Author Topic: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...  (Read 37765 times)

Trusty Mutsi

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MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« on: September 30, 2008, 07:28:31 PM »
Hey all,

Just curious about something. A buddy of mine at work knows I'm getting into this new way of life, and I was looking into rice and pinto bean storgae, and he keeps asking "Why not just get MREs?"

So... why not just get MREs?

Is it because they don't last as long? They're more expensive?

dreadstalker

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2008, 08:00:14 PM »
They are a great deal more expensive.

Best advice on storing food? Store what you eat and eat what you store. You don't have to go buy anything special. Just add to what you already buy. It allows you to rotate your stock better and take advantage of good deals that pop up on what you already use.
add in the likelihood that a massive change of diet will play heck with your digestive system at a time when you don't need the extra trouble.


Trusty Mutsi

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2008, 09:32:03 PM »
Cool. I will tell him he is a big stupid tomorrow :D

No, seriously, I'll be happy to get him off the MRE track. He seems to want quick survival solutions, but isn't willing to put in too much work. I've told him about the podcast 3 times (while not being pushy) and nothin' :(

They are a great deal more expensive.

Best advice on storing food? Store what you eat and eat what you store. You don't have to go buy anything special. Just add to what you already buy. It allows you to rotate your stock better and take advantage of good deals that pop up on what you already use.
add in the likelihood that a massive change of diet will play heck with your digestive system at a time when you don't need the extra trouble.



Offline ElyasWolff

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2008, 09:43:55 PM »
Beans and rice are staples. I store MRE entries because I eat them while hiking or backpacking.
You can buy the individual pieces of MREs here:

http://www7.mailordercentral.com/longlifefood/home.asp

They are easy and quick. You can eat them on the move and require no water or cooking time (except for an MRE heater, or stored in a pocket to warm them up) again good backpacking food.

jeremya

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2008, 10:33:42 PM »
I am thinking of storing 2 weeks to a month of beans, rice and canned chicken plus another 2 weeks to a month of MRE's.
For me it's mainly an issue of space and shelf life. Plus if you need to bug out MRE's might be a better choice.

-- Jeremy

kaiservontexas

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2008, 10:44:47 PM »
I think MREs are probably best suited for bugging out or getting home. MREs are also to expensive to just stack up in storage. I did recently got a couple to try out to see if I want them for my GHB and camping purposes. Other then that I have never played with MREs before.

My prep strategy was following the adage eat what you store, store what you eat. With that in mind I keep canned meats, beans, and the like in supply. You can be amazed also what comes in a can! If only I could order the cheeseburgers and bourbon cubes from Deutschland. But places like MREdepot.com (not an advert, but an example) have canned cakes that last about ten years. Imagine that one, but those items are also expensive compared to that which you can get at the grocery store. I think the best starting point is those things which are commonly sold and consumed and found at the local supermarket. Once you have started there and got to where you feel comfortable then start getting the more exotic or specialty items. Just my two cents.     

Offline creuzerm

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2008, 10:48:55 PM »
I think the MREs vs Rice and Beans shows a difference in mindset. Quick and easy vs a more work but more long term outlook in survival. Neither is wrong. Neither is right. I think there needs to be a balance between the two.


MREs are big, expensive, and really handy to have around.  3 days worth of MREs for your 72 hour kit is a good idea.

I prefer getting some ready-to-eat meals from the grocery store. Canned soup, dinty more & hormel microwave meals, etc. I just found some 'Kitchens of India' brand 'Rice Delicacies'. These are heat and eat vegetable and rice side dishes packed in those pouches like tuna is found in. If you open the box carefully, you can slip in a package of tuna into the box. Glue it back shut. You just made a $2.50 MRE.

A pound of rice and a pound of beans was less then $2 last time I bought them. This is food for 1 person for most of a week. It takes the same amount of space as an MRE. This is a pain to make and really boring unless you know how to cook it.

The first half of this year I bought about 1 year of rice and beans for 2 at a price that works out to be about $0.15 a day. This will fit into a rubbermaid storage tub. You can't do that with MREs.

I don't LIKE rice and beans. Never have. I try to work them into 1 meal each over the course of a week. This is a lifestyle change. I think it's an important one. I actually have a meal of rice and beans for every time I eat out at a fast food restaurant. I go out every Friday for lunch. This limits how often I eat out at a fast food joint.  **grin**

One way to look at  'rice and beans' is as a metaphor for food and staples that you will eat that will store well. Figure half the people talking about this stuff are from 'the south' where rice and beans are a staple. It can be noodles and spaghetti sauce ( I have lots of this). Flour and sugar. Some flours don't store very long at all, but the unground wheat stores for a very long time. You just need a tool to grind it. If your a meat and potatoes guy, like I am, it can be canned meats, canned potatoes,  and potato flakes.

Another thing to look at is the sustainability of beans.  Many dried beans you can stick in the ground, they will sprout, grow, and give you more beans. Same with wheat. Same with shell corn. Rice can't be grown, and the outer part of the seed has been taken off. MREs can't be gown.

For just getting into this new way of life, simply keep food in your pantry. First try to keep a week ahead of your pantry groceries. If you normally keep a can of corn on the shelf, try to keep 2. If you have to run to the store in the middle of making dinner, get 3 cans, your eating one now, you got 1 for the next meal, and 1 for the pantry. When you use that next can, you replace it.

When you have 1 week of food that you normally eat in the pantry, shoot for 2 weeks, then a month. Then 2 months. Don't try to do all of this tomorrow. Ease into it. $5 worth of canned goods every time you go to the store doesn't cost much, and is actually a lot of food. Especially if you keep at it and work at expanding your pantry.

Have a full bag of flour in your pantry at all times. When you open it, get a new bag right away while your using that open bag.

All of a sudden, you can buy much of your groceries on sale, as you don't NEED to pay full price for them. You can wait till that next sale comes around. You have 7 cans of them in the pantry.

Try this. set aside some money for your food storage. Lets use $100. Spend half of that on MREs, and half on rice and beans. When you get the rice and beans, make sure you get a small bag of each as well as the big bags. When you get it all home. Put it all on your kitchen table. Unpack it all. Look at it. Walk around the table. Which makes you FEEL better, more prepared. Now make a meal out of them. Eat the MREs for a day. If your a family of more then 2, let the kids pick out their MREs. A different day, open the small bags of rice and beans, find a recipe online, and make them. (rice pudding is a great way to make the leftover rice go away). Which tasted better. Which would you get sick of sooner. Which HURT less thinking this is for my long term storage, why am I eating it now.
Once you have it all packed away in the back of the closet. How does that make you feel. I am hoping you got the warm and fuzzies from it. Look in your pantry. Does it look bare now? Go ahead and work on increasing your pantry. You have time to do it now. You have LOTS of storage food put up between the MREs and rice and beans. You are now already prepared to take on those little bumps in the night, and the no so little ones too.

Offline Beetle

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2008, 09:37:19 AM »
I have been buying a bag of freeze dried hiking food every time we go on our weekly Wal Mart run. They cost like $5 and usually feed two people. I put them every where ( in the vehicle, travel trailer, shelves and on my quads). Its amazing how quickly they build up and it doesn't feel like your breaking the bank buying them one at a time. Plus they actually taste good and will store for years.

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2008, 09:50:56 AM »
This is turning into an awesome thread and I am giving both Trusty Mutsi and creuzerm karma bosts, one for response and one for getting this topic started.  Remember to give Karma to great posts folks. (you have to make 10 posts before you have the power to give negative or positive karma).

creuzerm has really made some great points and adding to it I think for many it is learning how to use items that many have forgotten.  Like four!  How many 25 year old people that live in the city know what the hell to do with a bag of flour today?

Here is one easy, easy one.  Beer bread.

3 cups flour (sifted)
teaspoons baking powder (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
teaspoon salt (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
1/4 cup sugar
1 (12 ounce) can beer
1/2 cup melted butter (1/4 cup will do just fine)

I actually have been adding about 2 extra ounces of beer and got better moister biscuit like bread.  If you don't drink don't worry you can use soda water and get the same result, lacking a bit of flavor.  Hell even if you don't drink cooking with beer burns off the alcohol anyway.

As creuzerm said many "don't like rice and beans" but many would if they got creative and learned to use them as components.

Some beans, some seasoning and some canned ham and a bit of bullion, may be an onion and garlic and a bit of bacon makes a soup very few will turn away.

Rice, how about a bit of chicken and bullion and some peas, carrots or other veggies and some soy sauce and and egg.  Stir fry that and most non "rice eaters" change pretty quickly.

Good stuff, keep it comming!



Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2008, 10:27:54 AM »
MREs are more expensive because they are Ready-To-Eat.  You will always pay for convenience.  IMO, they are great for eating on the go, but for long term storage as a bug-in food, they don't hold much value.  You can get alot more beans/rice stored with the cost of MREs.  I'd rather have several pounds of dry goods (lasting 2-3 months) than 2-3 weeks worth of MREs.  It's all up to you.

Trusty Mutsi

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2008, 10:57:30 AM »
I finally read this. WOW, good stuff!

I think the MREs vs Rice and Beans shows a difference in mindset. Quick and easy vs a more work but more long term outlook in survival. Neither is wrong. Neither is right. I think there needs to be a balance between the two.


MREs are big, expensive, and really handy to have around.  3 days worth of MREs for your 72 hour kit is a good idea.

I prefer getting some ready-to-eat meals from the grocery store. Canned soup, dinty more & hormel microwave meals, etc. I just found some 'Kitchens of India' brand 'Rice Delicacies'. These are heat and eat vegetable and rice side dishes packed in those pouches like tuna is found in. If you open the box carefully, you can slip in a package of tuna into the box. Glue it back shut. You just made a $2.50 MRE.

A pound of rice and a pound of beans was less then $2 last time I bought them. This is food for 1 person for most of a week. It takes the same amount of space as an MRE. This is a pain to make and really boring unless you know how to cook it.

The first half of this year I bought about 1 year of rice and beans for 2 at a price that works out to be about $0.15 a day. This will fit into a rubbermaid storage tub. You can't do that with MREs.

I don't LIKE rice and beans. Never have. I try to work them into 1 meal each over the course of a week. This is a lifestyle change. I think it's an important one. I actually have a meal of rice and beans for every time I eat out at a fast food restaurant. I go out every Friday for lunch. This limits how often I eat out at a fast food joint.  **grin**

One way to look at  'rice and beans' is as a metaphor for food and staples that you will eat that will store well. Figure half the people talking about this stuff are from 'the south' where rice and beans are a staple. It can be noodles and spaghetti sauce ( I have lots of this). Flour and sugar. Some flours don't store very long at all, but the unground wheat stores for a very long time. You just need a tool to grind it. If your a meat and potatoes guy, like I am, it can be canned meats, canned potatoes,  and potato flakes.

Another thing to look at is the sustainability of beans.  Many dried beans you can stick in the ground, they will sprout, grow, and give you more beans. Same with wheat. Same with shell corn. Rice can't be grown, and the outer part of the seed has been taken off. MREs can't be gown.

For just getting into this new way of life, simply keep food in your pantry. First try to keep a week ahead of your pantry groceries. If you normally keep a can of corn on the shelf, try to keep 2. If you have to run to the store in the middle of making dinner, get 3 cans, your eating one now, you got 1 for the next meal, and 1 for the pantry. When you use that next can, you replace it.

When you have 1 week of food that you normally eat in the pantry, shoot for 2 weeks, then a month. Then 2 months. Don't try to do all of this tomorrow. Ease into it. $5 worth of canned goods every time you go to the store doesn't cost much, and is actually a lot of food. Especially if you keep at it and work at expanding your pantry.

Have a full bag of flour in your pantry at all times. When you open it, get a new bag right away while your using that open bag.

All of a sudden, you can buy much of your groceries on sale, as you don't NEED to pay full price for them. You can wait till that next sale comes around. You have 7 cans of them in the pantry.

Try this. set aside some money for your food storage. Lets use $100. Spend half of that on MREs, and half on rice and beans. When you get the rice and beans, make sure you get a small bag of each as well as the big bags. When you get it all home. Put it all on your kitchen table. Unpack it all. Look at it. Walk around the table. Which makes you FEEL better, more prepared. Now make a meal out of them. Eat the MREs for a day. If your a family of more then 2, let the kids pick out their MREs. A different day, open the small bags of rice and beans, find a recipe online, and make them. (rice pudding is a great way to make the leftover rice go away). Which tasted better. Which would you get sick of sooner. Which HURT less thinking this is for my long term storage, why am I eating it now.
Once you have it all packed away in the back of the closet. How does that make you feel. I am hoping you got the warm and fuzzies from it. Look in your pantry. Does it look bare now? Go ahead and work on increasing your pantry. You have time to do it now. You have LOTS of storage food put up between the MREs and rice and beans. You are now already prepared to take on those little bumps in the night, and the no so little ones too.

Trusty Mutsi

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2008, 10:59:14 AM »
This is turning into an awesome thread and I am giving both Trusty Mutsi and creuzerm karma bosts, one for response and one for getting this topic started.  Remember to give Karma to great posts folks. (you have to make 10 posts before you have the power to give negative or positive karma).

Thanks!

3 cups flour (sifted)
teaspoons baking powder (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
teaspoon salt (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
1/4 cup sugar
1 (12 ounce) can beer
1/2 cup melted butter (1/4 cup will do just fine)

I actually have been adding about 2 extra ounces of beer and got better moister biscuit like bread.  If you don't drink don't worry you can use soda water and get the same result, lacking a bit of flavor.  Hell even if you don't drink cooking with beer burns off the alcohol anyway.

Is this something you can only make if you've oven is working?

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2008, 11:11:51 AM »
I could be done on the grill, indirect heat.  So run a burner on one side, bake it on the other but it would be a bit of a challenge.  I most certainly would work wonderfully in a solar oven, I got to build me one of those soon.

jeremya

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2008, 11:20:28 AM »
I think it's also important to think about what you have in your cupboard/fridge daily and have a plan for how you would use that in different situations.

Like if the power is out for an extended period of time.

-- Jeremy

Offline Hellboy

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2008, 07:00:37 PM »
We stock both at my house. My wife gets 25lb bags of rice at Sams club that we rotate through while keeping a couple "on the shelf". The MRE's stay in my "gun closet" with my other preps. The rice gets used and rotated, the MRE's sit "just in case".

Offline sassiesmom

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2008, 08:07:28 PM »
We haven't started to really stock up on MRE's yet, but we do have a fairly large pantry going.  I like the idea of having a couple of days worth of MRE's to get a person through the first little while of a crisis, but also having a long-term backup of staples such as canned meats, rice, beans, pasta, etc.  I'm hoping to get more of my pantry organized and catalogued so I know what I have and what I'll need.  One day!
Thanks for such great suggestions! 
Cathy
BC


Offline Roknrandy

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2008, 08:33:54 PM »
I keep three 25 pound bags (sams club) of white rice in the bottom of the freezer. It will last forever that way and most things get lost in the bottom get looked over this prevents that. I also keep 25 pounds of bread flour, sugar and ap flour that I use and rotate all the time

Offline ColdHaven

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2008, 08:36:07 PM »
MREs are expensive. I have thought about buying Mainstay rations as an alternative for both size, cost, and nutrition. For Bugging IN though, I have many kinds of beans and I have been learning how to cook them together, and with other things. Beans mean protien which is needed in a diet. They also contain carbs which are needed for fuel in a Survival scenario. What I say is this. If you do not like beans and rice, use herbs, and salt.  ;)  There hasn't been any beans that I have made that adding something to it doesn't improve its taste. Onions, pork, ect. However, herbs are a luxury.

One thing I do not hear too many people talk about is storing salt. I bought 3 lbs of iodine salt for .33 a piece. First of all salt improves taste. Second it helps preserves meats and vegetables. Third, it has iodine which you need in your diet and might not have in a survival scenario. I would also recommend bugging out with a bottle of multi-vitamins.

So, I would bring beans along on a Bug out or Bug in. They take longer to cook and more effort, but you can feed more people with them too for longer periods of time. MREs take up alot of room, and are essentially only one meal. I don't think I would ever choose to carry MREs unless they were the only thing around to grab. Though the water heaters would definitely help for many purposes. For mass storage though, I wonder if 6 gallon water containers would do well....

Offline lonestar

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2008, 08:56:25 PM »
I have been storing away rice and beans since March of this year.  Started by getting them at the LDS cannery.  That size is in a #10 can.  Ready to go.  NOw I am going towards buying the bulk bags of 20 lb rice and 50 lb pinto beans from local customers.  Then I go about putting them in 5 gallon pails in mylar bags for storage.  I personally have no problem with beans and rice.  I have grown up on them since a kid, due to the area I live in.

If you are looking at wanting to get MRE's best price I have found so far is at:  www.beprepared.com

One month for $260 plus $12 shipping.

Next part on this process is to start storing in foodsaver bags and also in canning jars.  (Just got the foodsaver mason jars adaptors today).

Other options for long term storage in this would be spaghetti and spaghetti sauce in jars.  For less than $3 dollars you have a good meal that even kids like.  Also easy to store and most everyone likes this.




Another option could also be corn.     :)








dreadstalker

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2008, 09:21:55 PM »
I most certainly would work wonderfully in a solar oven, I got to build me one of those soon.
For some pretty good solar oven plans try

http://solarcooking.org/plans/

jeremya

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2008, 09:29:07 PM »
My quick rice and beans recipe:

Mix some rice
Black Beans
and one can of chicken (I prefer to mash it up a bit)
Season to taste

I leave the ratio of rice and beans to you. I believe I used to use 1 cup of rice for a serving.

You can also saute some diced peppers and onions then mix in the rice, beans, and chicken or a can of corn or peas.

There are endless numbers of sauces and seasonings you can add to this dish. (Soy Sauce is very good on this.)

I ate a form of this every day for lunch for 3-4 months straight.

-- Jeremy

Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2008, 11:10:48 PM »
Jack, how's the show on Solar ovens coming?

You know what's funny?  I had the chance to do a science project on solar ovens in 9th grade.  I thought it was a crap idea at the time.  Now I'm really regretting that decision.  LOL!

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2008, 12:16:04 AM »
Judging by all the recipes I've been seeing pop up lately I think we need to add a recipe forum so folks who aren't familiar with cooking dry staples can try some of our methods.

I stock the dried stuff, beans, rice, & flour etc. because that's what we eat everyday.  It's possible to rotate our stores that way, there's no worry about wasting something.  The other thing is our systems are accustomed to these foods.  If you've never eaten some of the stuff you are stocking it's possible your system may not like it.  You could end up with digestive problems, diarrhea, stomach cramps, allergic reactions, etc.  It would suck bad to eat something in a SHTF situation & suddenly realize that your body has decided to rebel & doesn't like what you're feeding it.

Having said that, MREs & freeze dried food are really handy to store in your vehicles or camping gear for those short term inconveniences.  I haven't stocked up on either but I may, just to be able to put something in our little camper.

Offline Tactical Badger

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2008, 09:12:49 AM »
I must be a bit of an anomaly, I have yet to eat my first MRE.  I have yet to buy my first one either.  There is just so much "Add Water Only" or "Instant" stuff at your local grocery, I never really felt the need to stock up on MRE's.  Not that I'm against it.  They are danged handy, from what I hear.  I just stick to the already mentioned "Stock what you eat, Eat what you stock" method.  We eat a lot of rice, so I'm constantly rotating it.  And we do a lot of "combining" like Jack mentioned in the last podcast.  I'm always on the lookout for something I can dump over rice to make a meal.  Canned chicken and Cream of Chicken Soup over rice is a favorite "Survival Meal" in our house.

It's like Jack said, practice cooking with the foods you store.  Make sure you have things you can "Mix and Match".  Just keep your eyes open when you go grocey shopping for all the shelf stable stuff there is.  And yeah, keep looking for the deals.  I'm a total sucker for the "10 for whatever" deals.  My wife just stopped me the other day from piling a "10 for" deal into the cart because we hadn't ever tried them before.  I guess, worst case, if you buy something like that and don't like it, you can always save it for barter. ;D

Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2008, 09:59:16 AM »
Don't forget you can always rehydrate some jerky or biltong in your rice/beans.  =-]

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2008, 10:42:37 AM »
I store 25 lbs bags of flour, bread flour, salt, sugar, and rice. These are used as needed. I also bought 3 cases of MREs for emergency since they do not need water to eat. But I've not tried them yet. Anyone try theirs? 

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2008, 11:08:11 AM »
LOL...ate MRE's in JROTC and ROTC.  Not something I would CHOOSE to eat unless I was faced with the choice of MRE vs. Spam.  ;-]

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2008, 11:26:16 AM »
Eww.. Spam.... A buddy of mine liked to boil Spam... I always thought he was a bit strange....
What type of MRE entree was the least toxic?

Offline Tactical Badger

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2008, 11:37:12 AM »
Boiled Spam!?!?!  I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.  Wait!  Nope!  It's just boiled Spam.

Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: MRE versus Bags of Rice and Beans...
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2008, 11:41:35 AM »
I don't even remember now.  We need to see if we can get Kentucky J, JibbaJabba, or some other Mil type to make some recommendations...

Recommendations I found via a search...
*eBay. Beef Ravioli, Beef Stew, ChiliMac (tastes the same as the Ravioli) and Chicken Breast are my favs. Stay away from the breakfast ones.

*Some MREs come with this pound cake that is pretty good, I'd consider it Christmas meal material in a pinch. :)
Also, the Grilled Chicken and Chili Mac MREs ain't half bad.

Looks like Chili Mac and Chicken are clear winners from two different recommendations...  =-]

Pretty much everything else discusses how "not so bad" entrees are while pointing out "how good' a given dessert is.  Some wish they had dessert/condiment-only packs.  LOL