Jan 9, 2012

Hold the Mayo!

The Two-Year Sandwich via BBC
The military’s M.R.E.--the Meal Ready to Eat, or those air-sealed packages full of gummy pastes and freeze-dried dreck that soldiers carry into the field--is getting a much-needed upgrade. But it’s not in the form of better tasting dehydrated foods or better freeze-drying technology. Rather, the U.S. Army has developed the world’s most cutting edge sandwich, the BBC reports, one that can be served fresh after sitting on the shelf for a full two years.
When food breaks down--when it rots--it does so as a result of various chemical and biological processes. Some of these are inherent in the ingredients themselves, others are caused by bacteria. But almost universally, these processes require water and/or oxygen to transpire. So the Army didn’t need to reinvent the sandwich or its ingredients to create its long-duration lunch items. But they did need to figure out how to make a sandwich that eliminates water and oxygen from the equation.
Perhaps more difficult is keeping oxygen away from the sandwich. To do so, each one is packed in an air-sealed package with an oxygen scavenger--a small packet of iron filings that pulls oxygen from the ambient air and locks it up in a layer of rust. This keeps oxygen away from things like bread, where it could feed a reaction resulting in mold and decay.
Devoid of oxygen and water, a sandwich can last a long time--two years in this case. And, if the BBC video report is to be believed, the grunts seem to like the two-year sandwich. 


  1. I have a box of MRE's in the garage. Bought 'em back during Y2K. (Yes I believed some of the hype.) A sucker born every minute, that's me. This TWO YEAR OLD SANDWICH sounds like a WONDERFUL invention for our ladies and gentleman in uniform. Hope it tastes as GOOD as the BBC claims. It could revolutionize the culinary world.

  2. Sounds a little like my grade school cafeteria lunches.

  3. Reminds me of putting some rice in the salt shaker, or a piece of bread in the cookie tin. Yet I can't help but wonder if some of the iron isn't getting ingested somehow.

  4. I have to laugh reading this because of memories of the 1950's where we were eating 'C' rations from WWII. It would sure be lighter in a pack, this new stuff. We had a pack of cigarettes with every three meals. They were Green ball luckies. We smoked them anyway, they were dry and burned the throat. I guess they don't pack cigarettes anymore. freeze dried or otherwise. LOL

  5. When we were kids we used to make tea parties out of K rations. This would have been 1955 are so and they were still quite good to us kids.

  6. Some MRE's taste better than others... kind of like any other type of dehydrated food products. Interesting concept on the sandwich. Hope it does taste as good as they claim.


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