In Afghanistan Troops Eat the Meals of Home

Since the war first began in 2001, many soldiers of the almost 50 nations in Afghanistan have survived on pre-packaged meals filled with as many calories as possible and seasoned with the unique tastes of home. Called an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) in the United States, these hardcover book sized packages serve two functions: to nourish the hard working troops and to give them a happy reminder of home. Each country’s MRE includes staple ingredients to fill the belly, along with tasty dessert items and the obligatory moist towelette. For more on what the troops are eating and additional pictures by photojournalist Ashley Gilbertson see the excellent article by the New York Times.

Denmark (below): meatballs in brown sauce, tuna pate, hot chocolate powder, instant coffee, tea bag, sugar, salt, pepper, toothpicks, moist towelette, sponge.

France (below): pork, rice and pineapple dish, cassoulet (sausages, duck confit and beans), venison pate, fish soup, vanilla rice pudding, country biscuits, fruit jelly, fruit nougat, caramels, chocolate, powdered lemon beverage, tea bags, instant coffee, hot chocolate powder, sugar, salt and pepper, napkins.

Germany (below): goulash with potatoes, cevapcici (a ground beef dish), rye bread, bauernwurst, beef pate, soft cheese, fruit salad, crackers, sour cherry and apricot marmalade, chocolate, exotic beverage powder, instant coffee, powdered tea, sugar, skim milk creamer, moist towelette, matches, salt, chewing gum.

Italy (below): pasta and bean soup, beef tortellini, mackerel in olive oil, canned sausages, fruit salad, fruit bar, fruit jelly, sweet and savory crackers, chocolate, salt, whole fiber tablets, vitamin tablets, instant coffee, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, matches, three toothpicks, three toothbrushes.

Ukraine (below): barley porridge with beef, “Tourist’s breakfast” canned beef, dry biscuits, European herring in oil, sausage meat, chicken broth, iced tea powder, orange beverage powder, suger, moist towelette.

United States (below): pork ribs, barbecue sause, tortillas, potato cheddar soup, blackberry jam, peanut butter, Skittles, nut raisin mix, chewing gum, sugar, instant coffee, creamer, lemon lime beverage powder, salt, moist towelette, toilet paper, matches.


Benjamin Starr

Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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  1. Juliesays:

    In Canada we’d get stuffed cabbage or the lucky ones would get mac n cheese… or poutine *drool*

  2. Rubbermansays:

    So, who has an MRE suitable for a vegetarian? India? Pakistan? I’d like to see those… :-)

  3. Bobsays:

    It would be interesting to show what the average Taliban meal in the field might be.

  4. Mattsays:

    Well, I recently got a few cases of American MRE’s…. out of every type of MRE in those cases (about 40 types), only 2 had items inside that DIDN’T have soy in them.

    I’m allergic to soy, so I had to get rid of the MRE’s, and start packaging my own.

    I’m frankly surprised that the gov would be force feeding soy to our troops. I am amazed they would be forcing that much of an endocrine atagonist into their bodies, I would assume they would do everything they could to AVOID the soy contaminating their food and t-levels.

  5. bookwenchsays:

    Damn. MRE’s have come a loooong way since I picked half a chicken foot out of my Chicken A La King.

  6. Harlan Kanoa N Sheppardsays:

    Very cool glance at the cuisines of the world’s fighting forces.

  7. bob dolesays:

    I liked the beef stew MRE’s, the vegetarian MRE’s are terrible, and those fucking protein bars orwhatever taste like shit.

  8. martysays:

    and we used to get hot sauce to make it taste good lol a lot of hot souce

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