U.S. Army photo by Gary Sheftick

The Tetris-style packing prowess of the American infantryman is unparalleled, enabling a grunt to cram weeks’ worth of supplies into a single pack before stepping off on an op.

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Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Michael Stepien

Hey bro, did you hear about that new pizza joint a couple blocks from the gate?

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Screenshot via YouTube

If you got your hands on a U.S. Army K-ration from 1943, would you peel back the box top, dump out the contents, and chow down on the 74-year-old meal? I wouldn’t. But lucky for us, there’s one YouTuber who does: Prolific YouTuber Steve1989 has uploaded more than 100 videos where he not only reviews and explains vintage MREs throughout history, but also consumes them on video for your viewing pleasure.

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Photo via MRE Meals/Vimeo

The standard Meal, Ready to Eat is far from a delicacy, and even the best options need a hefty dose of hot sauce to create a mixture that even somewhat resembles a meal. But believe it or not, all it takes is a little imagination to transform a standard-issue military meal into a mouthwatering work of culinary art.

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Screen grab via YouTube

Here’s something that may sound odd or disgusting to anyone who’s ever served in the military: Field ration connoisseurship is a real thing. In fact, there’s a whole subculture around collecting meals ready to eat. Like, really — people pay good money for old MREs and then they eat them...because they want to.    

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Task & Purpose illustration by Matt Battaglia

Judging by the havoc MREs wreak on service members from beginning to end, you might guess that the military doesn’t give a shit about soldiers’ bowels. And you would be right. That means it falls on your humble Task & Purpose reporter to investigate the long-held myth that the gum in MREs will help you either release the floodgates or stop up the sewage, if you will, depending on what color it is.

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