Napoleon Bonaparte once said "An army marches on its stomach." A military can be faster, stronger, and with better leadership, but ultimately hunger plays the heavier part in a conflict. To that end, the military ration has been traced back as far as the French & Indian War in colonial British America, though the standard of a 'ration' wasn't defined until America put our foot down during the early days of the revolutionary war. Back then, you were given ingredients to cook. Flour or bread, a few different protiens, and the original MRE's - jerky and hardtack biscuits.

While the packaging changed significantly over that first hundred and fifty years, the food was essentially the same. It wasn't until The Great War that countries started packing shelf stable foods into easy-travel tins. World War II was where the military ration really took off. America was pulled into another global war taking place on two other sides of the earth. Given our incredible ability to produce and manufacture in those days, the standard ration was made in such a bulk, our military was still munching on them into the 1980's when the MRE was introduced.

The MRE was a game changer. It was as close to 'normal' food that could be packaged and sent all over the world. Easy to pack in, easy to prepare, and a ton of calories for the fighting force. As they tested the MRE across the military branches, the one most requested on the comment card was pizza... possibly the one thing that was nearly impossible to make in a shelf-stable form. But since nothing is impossible in America, after many failed attempts over the years, they finally managed to release a sustainable pizza MRE in 2018.

Odds are these were created and tested long before their release, there are several check-points throughout the life of an MRE before it can hit rucksacks, but the reviews are pretty stellar. Better than frozen pizza, ready on the go.

If you're game for the gnarliest of MRE reviews, here's potted meat from 1899-ish...

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