June 24, 2013

MRE Week day 1: garlic and herb chicken breast

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So it begins.  A week of punishment.  7 MRE meals, with the first one just a few hours after I landed back in Hong Kong.  As I've never "prepared" an MRE before, I had to punch up another video on YouTube for a refresher...

I finally got to take out one of the packages and break open the tough plastic pouch to get to the contents...

After laying out the individual packages on the table, we can see that there are the following contents:

A main dish: garlic and herb chicken breast

A side dish: au gratin potatoes

Snack #1:  crackers

Apple jelly for the crackers

Snack #2: Cran-apple Ranger Bar

Beverage powder for orange-flavored drink

A flame-less heater pack, as well as seasoning and a plastic spoon.  Not exactly environmentally-friendly with all the packaging...

I immediately saw an issue: the instructions on the flame-less heater says to make sure the heater is placed below the food pouch while heating, but I've actually got two pouches to heat for this meal... and would need to sandwich the heater between them.  Is that gonna be a problem?  Will it cause overheating?!

Fortunately, one of the guys who did a similar menu in the video didn't seem to have problems with two pouches, so I breathed a sigh of relief and went about heating my dinner.  After sandwiching the heating pack between the two pouches inside the plastic bag, I added the requisite amount of water, made sure there was contact between the water and the heater, then stuffed the plastic bag inside the paper carton.  As instructed, I placed it in an incline position against a "rock or something"...  I could hear the chemical reaction taking place, and the package getting a little warmer.

After about 15 minutes, I took the pouches out and opened them.  My mistake was not realizing that there was liquid inside the pouch for chicken breast, so half the juices got onto the plate.  After squeezing most of the contents out of the other pouch, dinner was ready!

Garlic herb chicken breast with au gratin potatoes - it's been a while since I ate canned food, and after the initial shock I guess it was as expected.  The texture chicken was a funny mix of chewy and mushy, and actually a small piece had fallen apart as I was removing it from the pouch.

The muscle fibers of the chicken were clearly defined...  Taste-wise I guess it was OK.  Edible but not enjoyable.  The potato fared a little better, but the cheese tasted completely artificial... my first thought was Kraft Velveeta.

Mais, bien sûr, we have to have wine with each meal!  I picked a different wine to pair with each main course, and for tonight we have a wine whose name literally means chicken - to go with our chicken breast.

2010 La Poule Blanche - 60% Chardonnay, 20% Sauvignon, 20% Viognier.  Initially a little pungent, showing pipi de chat from the Sauvignon Blanc.  Alcoholic. Lemon citrus, oaky, a hint of floral coming from the Viognier.  A little sweet on the nose.  Not bad for HKD 69... Well at least it was made by/for Sacha Lichine - Alexis Lichine's son - so I'm buying something of a brand...

After finishing the main course, it was time for a snack!  First up was the crackers with apple jelly.  Gotta say that while the crackers weren't bad, I got a feeling that they were designed to deliver energy rather than taste.  There was something about the density of this thing...

...and we wash this down with our orange carbohydrate electrolyte beverage powder.  It's been years since I last drank any Tang, but I'm guessing this is similar?  It did taste a little salty, thanks to the electrolytes.

Finally we have the Cran-apple Ranger Bar.  This was actually very yummy, with plenty of crunch and tasty morsels of dried fruits inside.

As I wrote in the introduction to this week, I've got the civilian versions of the meals, so they don't have as many snacks (and calories) as the full military versions.  Well, my hunger's satiated and I don't feel too full.  At the end of the day, I've consumed 930 calories, with 235 calories coming from fat.  Not bad!  One down, six more to go...

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