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MRE's, or Meals Ready to Eat, despite the millions of dollars spent on research, testing, and development, still suck after you have eaten little else for three months.

The chili is bland even with three bottles of Tabasco Sauce and the bean burrito is gummy no matter how you cook it, the ravioli loses its appeal even when you mix in cheese spread and the ham slice... well, we won't go there.

There is very little a serviceman can do to spice up his dinner besides mixing in jalapeño cheese or pepper sauce, crunched up crackers or a packet of salt and pepper. The meal will still be what it was yesterday, and the day before that, and so on.

Dessert, on the other hand, has near limitless possibilities from within those little tan plastic bags. The undying human desire for fulfillment and variety has brought about the creation of treats that, even though they aren't like Mom used to make, are pretty damn good if made properly.

The most famous MRE improvised dessert of all was introduced to me as Ranger Pudding (although you would be hard-pressed to find any at Ranger School). It remains the most popular because of the availability of its ingredients, as almost every MRE has them. Ranger Pudding can be made by one's self as it requires only two hands, one spoon, one canteen, and is concocted thusly:

A packet of Cocoa Mix is peeled along the top and held open by squeezing the sides. Freeze dried coffee and creamer are then added, and also as many packet of sugar as are available.

The powder is mixed thoroughly with the provided brown plastic spoon while still dry and coffee crystals are crunched to pieces as small as possible by pinching the outsides of the packet with thumb and forefinger.

Water from a canteen is then added sparingly, just a few drops at a time and then the mixing process continues. The idea is to create a thick, damp, sticky paste-ball of cocoa color that will attract all of the powdered ingredients out of the pointy corners of the square cocoa packet; if one just poured ALL of the water at once and started stirring, a shameful amount of powder would be wasted.

Once the paste-ball has accumulated all available powdered products more water is added when necessary until desired thickness and texture is achieved.

The Ranger Pudding is, at this point, complete.

Sure enough, it tastes like cocoa mix, coffee, and a lot of sugar mixed in water, but dammit, it looks just like pudding.

Other desserts include:

Peach Cobbler - pulverized shortbread cookies and a packet of peaches.

Pop Tart - a cracker spread with peanut butter and sprinkled with cherry drink mix.

Apple Pie - crumbled shortbread cookies mixed into a packet of spiced apples and sprinkled with apple cider mix.

Jelly Doughnut - wheat bread, pulled into strips, and mixed into raspberry puree and sprinkled with sugar.

Jello - lemon lime drink mix blended with coffee creamer and mixed with water.

Fuzzy Navel - orange drink mix blended into a packet of peaches.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie Dip - wheat bread spread with peanut butter and dipped in Ranger Pudding.

Without a doubt there are near endless numbers of different recipes being improvised daily, the above just being the first to come to mind.

But let these few examples stand as proof, that though the fighting man may be subjected to harsh living environments, enemy fire, lack of sunscreen, and bland, tasteless dinner- he will not stand idly by and let his need for a yummy dessert go unanswered!


finally fixed this stupid thing after I received a swift kick in the ass from someone... I forget who it was.

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