The video clip below shows a BBC reporter skeptically sampling US MREs. You can gauge for yourself the attitude he takes towards them.
But one of the truly fascinating things about the Internet is how it can present a variety of reactions it presents to the same phenomena. In contrast to the BBC reporter is a Japanese man who has made the study of MREs from different countries his hobby. One might almost say that MREs are his obsession. This gentleman’s YouTube channel describes him as a civilian employee in a US military base who goes around buying MREs of different types on E-bay auctions. He has dozens of videos featuring rations from a wide variety of nations. There are rations from the UK, the JSDF, China, France, Australia, Russia, Canada. He has stuff from Chile, Korea, Italy, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. He’s even reviewed 20 year old East German rations, after which you understand just why the Warsaw Pact was so aggressive. In each video he opens up the package and exhibits the contents to the viewer. Sometimes (as in the case of the French rations) he actually tries to eat them.
I am not sure what one can learn from this fascinating parade of combat comestibles. But there is doubtless something. Perhaps some American graduate student in sociology or archaeology, desperate for a doctoral thesis subject, can follow the trail blazed by this tireless Japanese MRE enthusiast, and tell the world, in plain English, what the world of MREs tells us about a nation’s attitudes towards the tradeoffs between nutrition, taste and combat utility. Napoleon once said that an Army travels on its stomach. Maybe to some extent, it is characterized by its stomach.