A Day’s Meal In A Can The Size Of A Cake Of Soap

Today’s military MRE (Meals Ready-to-Eat) is a descendant of this military meal in a can. The description is not exactly mouth-watering, but is a pretty entertaining read:

War breaks out, say, with the Japs, the Germans, or the bloomin’ British. Each Yankee brave in khaki has one of these cans of first-aid-to-the-empty dropped into his haversack, where it keeps fresh for months, and where it must be regularly accounted for at inspection until falls the unhappy day when the enemy cuts off the commissariat and the pabulum fails to show up.

Then each boy in drab, squatting by the good camp fire, grabs the loose end of the blue bandeau enwreathing the head of his can and gives her a twist. It works after the principle of the tin ribbon around the fragrant sardine can — only it really works.

From the package fall three slabs of something very like the brown cakes of chocolate that small children buy from train butchers and with which they delight to crumb up the plush seats of the passenger coaches…

I was treated to a sample bite of the new emergency ration by Gen. Sharpe — and one bite, you must remember, is equal in nutriment to one full course at one of President Taft’s state banquets. Taking the General’s advice to spoil my knife and spare my teeth, I hacked off with my trusty blade a square inch fragment which compensated me for the pie and cheese end of luncheon which, in my haste to meet the General, I had just foregone.

It tasted much like the popular brands of milk chocolate, but not so sweet.

A DAY’S MEAL IN A CAN THE SIZE OF A CAKE OF SOAP: Commissary General Henry G. Sharpe Has Invented a New Half-Pound Emergency Ration for Our Soldiers (PDF)

From November 13, 1910

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