You think C-rations and MREs are bad news? Welcome to better dining through osmosis.
When I was growing up, I had an uncle who was in the National Guard. He lived in Connecticut with his lovely wife on a wide spread where they had horses (horses!) and an electrified wire that ran under the corral’s top railing to prevent said horses from brushing up against it. This is where I learned, at an early age, that a long stalk of wild grass will indeed conduct electricity and make you pee your pants. Anyway, my uncle would sometimes bring back C-rats for us kids to munch on and gave us little treats like camo face paint compacts, Army Ranger booby trap manuals (use the plastic spoons from the C-rats combined with everyday, ordinary clothespins to create a trigger for trip wires), and one time he even showed me a “clacker” used to detonate claymore mines (although he didn’t let me keep this – now that was one wise judgment call). Before anybody asks, I will admit up front that I did use the booby trap manuals on our avocado farm in Camarillo to [A] lure my cousin Robert and my little sister Mika into a tiger pit (read: 2-foot hole in the ground covered with leaves and filled with water instead of pungee sticks) and [B] purposefully start a fire on our property with gopher gas bombs and diesel fuel siphoned from my dad’s car (I thought I had fully extinguished the blaze but it later started up again and would have burned down our house if we hadn’t seen the smoke when we were driving by that part of the property to go to the store. Sorry! My bad.).
The best C-rats, hands down, were the freeze dried ice cream packs, which came in one flavor, Neapolitan, and were eaten as is and did not need reconstitution. We tried some of the entrees like spaghetti w/meatballs and some questionable chicken concoctions, but these were really quite nasty, almost inedible, which is saying a lot since we were kids and ate almost anything (for instance, my favorite drink growing up was milk mixed with Dr. Pepper, and my little bro was famous for eating pillbugs). I felt really sorry for my uncle when we saw what he had to eat while out on the field (I seem to recall him mentioning that Cadillac made the C-rats for some reason. Yes, Cadillac the boat maker.). But he seemed to be having a good time overall and would regale us with tales of firing a .50 cal M2 machine gun from an APC and setting hills ablaze with tracers, playing “army laser tag” with the newly issued MILES gear, and the merits of using a Lansky sharpening kit in contrast to a common whetstone for sharpening blades. Damn, I love him for that.
He also introduced me to the Civil Air Patrol when he moved out west, and I participated for a while with the hopes of one day being able to bomb submarines off the California coast like the heroes of old. You have to remember that these were the days of Top Gun, when Take My Breath Away seemed like a good song to fantasize making out with a girl to and my buddy Dustin’s dad, a fighter pilot, was involved with actually firing a missile in the movie (he was like the coolest guy in school for a while, obviously).
But where was I? Ah, yes, osmosis. Does anybody remember that Garfield strip where he has a bunch of books strapped to his head and he’s saying “I’m learning by osmosis?” Well, I really fucking hate that strip (Whoa. Who opened the hate valve, Bodhi?). Digressions aside, might I volunteer the opinion that between the choices of eating food dry or eating food reconstituted with urine, the average soldier might just lean toward eating it dry. Like, every time. Is bacteria-less urine any less urine tasting? Or perhaps they simply don’t season the food since it would make everything taste too salty (maybe the JSDF can use this tactic for their soldiers from Nagoya).
The article mentions the damage that urea does to your kidneys, which is important I think. There is some debate whether drinking your own urine when you are dying of thirst is more harmful than good or not, mostly because its a diuretic, I think. It makes your cells shrink; it is the anti-Pocari Sweat of the beverage world. Then again, I often read about millions of people in China that swear by daily doses of urine for good health. Then again, some of the Chinese herbal shops I’ve seen sell tiger dick and toad anus for increased male potency, so I’ll perhaps keep my opinion that drinking your own pee (or eating it, even sans-bacteria) might not be in your best interest, health-wise.
Besides, it gives you peepee breath.
Update: Before Dave Barry steals it, yes Indestructible Sandwich is a good name for a rock band.