On Wed, Apr 16, 2003 at 07:30:32PM +0100, Kate L Pugh said:
>  - armed forces as per the article

I actually used to like my RatPacks (also known as MREs - Meals Ready to 
Eat which follows the military convention of putting the canonical name 
and then the use or description after - this is important later)

When I first started using them they came in tins - you'd boil up your 
mess tin (the rivets on the side which attach the handle are spaced to 
allow you to measure water) and then dent the side of the tin and heat 
it up (the dent prevents it from exploding) then open it up (they have 
these little tin openers which take a certain getting used to but which 
are fantastic once you've got the hang of it) and then use the water to 
make tea or chocolate.

The cooking was done on little hexamine burners - hexamine being solid 
paraffin fuel which looks suspiciously like Kendal Mint Cake.

There were several tips and tricks to eating the food out of them. 

For example you used your packet of rolos and melted them in the rolled
oats (porridge to you and I), adding a bit of your cocoa powder - this
made breakfast a lot more palatable. You never ate your bacon burger
because frying took too long - but you took it home to use as a snack
when you got off exercise. It tasted foul cold. You could tip the non
dairy whitener over flames to make pretty green fireballs - this was
obviously not great if you were trying to conceal your position but then
you wouldn't be lighting a fire anyway. 

You got two types of biscuits - biscuits brown and biscuits fruit. 
Biscuits brown were foul (like hard tack) but meant you got meat paste. 
Biscuits fruit were like garibaldi biscuits.

You soon learnt to recognise what type of stuff you'd get from the
serial code on the side of the box (which also had a targeting bullseye
so you could zero your weapon).

Later they changed to boil in the bag meals which were much nicer cold 
and also easier to spice up by taking along a little sachet of garlic 
salt or a bottle of tabasco.

Most people ended up bringing along their own spoon which they'd use for 
eating, usually having it hung round your neck on a piece of 220 

> And any other ideas people can think of.

I've caught my own rabbit in a snare, skinned and gutted it, eaten snake
and, insect and various other horrible things and worked on a sheep
station in Australia where we picked out a lamb, killed it, roasted it
and were tucking in a couple of hours later to a lovely fresh roast

I went to boarding school for 10 years - the food was pretty extreme 
there as well :)

experience is just cached common sense