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The C-Ration Cook Book By: Michael Monfrooe USA Ret

As a career infantry soldier I was fortunate to have served all over the world. The American G.I. has a history of being inventive when it comes to improving the basic comforts of life while in the field or combat.

C-Rations were boxed canned meals comprised of various meat ,vegetable and assorted desserts. Pork and beans were an added treat. Desserts consisted of crackers, chocolate, fruit cake, fruit cocktail etc., also included was a pack of toilet paper, several cigarettes and two pieces of Chicklet gum.

For the purpose of this offering I will address my tour of duty in Vietnam. I had the honor and privilege to serve in a Long Range Recon Unit and the 101st Airborne Div. Ranger co. as a sniper. We operated in 6 man teams far into enemy territory to conduct various types of missions. We did eat C’s when in the rear area and when we were to lazy to go to the mess hall or could do better.

The problems with C-rations in combat were many. They added extra weight to a 60 pound plus ruck sack. When cooked in the field the enemy might smell what you were cooking and become an un-invited guest. The empty cans were used as improvised weapons and booby traps against us. These concerns were widely ignored by most larger infantry units since there were few alternatives.

In our, for lack of better term, elite unit we took the best of the C-Rat. offerings, crackers, cheddar cheese, and the small cans of peaches and such with us, we either brought the empty cans back or buried them. We, for our main meals, carried dehydrated meals that we added hot water to. We heated them using a pinch of C-4 explosive that burned super hot and fast. If you stepped on it to put it out, you would blow your foot off.

These meals would stay warm using body heat, then we would take a few bite when it was safe. These meals, like C-Rats were pretty bland until G.I. ingenuity took over.

Many a package from a loving mom or wife contained socks, beef jerky and various taste enhancers. More important than a recent picture of Fido were bottles of A-One Sauce, Hienze 57 or Tabasco along with small bottles of spices we couldn’t even pronounce.

I have seen, boys, not yet men, who have been in the jungle for ninety days hunting the enemy sit around a fire making gourmet meals out of C-ration ingredients. The recipe was simple, Add This, Add That, Taste, repeat if needed.

Relationships are like C-Rations. When opened, they contain things we like and those we don’t like.
. Can become extra baggage such as old affairs, past mistakes…..if we let them.
. Things left behind can be used to hurt others…things buried should stay buried.
. Like the meals, you try in life the things you like and improve on them. Remembering that tastes change.
. Besides A-One Sauce your family and friends can offer more….Advice…Experience...Love.
. The best meal made is one shared with a friend.
. C-rations are like old values, rare to find but most endearing to those that remember them.

“Both my daughters ate C-Rats as infants and are so much better for it”.

Michael Monfrooe USA Ret
(E/3/506th-“L” Co. 75th Rangers 101st (70-71)

. dedicated to Sarah and Mitch McCoy wed on 8, July 2006