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.