Brian, as you may have guessed, is in the military. He had left work a bit early and snagged one of the MRE's (Meal, Ready to Eat; oh the military loves their acronyms) for me as he figured I would be amused.
Apparently each of these are between 1000-3000 calories, designed to be eaten once a day (though many soldiers eat three or four and subsequently return home with a bit of pudge). This particular meal was, according to Brian, "Not one of the best, but not so bad as the instant tuna casserole." This particular one contained a chicken cutlet reminiscent of the ones you were probably served in a school cafeteria, jalapeño catsup,jalapeño cheese spread, a piece of wheat bread, a spiced pound cake, M&M's (naturally), and some minestrone. Plus, tea, vanilla cappuccino, salt and pepper, mints, utensil, and a moist towelette were throw in.
Oh, you may be wondering how we cooked all this. Well, thanks to the process of advanced chemical engineering, the military has that figured out. To cook the chicken we inserted into a plastic pouch a packet with heating powder. The powder, when mixed with an ounce of water in the pouch, creates a chain reaction that basically boils the water on spot, poaching the chicken which is in it's own pouch (the reason for that is the chemical and the water are both slightly toxic. "Do not eat chemical heater or its water byproducts!" says a warning). While poaching you have to prop it up against a "rock or something" according to the diagram. Seriously.
Here it is cooking:
So what does the final meal taste and look like? Well, the chicken cutlet when smeared with the catsup isn't horrible. It tastes like Middle School. It's also the only food Eat Beast ever begrudgingly ate. He tasted it. Spit it out. Looked at me. And then, realizing he would get nothing else, proceeded to eat it. It was a first.
How our boys and girls eat this I have no idea. All I know is I am going to contact the USO to send a care package with many tasty things inside it to someone who needs it. I highly suggest doing the same if you can. Our military deserves better than this.
Other Care Package Links:
OMP Care Package Information
Guide to Packages