Well, pretty simple, really. First Tabasco is a necessary item for general purposes. Second, you learn how to save stuff and combine it with other stuff. For example, if you saved a package of crackers and you also saved a packet of cheese spread, when you got the ham slice you could then make a ham and cheese sandwich. Pretty tasty! The cheese spread was also very good mixed in with the spaghetti. In fact, that was my favorite one. You could use the cocoa, creamer and sugar, mixed with a little water to make "Ranger Pudding", which was actually kind of tasty. I don't know if the new generation of MRE's have them, but we were saddled with the notorious "Oatmeal Cookie", which was nothing more than a compressed block of something. Very, very hard and very, very little flavor. I would save them for a snack on long patrols or as a late night snack, but in the end, there wasn't a whole lot you could do with them. The maple cake was pretty good, and the chocolate chip cake was really good. Some guys liked the apple jelly on the ham: I was never a fan, although I did like it on the crackers by itself. Also, despite being told not too, we always used the kool-aid packets we got in our canteens: Water taken from a water buffalo (not the beast, for those not in the know) that has been sitting in the sun for a few hours, while safe, isn't particularly tasty. Luckily by the time Somalia rolled around, we were mostly just given cases of bottled water, which was much better tasting. I guess the main thing is that with the exception of the omelet, I never thought they were that bad. Given 11 other choices and my buddies never-ending love of the omelet, I never really had a problem. When I was a kid, my dad would occasionally send me to school with c-rats for my lunch (which I thought was the coolest), and compared to those, MRE's are haute cuisine. My time was right before the heaters came, so for the most part I ate everything cold. We would warm stuff up occasionally over nesbit stoves, but it was more of a pain than it was worth, really. We also supplemented from home: Mostly in the form of kool-aid or gatorade mix, of which my mom sent plenty. Dried soup mixes were handy, jerky, and M&M's. Also, toilet paper. MRE's come with "toilet paper", but it is pretty useless. You can't eat it, but TP was worth it's weight in gold x5. Oh! Also, we could make a type of pruno if someone got yeast sent from home: Mix water, yeast and dehydrated fruit, let ferment for a week or two, strain through a sock, drink. Godawful and largely unnecessary as none of us was an alocholic, but it was just something fun to do in the field that broke up the monotony. Back to the MRE's: You guys may find it strange, but when I finally came home from Somalia, you know what I wanted more than anything? You might think steak, or ice cream or beer, but it was none of those things. What I wanted was a nice, big glass of ice water. After drinking lukewarm water for 5 months, ice water was like a gift from god. To this day, ice water remains my favorite drink, and I can't hardly choke down warm water. Incidentally, we always saved a packet or two of the peanut butter, because nothing was better at stopping the runs than that peanut butter taken straight. Sounds a little gross to point out, but I spent time in Desert Storm, Somalia and Panama, and the runs were a frequent, potentially dangerous, affliction.