Meal, Ready to Eat, better known as MREs, are food packages given to soldiers who are overseas. Recently, it has become quite the trend on YouTube to try these MREs at home. After binging dozen upon dozen of videos, I decided I needed to try these myself. All it took was a quick click to Amazon, and I had an MRE in just two days.
Thankfully, I received two different meals: Chili with Beans and Beef Shredded with Barbecue sauce. Each package included an entrée, as well as some sides, drinks, desserts, and eating accessories. I am shocked at how so much food fit into such a tiny bag.
Each bag comes with a fruit-based powder to add to water. It seems very similar to Gatorade until you taste it. The taste is very watery, so I do not recommend mixing it with more than 2/3 a bottle of water. That way, the flavors should pop out much more. With my second beverage packet, I used much less water so that the flavor came out better, and it was actually quite refreshing.
The MRE also came with instant coffee. Crazy enough, I had to make the coffee in a plastic bag that heats up. The taste is definitely just standard instant coffee, but the method of cooking is way cooler.
Each pack came with a variety of different snacks. For instance, the chili MRE came with crackers and cheese spread. The crackers were very hard. Given the storage life and cooking circumstances that MRE’s usually experience, I was not shocked by this. The cheese tasted very reminiscent of a typical cheese whiz.
The other MRE package came with a similar combo, but instead it was tortilla wraps and jalapeño cheese spread. The tortillas actually tasted very fresh, especially in comparison to the crackers. The jalapeño cheese spread was also much better, as the jalapeños gave the spread the flair it needed to elevate its flavor beyond traditional cheese whiz.
Another snack provided was cornbread. I was super impressed with this one because it was so tasty and moist. If it was not packaged as it was, I definitely would have thought it was just baked that day. The flavor was really good, despite being a tad too sweet.
Finally, I arrived at dessert. Only one of the MREs actually had dessert, and it was a fudge brownie. Again, I was surprised at how well the baked good held its moisture. If I went by that alone, I honestly would not be able to tell the difference between a homemade brownie or an MRE brownie.
However, its flavor was not quite as delightful as I wanted. It was not necessarily bad, but it tasted very much like a protein bar and was missing a strong chocolate flavor.
After trying all the snacks and drinks, I decided to move onto the entrées. The coolest part about these is that I actually had to cook them myself—but without any kitchen equipment.
The MREs come with a heating bag and heating pad. You stick both the pad and the entree into the bag, pour a bit of water in, quickly close it up, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Immediately, the bag steams up and becomes scolding hot — so hot that you must use the cardboard sleeve provided. I honestly really enjoyed this process. It felt like a crazy science experiment kit that magically cooked food.
First, I tried the chili with beans. The flavor was definitely a little sweet, but the back end had a wonderful spice to it; as I continued to eat, the sweetness dissipated. I was actually incredibly impressed with how good the chili was. I honestly did not want the bag to end.
However, I did not have such a great response to the second entrée. The second entrée came with beans and barbecue beef. The beans did not have the spark of the chili and actually tasted like plastic. The barbecue beef was unfortunately not any better, as its consistency was far too mushy, and its taste is similar to what I imagine wet cat food tastes like.
While the MRE’s flavors and quality were hit or miss, I did really enjoy eating the meals. They were surprisingly filling and tons of fun to go through, especially when it came to putting together my food and cooking it. I would definitely eat one again.
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