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store bought foods to use as K-rations or C-rations?


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would canned SPAM luncheon meat be suitable to be used as GI rations? didnt GI's eat canned SPAM during WWII?

 

what other store bought foods would be similiar to GI rations?

 

canned chili con carne?

 

RITZ crackers?

 

canned corned beef & hash?

 

raisens or dried dates

 

Planters peanuts

 

how about D-RATIONS? would Hershey's dark chocolate or baker's bittersweet chocolate be similiar to a D-BAR? emergency ration

 

:unsure:

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I think the D-bar was a mixture of chocolate, oatmeal and some other things. I know somebody on the ww2 reenactors forum has a recipe to make them. Spam was issued during ww2, but the labels were different and the cans used to open with a key. You can find files to print out your own Spam labels on the ww2 reenactors forum. I think Club crackers are better to use then Ritz since they are similar to the ones that came in K -rations.

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Rations_C_1945_Menu1.gif

 

here's a WWII c ration, notice the cracker looks like a RITZ ?

 

I heard the D bars didnt taste too good, but some GI's would use it to make hot chocolate

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If you are willing to pay the price, there is a seller on eBay named reprorations who is re-popping US, Brit, German and Ruski rations.

 

I have never tried them, so I cannot say anything more.

 

Tom

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Guest Doc_hoovie

I repro rations for my guys to use at events. If you'd be interested in receiving my files and instructions for doing so, send me an email to: doc_hoovie@yahoo.com

and we can discuss it further.

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BOB K. RKSS
Rations_C_1945_Menu1.gif

 

here's a WWII c ration, notice the cracker looks like a RITZ ?

 

I heard the D bars didnt taste too good, but some GI's would use it to make hot chocolate

The crackers are a Milk type (larger than, & Not a "Ritz", or saltine type): think Nabisco still makes these "milk" type. C- Rations also contained a Cheese spread: something like "Cheese Whiz", but not as tasty.

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I read that the canned corned beef rations for the Australain military are made in Argentina? since WW1 and they still import canned corned beef to use in military rations today.

 

during WW1 they often called it "Bully Beef" and it was eaten with biscuts

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I read that the canned corned beef rations for the Australain military are made in Argentina? since WW1 and they still import canned corned beef to use in military rations today.

 

during WW1 they often called it "Bully Beef" and it was eaten with biscuts

 

Not just the Aussies and certainly not just WWI! AFAIK, the Bully Beef used by all the Commonwealth was Argentine corned beef. I don't know whether or not it is still used today but it certainly wouldn't surprise me. Great stuff!

 

Few people realize it but the American Field Service, better known as AFS, the people who arrange for high school exchange students between countries, started as a civilian volunteer corps of ambulance drivers serving other countries in both WWI and WWII. Our living history group had a fellow speak to us who had served as a civilian ambulance driver with the British army during WWII. He was in N Africa and then NW Europe. At one point he was seconded from the Brits back to US forces. He said that was the only time during the war he had gut troubles was when his diet switched from Bully Beef to Spam and he was glad when he got back to his British unit! laughing1.gif

 

Tom

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  • 2 months later...

There are several canned items available in stores that can be used to simulate C Rations. The cans are larger than those that C-rations came in but if you don't want to go to the expense of purchasing ordinary food in replica cans you can do pretty well eating as the G.I.'s and Gyrene's did from prior to WWII into the 1980s.

 

C, D and K rations were all considered "emergency rations" that were to be consumed when the mess team could not get rations forward. However it was the experience of many front line troops to live on emergency rations for long periods of time. D Rations were "quick energy" emergency rations intended for limited periods of consumption, such as an assault. K Rations were intended for use by paratroopers, tankers and others that needed a balanced meal but less bulky than C Rations.

 

There were 14 meals and two openers came in each case. The location of the meals in the case was consistent and there were some soldiers that preferred certain meals over others that could pick out what they wanted even if the case was opened from the bottom so the labels on the boxes weren't visible. The content of the meals changed from time to time but there were some items that remained while others came and went.

 

It is said that the C Rations provided to troops in Viet Nam circa 1965 was WWII vintage, which I suppose is possible but it seems to me there would have been some serious problems with 20 year old canned food.

 

Before I go on here are some definitions: A Rations - fresh food (not canned), B Rations canned food in bulk usually No. 10 cans and C Rations canned individual rations.

 

SPAM was a B-ration item intended to be prepared with other food items. Military cooks did all they could (some nothing) to make SPAM more palatable. The troops got it so regularly most came to despise it. This had allot to do with location. It seems that troops in Europe received a great deal of the SPAM produced mainly because they were able to set up field kitchens and prepare B Rations.

 

Here are some items that were part of the C Rations that are available in the stores.

 

Main meal: During WWII these were primarily "meat and beans," "meat and vegetable stew" and "meat and vegetable hash." There are similar products on the market to the first two, and the "hash" who cares? Somewhere in the line of C Rations an unpopular component "ham and lima beans," known as "ham n' limas" or "monkey puke" was included. I never saw ham and limas but I think it was probably similar to the currently marketed item. In the 1970s our C-rats had spaghetti and meat balls, beans and franks, ham slices, turkey loaf, tuna, eggs and ham (others I don't remember).

 

Drink: Dehydrated coca powder.

 

B unit: In my experience there were three different "B" units, B-1, B-2 and B-3. Some contents remained constant and were common to all B units. The circular chocolate bars were made of chocolate that resisted melting and were described as something like wax. The alternate companion to the crackers was coca beverage powder in an envelope. The crackers were circular and pretty sturdy, but didn't have much taste (I doubt you'll find any crackers like the C-rat variety in any market). If you can find crackers that are unleavened and nothing else added you will be close to C-rat crackers.

 

Canned pea nut butter, cheese, and various jellies. These cans were as big in diameter as the other cans but about a half inch high.

 

A Packet containing dehydrated coffee, sugar, salt, pepper, TP and other components that changed over time such as dehydrated creamer, chewing gum and cigarettes. The rations we had in the 1970s had a small sturdy plastic spoon.

 

Desert component: I don't know that much about WWII rations, but our C-rats had canned pound cake or pecan cake. These were actually baked in the cans and to get them out in one piece I opened both top and bottom and pushed the cake through. Canned sliced peaches, sliced pears, fruit cocktail or applesauce were in different meals.

 

There was considerable trading and components that weren't used. During field exercises I always drew a case of C-rations, threw it in the back of my M113 or M151 and allowed my soldiers to trade meals, and they would toss in unopened components and take out any they wanted. In this way they could get more variety or the components they preferred. I always ended up with a box full of unaccounted for meals and components that I...uhh...followed me home.

 

Once in awhile when were stationary the mess team would set up a serve B Rations for breakfast and sometimes dinner. Occasionally they would take all the main meals from C Rations and heat them in water heated by an immersion heater in a 40 gallon can. The soldiers then got a box and a hot meal but not necessarily the one originally in the box.

 

One of the C-ration meals you will not under any circumstances find in the market and I don't know if it was a WWII item anyway, is ham and eggs. This was simply scrambled eggs and bits of ham in a can. It really was not too bad heated. Most soldiers avoided this ration if they could. I didn't exactly seek them out but if I got one I'd eat it. Tabasco sauce or other personal favorite condiment went a long way towards making C Ration meals more palatable.

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  • 8 months later...

Wasny Bully Beef what the Brits called horse meat? I think I read that somewhere. Churchill called it that so it might be more palatable to some with a sensitive nature. Openin a tin of Bully Beef sounds better than peelin back a can of Ole Trigger dont it? :lol:

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Bully Beef was by everything I have read a nickname for canned corned beef. Some may have said it was horse meat but that just goes along with the scorn improperly heaped on Spam.

 

Guess what guys? What the WWII GI ate and came to hate was NOT Spam as we know it! It was a government specified "canned meat product" which, of course, was designed to be produced by the lowest bidder. Hormel was one of the producers but what they made was to spec, not what they sold commercially to civilians at the same time under the Spam name. It was of much lower quality to meet the contract specifications. Blame the US government on the bad rap Spam has received, even ending up being a keyword in today's internet world.

 

Tom thumbsup.gif

 

P.S. A buddy's 13 year old came up with this one: Slice Spam as thin as you can get it. Put a layer of paper towels on a plate then a layer of Spam. Add layers of paper towels and Spam till all is done. Place the stack in the microwave and nuke the snot out of it. What you end up with is Spam jerky or, as Jason calls it, "Spam Chips". Great with cheese and wine!

 

Another great one is "Spam Hawaiian". Slices of Spam topped with slices of pineapple cooked on the BBQ grill. I'm getting hungry just writing about it!

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BOB K. RKSS

"lower quality to meet contract specifications" ??? I don't think so. > The U.S. Government, & military specs for ALL items contracted were, & are for HIGHEST QUALITY, & contractors bid to supply: meeting those specs! In the case of WWII rations: they would have had specs for heavy amounts of Preservitives added, & that makes them different in taste; etc..

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"lower quality to meet contract specifications" ??? I don't think so. > The U.S. Government, & military specs for ALL items contracted were, & are for HIGHEST QUALITY, & contractors bid to supply: meeting those specs! In the case of WWII rations: they would have had specs for heavy amounts of Preservitives added, & that makes them different in taste; etc..

 

You may be right but I was only quoting what "The Spam Book" had to say on the topic. I do not have the book here in front of me so I cannot quote chapter and verse but it definitely said the "canned meat product" produced for the government was of considerably lower quality than the commercial version. I don't know. I wasn't there.

 

Tom

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  • 2 years later...
VP_Association

My wife and I, believe it or not, make the "meat and beans" from the WW2 C Rations for dinner from time to time. We used the original recipe from the WW2 QMC history of combat rations produced just after the war ended. Basically, brown 1 pound of ground beef and break it up into small pieces as you cook it. Once browned, drain as much of the fat out of it as you can. Add the meat to one large can of Campbells beans in tomato sauce. Heat the meat and beans. Serve with water crackers and powdered lemon drink!

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VP_Association

We also have the meatballs and beans from the later C Rations. To do this, we brown some frozen Swedish meatballs in the oven and then add them to Campbell's beans in tomato sauce. It was my good fortune to have had some of the last C Rations when I was in the land-survival phase of Naval Aircrew Candidate School at Pensacola, FL during 1980. We went off to Egland Air Force Base to spend a week in the woods. During the first day or two in the woods we were fed C Rations. For the rest of the week we had to fend for ourselves (I caught a small squirrel - but that's another story). Anyway, most of the people with me were as disgusted by the C Rations as they were by the other crap we had to catch and eat while were out in the woods. Me, I loved them, and the beans and meatballs were my favorite. That was the last time I ever had a real C Ration. The Navy switched to MREs shortly thereafter. For years I've had a hankering for those meatballs and beans. The Cambell's beans in tomato sauce is spot-on and the Swedish meatballs come close, but the taste just isn't the same. As I recall, the meatballs tasted like the ones you get in a can of spaghetti, and you just can't replicate that taste using home-made meatballs or anything that I've found in the grocery store freezer. The problem with frozen Italian meatballs is that they are too spicy. The meatballs I remember in the beans had a bland canned pasta type taste that's closer to (but not quite) the frozen Swedish meatballs.

 

While I'm on the subject of meatballs and rations I really liked the spicy BBQ meatballs and rice entre that we used to get in the MREs we got while flying P-3s from certain bases like Howard AFB in Panama with the Navy and USNR through the 80s and 90s. We could only get box lunches from the Navy galleys but the Air Force people always gave aircrews the choice of frozen dinners or MREs. Ah, happy memories of what most people would consider to have been crappy food!

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VP_Association

One more thing. The Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, MA does respond to e-mail queries (go to their web site) about US military rations and in my experience they've been helpful. At one time they sent me the official recipes for MRE spicy meatballs and rice and for MRE pound cake. My wife and I (she's also a Navy veteran) have tried the spicy meatballs and rice recipe and it came out pretty close to what I remembered. We haven't yet tried the MRE pound cake recipe yet...

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VP_Association

One last thing before I sign off today. If you are really interested in learning about the history of US Military rations up through WW2 you need this book http://www.hayesotoupalik.com/images/DSCF1109.jpg. It is sold through this guy and is a reprint of an original publication produced by the Army right after WW2. Not only does it include the complete history of the K, C, D, and other military rations, it also provides many of the original recipes. Aside from the meat and beans recipe I provided above, Dinty Moore beef stew provides a good simulation of the old WW2 "meat and vegetable stew" C Ration entree and any canned corned beef hash substitutes for the "meat and vegetable hash". Meat and beans, meat and vegetable stew, and meat and vegetable has were the original three C Ration entrees from WW2.

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I’m have to ask, why do so many re-enactors insist on re-inventing the wheel? In my years in the hobby, I couldn’t possibly count the number of people who decided to take on their own K ration project and in the end either make a laughable product or spend more money than if they’d gone to one of the vendors who make pre-made ones. I’ll go to my grave wondering about that.

I wrote these three items a few years ago in my "You know you've been re-enacting WW2 for too long when - " list:

  • You spend over 3 months and hundreds of dollars creating your own complete K rations in the boxes, because you feel that $15 a meal for the pre-made ones is highway robbery.
  • When you show up at the event with you K rations you made, you poke fun at the farby K rations the other guys in your group made for the event, scolding them for not buying the pre-made ones that look much better.
  • When those same buddies give it right back for YOUR K rations also looking farby, you take great offense, as this was the best your Bubble-Jet could print out.

:think:

And besides, in over 20 years in the hobby, I can out EACH time I’ve ever seen people break out authentic looking K rations they could eat at events on just my two hands. I’ve often wondered where repro K rations go if so many people are looking to make them, as I just don’t see them being eaten at re-enactments!

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I pick up my K Ration boxes from Ebay. Make sure you get the ones printed on Chipboard. pjdemon is a seller I get mine from and I'm satisfied with the quality of his boxes.

 

As for the foods... For the K-1 and K-2 buscuits I use Club crackers and graham crackers, package them four or five to a pack and seal them in shrink wrap. For the main entree I use Tuna (not issued in WWII I know, but have you tried to find the ham and eggs or cheese spread in a like sized can?) Ham chunks or chicken chunks I pick up the off brands as they usually are still sealed in cans without pull tops. For Corned beef, Kroger brand is my choice as it still utilizes the key to open the can. As far as spam, yes, any brand will do, just print out a black and white pork luncheon meat label and affix it to the can, pull top down if you can't find non pull top cans. www.candycrate.com has Charms candies in the modern packaging, but its easy to open the pack, re-wrap them in brown waxed or craft paper and relabel them with a period wrapper. Gum is the same. While you are there at candy crate, you can pick up plenty of period gums... Blackjack, clove, teaberry and Beeman's. Look around on the groups that deal with paperwork and you should be able to print out gum wrappers. Cigarettes and matches... I print out the boxes and match covers from the aforementioned groups and cut the filter ends off of the cheapest cigs I can find. For the matches remember the matches that came with the K Rations only had one rake of matches (10) not the modern 20 per... pull the staple and separate the rakes and make two WWII packs for each modern one. Fruit bars: I use whatever I can get my hands on as far as the cereal bars and again, wrap them in printed wrappers from the repop paperwork groups. Same thing with the cereal bars. For those I use the Quaker chewy granola bars. I would wrap the cereal and fruit bars in saran wrap before sealing them in the paper wrappers to keep them fresher and to keep the oils and such from bleeding through the paper.

 

Now for the D Rations.... Yummy yummy D Rations!!! I make my own!!! Yes, I make my own D Rations so they are edible and I seal them in shrink wrap before sealing them in boxes. There are a number of places that sell them for like three or four bucks a pop (the boxes), but if you go to Hobby Lobby, you can find Value pack note cards in the brown cardstock that looks like a light weight chipboard and will fit through a printer. I print my own boxes this way and assemble them myself.

 

The following recipie is for one D Ration. Figure out how many you want to make, and adjust the measurements accordingly.

 

These are the measurements for the 4 oz D Bar:

 

4 ounce D-Ration bar: 3-7/8" long x 2-1/4" wide x 7/8" tall. The two long sides are tilted in at about a 10 degree angle, so the bar is narrower at the top than at the bottom. The short notches are 1-1/4" from each end and the long notch runs down the middle of the bar. They are 1/8" deep, cut in the shape of a "V". A V-shaped file works good to make this groove

 

I've found that a 9 cell mini bread pan works best for these. Just make a tick mark about 7/8" from the bottom on the side of each cell so you can judge how thick they will be.

 

You will need a double boiler to heat the mixture. You do not want direct heat to scorch the chocolate (or your wife's good cook pot). This recipie I found on the net somewhere, but it works! I've used hershey's chocolate bars and milk chocolate cookie makin morsels, and currently I have several slabs of chocolate ready for my next patch. The slabs you might be able to get from the baking section of your grocery.

 

Here is recipe I found on how to make your own. Enjoy.

 

Here’s how you make,

 

D Rations, D Rations yummy yummy D Rations. All right so they the

ration of last resort, but at least they kind’ a keep your tummy full

and if you use my recipe they don’t taste too bad. What I have done is

take the original recipe and modify it a little considering we’re like

60 years later. First off the list of ingredients to make 1 D Ration.

 

3 oz of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate chips or chunks.

 

1 oz of Table Sugar

 

1/3 oz of Nonfat Dry Milk

 

3 table spoons Oat Flour

 

2 to 4 drops Vanilla Extract

 

Paraffin Wax as needed (Gulf canning wax works fine it helps raise the melting temperature of the finished bars) OR Cocoa butter

 

1 D Ration mold (9 Cell mini bread pan with each cell close to the appropriate dmiension of a 4 oz bar)

 

All of these ingredients are available at any grocery store. Ok here’s

how to cook it up.

 

First measure out the table sugar, nonfat dry milk and oat flour and

put them into a food processor or blender. Now mix it up until you

have a fine powder. The reason for doing this is that if you don’t you

will get a D Ration that is really gritty when you eat it. Also, it

makes it easier to mix with the chocolate later.

 

You need a double boiler; it can be nothing more than a smaller pan

that sits in a larger pan that has water in it. The thing is you need

to heat the mixture from the boiling water not from the stove,

otherwise you will burn the chocolate. Place the chocolate into the

double boiler and melt it the best you can until you get a smooth

mixture. I have found that I have to add some paraffin wax to get the

chocolate to melt into a smooth mixture. Don’t add any more than you

have to. Also, here is a tip from Hershey’s. When melting the

chocolate add a drop or two to it. The trick is that it keeps the oils

mixing and will help keep the melting temperature up and will last

longer in the heat.

 

Once the chocolate and wax is melted add in one half of the ground up

sugar, milk and oat flour. Mix it up as best you can and then add a

teaspoon or so to the mixture. This will allow you to get the mixture

to a consistency that allows you mix it all together. Once you get it

mixed add the other half of the ground stuff and add another teaspoon

or so of wax (or cocoa butter) to get it to mix up.

 

One thing you will notice is that as the mixture sets under heat in the

boiler, the water will start to separate out. Don’t worry about it, it

mixes back in just fine. Now let the mixture cook for about 10

minutes. Give it a good stir every minute or so.

 

Now it’s ready to pour into the mold, but first give it one last good

stir. Pour into the mold and then put everything into the freezer.

Let sit until it is good and cold. Remove from the freezer and then

remove from the mold and let it heat up to room temperature. Cut the indentations with

a sharp knife of V File and you got a D Ration.

 

What you end up with is a hard block that will crumble up with a little

effort, just like the original. Unlike the original, at least from

what I have read, the taste is pretty good considering and is entirely

eatable. I would however, following the original instructions and eat

it slowly. Wrap it up and put in a Repo D Ration box and you are good

to go.

 

Now the answer to the finial question, will it melt in my pocket like

the chocolate bars that I have been using? Well I have taken my

mixture to 150 Deg F and it got a little soft, but did not melt. Well

what do you want? The original were only rated to 125 Deg.

 

 

 

Hope this answers your questions... I have eaten my own rations many times at events. Even the d Rations, and I use them for my Ration display when I do living history displays as well. I have had WWII Vets ask me where I got the old K Rations and it floored them when I told them I made them myself.

 

Wayne

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Rations_C_1945_Menu1.gif

 

here's a WWII c ration, notice the cracker looks like a RITZ ?

 

I heard the D bars didnt taste too good, but some GI's would use it to make hot chocolate

 

No, that's a post War one...

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The crackers are a Milk type (larger than, & Not a "Ritz", or saltine type): think Nabisco still makes these "milk" type. C- Rations also contained a Cheese spread: something like "Cheese Whiz", but not as tasty.

 

Not in WWII mate...

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No, that's a post War one...

 

Now there ye go, one jumps in there...Later thinking, "hang on a sec, I know the choccie biccie ain't Wartime, but that fudge disc rings a bell"...so, i go checking, and there it is in my copy of CQD No. 183, 31 October 1944.. Which after procurement, bringing it to January 1945... then overseas shipment from Chicago, it most likely wouldn't see Wartime ETO, though probably PTO (though doubt it)... so, back to my original: Post War :thumbsup:

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I’m have to ask, why do so many re-enactors insist on re-inventing the wheel? In my years in the hobby, I couldn’t possibly count the number of people who decided to take on their own K ration project and in the end either make a laughable product or spend more money than if they’d gone to one of the vendors who make pre-made ones. I’ll go to my grave wondering about that.

I wrote these three items a few years ago in my "You know you've been re-enacting WW2 for too long when - " list:

  • You spend over 3 months and hundreds of dollars creating your own complete K rations in the boxes, because you feel that $15 a meal for the pre-made ones is highway robbery.
  • When you show up at the event with you K rations you made, you poke fun at the farby K rations the other guys in your group made for the event, scolding them for not buying the pre-made ones that look much better.
  • When those same buddies give it right back for YOUR K rations also looking farby, you take great offense, as this was the best your Bubble-Jet could print out.

:think:

And besides, in over 20 years in the hobby, I can out EACH time I’ve ever seen people break out authentic looking K rations they could eat at events on just my two hands. I’ve often wondered where repro K rations go if so many people are looking to make them, as I just don’t see them being eaten at re-enactments!

 

I think i have to agree...

 

Here's a link to some of my repro rations, scroll down, I do K, C, Mountain, 10in1, Flight Lunch, and more... I've came to a standstill ATM, but soon will be back in the saddle and attempting a 5in1...

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...showtopic=70432

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