|First of all, I deducted one bullet because they could be fresher, 8 mos from date of mfg for MRE's that were packaged for the civilian market, not mil surplus, could be improved upon. I ordered in Dec 2011 and they were mfg in April 2011.
OK, other than the mfg date, this civilian would give them 5 Bullets. You'll get a kick out of the symbolism, I tried my first MRE as dinner during Obama's state of the union speech last night as I was assembling my Bug out Bag. It occured to me that I should actually try one of the MRE's before a SHTF situation occurs, in a controlled environment like my kitchen where I didnt have to boil or purify water or familiarize myself with the whole process under duress.
For other civilians who have never prepared or consumed a MRE, here is my experience. First each meal is PVC vac packed so I have no doubt that they will remain fresh and useful for quite some time. Similuating the wild, the only utensil I used in preparation was my pocket knife to open sealed bags, etc.
First, I opened the entree to experience the whole MRE heating routine. You take the entree (Chicken Stew is the one I tried) out if its cardboard box and put it into the heating bag, holding both the entre and heater pak above the water line in the bag, you then add about an ounce of water to the fill line at the bottom of the bag, slip both the entre and heater back to the bottom of the bag, fold the top flap over and then put the whole thing back into the box to heat up for 10 minutes.
During this time, I ate the packet of dried fruit which was good but dried fruit is pretty standard, mixed up the Pink Lemonade powder which was suprisingly good, and opened the package of tortillas to go along with my Chicken stew entree. After ten minutes in the heater bag, the entree was hot as expected and actually pretty darn tasty! It wasnt unpleasant at all as I had expected. I finished the meal with the sugar cookies, which were excellent and unbroken in their pouch, and a cup of coffee which was instant coffee so what can I say about that.
Pros - Good Calorie Count, Easy to prepare, packaged for the long term, pretty tasty considering its an MRE.
Cons- One cup of instant coffee means I have Caffeine Withdrawals to look forward to if the SHTF. All the side items are the same in every meal, only the entree changes from MRE to MRE. Could have been fresher from date of Mfg|