuelcap/pump. I collect and restore old gas appliances.

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    3. Did the same thing but just burned the box. JP-4 worked well and I’ve used it in Zippo’s. JP-8 doesn’t light as easily..

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  3. B1, eggs and ham, and sliced pears!
    My favorite!
    Frank 0351

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  4. hell, even the vc wouldn't eat that shit ! long time ago 101st trooper

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  5. https://archive.org/details/TheCharlieRationCookbook/

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  6. Two tours in 'Nam. Ate a good amount of CRats during training and while there.
    First big thing is they were calorie massive. If you were not humping you had to selectively eat or you would get fat. Some of them had so much fat you had to scrape off the fat and either heat them or only eat a small amount or you would throw up. I am thinking the ham slices. Each box (meal) had 4 fresh cigarettes and toilet paper. People really enjoyed the canned fruit. They were high quality ingredients but to get the most out of them we would combine different things among the guys to come up with various combinations to enjoy the idea of "making" something.

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  7. C-rats weren’t bad... you could heat them up with what you had on hand. No need for water. 1st generation MRE’s really sucked. I was in that transition period from c’s to MRE’s in the early 80’s. As the time went by MRE’s got better and they were actually edible when I retired in 99. The last case I snagged from 2017 had all kinds of weird ass snowflake crap in it so it looks like they’ve come full circle.

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  8. +1 on ham and lima beans ,the kids were always bumming for food,Give them ham and lima beans and they would throw the can at you! Call you #10 GI.

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  9. Personally, I liked the chopped hams and eggs. Cold was acceptable but heated was much better. And they all had names not fit for civilian printing.

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    1. If you applied the Tabasco sauce even those white tree grubs and the occasional snake were palatable. The things you would eat over there would sicken a goat.

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  10. One of the advantages of C-rations was there was always one guy in the unit liked the Ham and eggs and the Ham and lima beans. So you traded. Ham slices and most other meals in Winter were pretty gross because the fat congeals. Scrape it off and eat it or go hungry.

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  11. In the early 60's we would get WWII leftovers in the field. With the green package Lucky Strike cigarettes.

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    Replies
    1. How were they compared to more recent productions of the same type?

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    2. Didja ever try smoking grapevines or indian cigars as a kid. The Green Box cigarettes were almost as good.

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    3. Ha! I did as a "yangster" try smoking crossvine and rabbit tobacco! I get the metaphor. Thanks.

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  12. I remember going on a training exercise with a Guard unit in the mid-90's. We were not given
    MREs (thank God) and were told meals were taken care of. What did we see when we finally pulled
    into camp? A mountain of 30 year old C-Rat cans. It was not a fun time.

    There's a guy on Youtube called Steve1989MREInfo
    He goes through and tries old rations as well as ones from around the world. Here's a link
    to him reviewing a WWII K Ration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjZicBu_2Y4

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  13. The eggs weren't too bad and I didn't mind the ham and lima beans, but I always wondered about the meal - Chicken or Turkey. When the Plt. Guide would hand me the box I'd say 'you'd think they could tell what kind of bird it was when they cooked it.' He never laughed.

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  14. Fresh cigarettes, I once smoked a Chesterfield a year older than me. Heinz 57 was my cover-up seasoning. The hot chocolate was good if you used the creamer.

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  15. my dad was in a reserve seabee unit out of lawrence,MA and they used to get the overruns from natick labs, where they do all the experimenting on new rations.

    back in the 1980's they had a freeze-dried peaches and freeze-dried strawberries that looked like a plank of styrofoam, either light orange or pink. my dad would save his and bring it home for us kids. boy that was good.

    I don't know if that stuff ever made it into the production rations.

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    1. yep, They did. Wasn’t a fan of ‘me rewetted, but dry they weren’t too bad.

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  16. Hi Irish!!!!
    C-RATS!!!!! There are many testamonies!! I have a few!! Back in the day;;; USS PRINCETON LPH-5 just went aboard as we were going into the 3 yr. dry dock re furb... AUG1967!! Someone found some "OLD!!!!! C-RATS" in a store room!! OMG They were still good!! Don't know bout' ham an eggs but "TURKEY LOAF" was Good and some grunts that was their Thanks Giving and or Christmas feast!! ALSO "Ham and Lima Beans!!".. "Loved 'em!!" Then one of the rigger's from HMM-363 told me they called them "HAM AND MOther F#(%@&$!!" I was flabbergasted..as Liked them. He said even MARTHA RAE knew that!! She was a military army nurse and in Vietnam she tended to our troops!! She is buried in the Army Grave yard on Ft. Bragg!!!!!! Maggie!! was a Trooper!!
    skybill

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  17. God I hated that stuff. I think they came up with it just to piss us off even more and fight that much harder.

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  18. ate c-rats for two weeks straight after the water main to sand hill, ft.benning blew in 1981. they suck after the first day or two, especially the 1949 ones. better warm? try ft. benning in july warm, then we'll talk. we liked the sides and accessory items though.

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  19. When I was in Air Force Basic Training in 1976 we were given a C-Rat for lunch on the day we did the obstacle course. It had been produced during WW2! I didn't have any problem with it. I'm not sure, but it may have even had cigarettes in it. It looks like the ones riverider had in 1981 were even older.

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  20. I had a dozen or so C-rats. There was always something I found I couldn't eat. When the transition over to MRE's it was the same way with some of the meals. They did get better but I had to live off of them for 4 months. I would have to be very hungry to tear into a MRE now.

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