Apocalypse Food – Army ration pack from 2001

A number of years ago I was given the remains of an army ration pack that I could take on a camping trip I was doing at the time. The pack consisted of several freeze-dried items with all the texture and flavour of wall filler. I think I took a look at the stuff, put it in a cardboard box and went to the local shop to buy some better food for the trip.

Fast forward to today when I was looking for something to eat at dinner, and no matter how many times I opened the fridge it failed to be full of nice things to eat. After rooting around my shelving for something edible I found two potential candidates – a tin of Tesco stew, and a green packet of something. Putting the tin back … way back out the way (I’m not that hungry!) I decided to see what the stuff in the green bag was.

2001 pasta milanaise ration pack
2001 pasta milanaise ration pack

Turns out it’s the army ration pack I was given all those years ago, proudly bearing a prepared date of 24th October 2001. An inspection of the packet revealed it was probably intact and unlikely to contain anything it shouldn’t, so I ripped it open and added it to some water. I’d like to tell you the resulting food was nice, edible and just as good as the day it was packed… but I’d be lying.

Imagine if you will thick congealed gravy – the type made by people who can’t make gravy. And sticking out of that bits of slippy pasta, with the whole thing having a curious sheen to it. The smell is not unpleasant, but at the same time not exactly inviting, and the flavour… it was hard to describe, but I think it might have tasted like tomatoes.

Having eaten it all, I can say I am most definitely not hungry any more. For added satisfaction, every time I burp I get to taste it again. I wonder if eating the contents of my hoover would remove the taste.

Infantry training: Training and War 1937

Infantry Training handbook, 1937

Yesterday I showed a technology book produced in the late 1940s that I picked up at a local car boot sale. In the same car boot, but on a different stall I found this curious looking book titled Infantry Training Training and war 1937 which has two date-of-issue stamps on it dating from 20th January 1941. I can’t read the stamps properly, but they say “home guard” on them which is probably why it has survived 73 years as it doesn’t look to have been read much, contains all its pages and is in very good condition considering its age. Someone has scrawled “P I G S Are snobs” inside the first few pages in white chalk for reasons unknown.

The book has a rather serious warning on the front cover stating

“Not to be published. The information given in this document is not to be communicated, either directly or indirectly, to the Press or to any person not holding an official position in His Majesty’s Service.”