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Friday, July 08, 2005

Food Pt. I

The first time that you are given a cardboard box smaller than the average shoe box and told that inside is everything you need to eat for the next 24 hours most people end up with a slightly incredulous look on their faces.

By the time I got to my Phase 2 training I had mastered the basics of cooking rations. It’s not hard and most recipes go something like this:

  1. Boil water.
  2. Place tin/foil bag in water.
  3. Wait.
  4. Eat.

Soup and porridge are slightly more difficult in that they involve emptying the contents of a sachet into a cup and then adding hot water.

The longer you spend living outdoors the more creative you become. This becomes even more evident when you are given the same menu ration box every day for a week.* There are only so many times you can eat pork cassoulet before the cardboard box it came in begins to look more appealing.

Very quickly in my Phase 2 training I learnt the art of the Tabasco sauce bottle. You can add it to anything – if it tasted bad before it instantly becomes something that tastes really hot and bad. Although a little garlic salt does actually make an incredible difference.

What did become apparent very quickly was how much you came to appreciate food when you got back to camp. Dishes from the cookhouse that might have been spurned before instantly become delicacies to be savoured after a few days living on rations.

* Ration boxes are labelled by letter. When I went through training there were about 8 different menus although this has improved now.


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