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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 12/30/2001 9:32:26 AM EST
Los Angeles Times: In the Name of National Defense, a Better Mac & Cheese Dish [url]http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-000103200dec30.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dnation[/url] THE NATION In the Name of National Defense, a Better Mac & Cheese Dish From Associated Press December 30 2001 PULLMAN, Wash. -- The soldiers of the future will require more than microcomputers, better body armor and lethal firearms. They also will need macaroni and cheese. The Pentagon wants macaroni and cheese that will remain tasty and nutritious for three years after it is cooked. Under a contract with the Defense Department, food scientists at Washington State University are using microwave cooking technology to create a macaroni and cheese dish that can be used in the field rations the military has produced for two decades: Meals, Ready to Eat--or MREs. The WSU scientists also are trying to create egg and fresh vegetable dishes that will meet military specifications. "There is no macaroni and cheese or egg products in MREs," WSU researcher Juming Tang said. MREs are soft-sided, sealed pouches that contain complete meals--an entree, a starch, fruit, crackers, spread and dessert--intended to sustain troops on the battlefield. They pack more than 1,200 calories into a small package with a three-year shelf life, even in hot, cold or filthy conditions. MREs can be dropped without parachutes from helicopters and contain a chemical device that can quickly heat the contents, allowing for hot meals miles from a field kitchen. But while beef, ham, turkey and chicken are among the two dozen entrees available, macaroni and egg dishes are not. The intense, bacteria-killing heat from steaming or boiling the food inside the pouches fundamentally alters the color and consistency of pasta and of dairy products. Eggs and cheese turn green and smell odd; macaroni gets unappetizingly soggy. Tang's team is using microwaves to fully cook the meals in the pouches in a fraction of the time. The fast cooking helps preserve the integrity of the food, he said. The idea of cooking with microwaves has been around for a long time, but until recently the packaging and some other technology was not up to the task of mass producing field rations.
Link Posted: 12/30/2001 9:33:01 AM EST
The pouches must be lightweight and flexible, thick enough to keep contaminants out and survive air drops but thin enough to easily rip open. In addition, the contents must be "shelf stable," meaning they do not need refrigeration. Microwaves cook foods to desired temperatures much faster than steaming or boiling. But a problem has been ensuring uniform temperatures throughout the food pouches. One spot that isn't cooked enough can become a breeding ground for the bacteria that produce botulism, Tang said. Food research is one of the missions of the U.S. Army's Natick Soldier Center in Massachusetts, which gave Tang a $460,000 contract for his research. Tom Yang, a senior food technologist, said the first goal of researchers is to ensure that soldiers receive the 3,600 calories a day they need in the field. That jumps to 4,500 calories a day in cold weather, such as troops in Afghanistan are facing. The ideal situation is for soldiers to eat one MRE and two fresh meals each day, he said. Tang is a professor of biological systems engineering. His team also includes mathematicians, engineers, chemists and microbiologists. "It takes lots of engineering and science to make it safe and palatable," he said. Tang's family tastes the macaroni and cheese for him. "They are the best judges," he said. Scientists also set up a panel of students and faculty to compare MRE-style macaroni and cheese to boxed products available in grocery stores. "It was comparable to boxed macaroni and cheese," Tang said. For information about reprinting this article, go to http://www.lats.com/rights
Link Posted: 12/30/2001 12:23:30 PM EST
Oh yummy. Can I please have a dehydrated pork patty, or beef patty, instead.
Link Posted: 12/30/2001 12:32:08 PM EST
Headline Number 1 - "Tang Family Kills Tang" Headline Number 2 - "Tang Family Acquitted" From DOD for immediate release: "Research into "Macaroni and Cheese" as a menu edition to the "MRE" program has been indefinitely suspended......."
Link Posted: 12/30/2001 12:38:58 PM EST
Headline Number 3- Tom Yang to replace Juming Tang-Court reverses Yang family aquittal, sentenced to hang!
Link Posted: 12/30/2001 12:49:53 PM EST
(AP) Famed defense attorney Johnny Cochran to handle "Tang" family appeal. Mr. Cochran has already stated.... "If the turban don't fit you got to acquit." When queried as to how this might apply to the Tang families defense......
Link Posted: 12/30/2001 12:55:03 PM EST
I wish we got two fresh meals a day. They just give us a box of mre's, a box of water, and say "See, ya in a week".
Link Posted: 12/30/2001 4:44:31 PM EST
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: Headline Number 1 - "Tang Family Kills Tang" Headline Number 2 - "Tang Family Acquitted" From DOD for immediate release: "Research into "Macaroni and Cheese" as a menu edition to the "MRE" program has been indefinitely suspended......."
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Oh Boy, my gut is hurtin' after readin that Still rolling on the floor.....
Link Posted: 12/30/2001 4:49:04 PM EST
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