Last fall Abby and I received a big box from my sister Nicole and her husband Tracey. We opened it to find nine FEMA-issued vegetarian MREs, or “Meal Ready to Eat.” When hurricane Isaac roared through New Orleans last August, they were without power for five days, and one government response was to dispatch FEMA teams with MREs. Nicole and Tracey either ate or stored their meals with meat, and sent us the vegetarian ones.
With a camping trip coming up, I decided to give the legendary MRE its day in court.
According to WikiPedia, here are some nicknames for the MRE: “Mr. E” (mystery), “Meals Rejected by Everyone”, “Meals, Rarely Edible”, “Meals Rejected by the Enemy”, “Morsels, Regurgitated, Eviscerated”, “Mentally Retarded Edibles”, “Meal Ready to Expel”, “Meal, Ready to Excrete”, “Materials Resembling Edibles”, “Morale Reducing Elements”, “Meals Rejected by Ethiopians”, “Meals Requiring Enemas”, “Meals Refusing to Exit”, “Meals Refusing to Excrete”, and “Massive Rectal Expulsions”.
Despite these colorful appellations, I found my “pasta with garden vegetables in tomato sauce” MRE to be decently tasty and apparently nutritious. Preparation is easier than the obtusely-written government instructions indicate, and the product is nice and hot when it comes out of the pouch.