Despite being designed for maximum shelf life, military rations do have an expiration date. The real question is what happens to rations when they have lived a couple decades longer than intended? What do they look like? Taste like? Smell like?
Steve1989 has made it his mission to find out.
According to his Youtube channel, Steve1989 is a member of mreinfo.com, a website dedicated to providing information about Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs) to the military community. He and a dozen or so others from mreinfo.com have moved their community to Youtube in order to personally review–and eat–vintage military rations from around the globe.
Of course, in order for an MRE to be ‘vintage’ it must also be quite old. And, most likely, very expired.
One of Steve1989’s most popular videos featured “the oldest peanut butter ever eaten.” Said peanut butter came from a B-Unit can from a Post-Korean War-era Ration, Combat, Individual (RCI) dating back to 1955. In the video, he explains that this particular MRE was bulky and inefficient due to its size.
As he unpacks the ration, things don’t look too bad. The crackers smelled good and fresh. The seedless blackberry jam leaked a little, but he was still able to open the can and give it a taste.
“I hope I don’t get botulism from this,” the Youtuber quips after putting some jam on his tongue.
The jam turned out to be somewhat edible, but the cocoa powder was another story. When he mixed the powder with hot water, Steve1989 was overcome by the rancid smell as the concoction bubbled in a water glass. Still, he drank it anyway.
“That is disgusting,” he said. “It takes like chlorinated hot chocolate.”
The star of the RCI was the 61 year-old peanut butter, which was so tasty that Steve1989 ate half of the can in one sitting.
Steve1989 reportedly only suffered indigestion after eating the MRE, and since publishing his video 6 days ago he has already eaten and reviewed three more military rations.