A few bits from a book that could use a spork, “G.N”

He took a can of chopped eggs, added some chocolate from a Hershey Trop bar— a high-melting-point chocolate developed for the jungle—and mixed in some Tabasco and A1 sauce, both of which he’d carefully hoarded from his last R&R. Then he added apricot juice, throwing the apricots and the can into the jungle.
He ripped off a small piece of C-4 plastic explosive, placed it on the ground, set the can on top, and lit the explosive. A white hissing flame enveloped the can.
Thirty seconds later Jancowitz was spooning the contents into his mouth and thinking about Susi, the Thai bar girl for whom he had extended his tour for another six months.
Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn, p.44, Atlantic Books, London, copyright © 2010

What if you had a limited larder, stuck in the kitchen with only core ingredients and a mad array of seasonings, spices and condiments. What combinations can you put together to please the palate. What allowances do you make? Under normal circumstances things you would never consider get thrown in the mix, whilst attempting to make something just a little bit satisfying.

Those are ‘tough cookies’ for your average ‘frank n’ beans’ person, but what about when your stuck in Vietnam?

Hamilton ignored this. He chewed contemplatively for a moment and then reached into his pack for the highly treasured Pickapeppa sauce that had been mailed to him form home. He carefully added two drops to the cold ham, grape jelly, and lima beans, stirred them in, and retasted. The new lieutenant still wasn’t hungry.
 Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn, p.46, Atlantic Books, London, copyright © 2010

Your no chef, your being shot to shit, you might be so young that you’ve never had to cook for yourself. Handed some C4 and a can of foodstuff, you’ll need to make a meal out of it. What happens when the food your starting off with is already crud? Well it takes cunning, craft and a pinch of advice from your peers. Obtaining and trading to enhance your basic rations. Maybe something your mom sent you, adds that little comforting touch, a connection with a faraway place, a taste from home. Through the carnage comes the comradery, a communal eating experience, brought about by the gears of war.

Under-fire, and coming up with oddball concoctions, did any of these taste any good?
Does what your eating lose its identity as a singular food item, and become nothing more than a satisfactory taste? A nod to something familiar.

Here is another c-ration mix for you:

He was adding Tabasco sauce, grape jam, and powdered lemon tea to his can of spaghetti and meatballs when he became aware of Doc Fredrickson watching him.
“Can I talk to you a minute, Lieutenant?” Fredrickson asked.
“Sure. Beats eating.”
“It’s about Mallory, sir.”
“Ahh, fuck. I thought you and Bass took care of that.”
“He’s still complaining about headaches,” Fredrickson said. “I give him all the Darvon he can handle and he keeps coming back for more.”
“Is that shit addictive?” Mella asked
“I don’t know sir. It’s just what they give us. I think it’s fucking useless.” Fredrickson leaned over and looked into the the can of spaghetti.
“Maybe you ought to put some of that fake coffee cream stuff in it. It’d smooth it out.”
“You stick to medicine.”
 Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn, p.49, Atlantic Books, London, copyright © 2010

I think I’ll have to try a few combos from the book and report back.

For a in-depth breakdown of what makes up a C-ration, have a look at this website: http://www.foxco-2ndbn-9thmarines.com/c-rations.htm

And go read the book, it is an intense slice of life,  Matterhorn by  Karl Marlantes


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2 Comments on “C-rations”

  1. October 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    yeah but where are you gonna get the c-4 to heat it up?

  2. October 5, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Might be cheeky and use my butane camping stove.

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