"Keep your spoon!" Why do we keep MRE spoons?

Discussion in 'Cooking & Water Purification' started by Pastor Chris, Feb 25, 2019.

  1. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Keeper of the T.Darrah Tenkara Pass-Around Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass II

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    Jake and I went through an MRE phase, where we genuinely enjoyed trying lots of different MREs while on hikes. Most of these came through the generosity of members here.

    Almost everyone I have spoke to who is current or separated military could not fathom why we would do this, but that is a separate discussion.

    One of the things that has been said to me several times is "save your spoon"

    This is what I am wondering about.

    Granted, they are good solid thick plastic spoons with a longer handle. But, every MRE comes with a new spoon. So why save it?

    Is this one of the military hazing rituals for new guys who would blindly listen and then end up with a pocket full of spoons amidst the giggles of others?

    Is there something I am missing?

    Just to be sure, I have one in my pen and spoon mug at my desk! (which also contains a diamond sharpening stone, and ice pick, a file, chopsticks, and a small pair of scissors.)

    IMG_1315.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
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  2. HannahT

    HannahT Firebug Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've just started trying MREs, and I like them! The spoon really is sturdy - it'd make a handy cook kit spoon :)
     
  3. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Keeper of the T.Darrah Tenkara Pass-Around Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass II

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    I think the consensus is that none of use would ever want to eat them again if that is what we ate fro a week or more in the field! Probably not best on the old GI tract either.
     
  4. HannahT

    HannahT Firebug Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I

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    Definitely agree there... They're nice for a cold day of chopping wood or something, but I wouldn't want to eat them for a week :D
     
  5. Mikewood

    Mikewood Supporter Supporter

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    There are so many better choices. Canned dog food etc. when you don’t have a choice a poor example is not appreciated. I can eat anything. Most things are cheaper than MREs so why?
     
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  6. DKR

    DKR Guide

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    Huummm

    I have a long handle Sea to Summit Al spoon. Less likely to break that the plastic. Since I strip any MREs carried, I have the S2S spoon. I helps to open the MRE 'entree' packet along the long side. Wider opening and the spoon stays cleaner. After eating, I rinse the spoon in the boiling tea water. All ready for the next meal.

    Stripping an MRE set saves weight and reducing the amount of trash to be carried in/out.

    For nutrition, they are a good value vs freeze dry.

    https://www.hprc-online.org/page/combat-rations-database-comrad
    is a site with the calorie content of the MRE choices, to include drinks.

    I'm lazy.
    If I'm carrying my radios out to chase DX, I'd rather drop a Brisket and mashed potatoe packet into the pouch, add water to the heater and have a decent hot meal in a couple min with minimal clean up. The cookie is a nice touch....

    Cost of a full MRE and a single Mt House entree is just about a wash. I buy my MREs at the local base commissary- they sell them as singles, so I can pick what I buy......
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  7. Howie

    Howie Supporter Supporter Bushclass III Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Keep your spoon. You just never know... Figure_D-15_Expedient_insulators_(FM_7-93_1995).gif
     
  8. hillst1

    hillst1 Supporter Supporter

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  9. Vilke

    Vilke Guide

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    So I am not the only one who kept the spoons, lol.
     
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  10. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Why do we keep shiny, interesting rocks?

    Keeping the spoons was not formally instructed. Many of the older, saltier Marines always advised it when they first came equipped with the newer spoons. You would be surprised at what some of the locals would trade for them...
     
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  11. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Besides, your spoonless friends will be very appreciative. ;)
     
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  12. leghog

    leghog Guide

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    Soldiers use them with trip wires as insulators in electrically initiated booby traps such as Claymore mines so those mines do not have to be command detonated.

    [​IMG]

    Every meal comes with a spoon. No need to save them to eat.
     
  13. LongChinJon

    LongChinJon Supporter Supporter

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    Seems like @Seeker mentioned a "spoon challenge" once where guys would see how long they could use the same spoon when deployed...or was that my imagination?
     
  14. leghog

    leghog Guide

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    I went to school with the guy who designed the "new" longer MRE spoon ~30 years ago when MRE main dishes came in the longer larger rectangular pouches vs square pouches. The easiest solution would have been to place the pouch opening nick so you ripped open the pouch along the long axis and used the same old spoon. Instead, a new spoon was designed. Idiocy.
     
  15. sak45acp

    sak45acp Tracker

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    We "saved" MRE spoons for a couple of things, though we probably never really had to. The original MRE spoons were smaller and made of white plastic. The longer brown ones came about in the late 80's/early 90's with the gen2 ish MRE menus. The old smaller spoons were ideal for taping to the H250 radio handset when the clip on the handset inevitably broke. The old spoon was the perfect size, shape and tension to replace the handset clip. The new brown ones could work for the same purpose, but were bent differently and didn't have the same tension. The longer handle tended to hang up on stuff if you didn't cut it shorter. That was one reason to "keep a spoon."

    The plastic spoons could also be used as illustrated in an above post as insulators when building a field expedient antenna for a field radio such as the PRC 77 or Sincgars. An antenna would take several insulators, so if a couple of guys kept their spoons handy, they were available (though if there was any chance you might need an extra antenna, you would just make it in the rear or CP before going on patrol, and better materials were available). Spoons as insulators can be used to set up electrical connections (the plastic keeping the metal conductors apart until needed) on explosive booby traps.

    We would sometimes have stupid, silly contests in the field, one of which was to see who could go the longest using only the spoon from your first MRE of the exercise to the end. I usually eventually lost mine, one of the guys in my platoon went several exercises with the same spoon :26:. He kept it shoved in his boot.

    There were always extra MRE pieces parts jammed into pockets and rucksacks, and we usually kept a spoon tucked somewhere "just in case." It was probably never necessary to keep one, we could always get another MRE. Now that I'm out, I still have a stash of MRE's in the basement. I have saved several of the spoons to keep in my cook kit box as extras or loaners, and they are handy to keep in the glove box and day pack.
     
  16. sak45acp

    sak45acp Tracker

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    And the new spoon still wasn't long enough!!
     
  17. PACoureurDuBois

    PACoureurDuBois For God and Country --AISI #49-- --Roughian #79-- Supporter

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    This is probably a little off the wall, but field expedient tent stake?
     
  18. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    Having learned how to weld /form plastics ,saving the plastic is valued for making repairs of similar chemistry .
    I don't waste what is inherently valuable
     
  19. Forestree

    Forestree Treeforest Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I really like the long mre spoons....probably one of my favorite utensils in the kitchen and have been using the same one daily for at least 6 months now :57: I used to eat a lot of mres on work assignments and the spoon was about the only thing in them that I liked. Didn’t save many spoons back then, but I do have a dozen or so stashed away.

    Here is my wood mre spoon recreation almost made to spec :D

    FD8209EE-3283-4DD3-A055-8DB17BBB41E7.jpeg
     
  20. Oldguy59

    Oldguy59 Roughian #5 Supporter

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    I carry a spoon and fork and don’t eat MREs anymore.but if you have a good spoon you may as well hang on to it the next one may be broken or missing. To quote an over used phrase. Two is one and one is none.
    Guess you could make a lure out of it.
     
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  21. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    I cary stainless knife spoon and fork in my EDC .
     
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  22. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I carried a tablespoon, a fork and a serrated steak knife when I was in. An officer asked me once why I was carrying non-issue gear. I looked at him and asked him where was his issued gear. He wisely walked away...
     
  23. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Keeper of the T.Darrah Tenkara Pass-Around Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass II

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    This might be its own thread, but if I had a time machine, I would go back in time and follow @MrFixIt around just for these sorts of experiences.
     
  24. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Some are recalled fondly, many not so much...
     
  25. BetterNotBitterIsSurvival

    BetterNotBitterIsSurvival LB #42 Helga IS thriving! Supporter

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    Here is an old story many may have heard but became personal to me a few years ago concerning saving your spoon or fork.

    When my BIL was losing his battle with cancer he requested this old story be in his eulogy and that a fork be left in his breast pocket at the funeral.

    How the story goes is that at every church social when food was served you knew something good was coming (dessert) when reminded to save your fork as the meal was ending. So my wonderful BIL wanted that message passed along as he left us...he knew that the best was yet to come!

    Sincerely,
    ~Helga
     
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  26. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    The guy with the YT channel that taste tests MREs from around the world has repeatedly stated that the US MRE spoon is the best eating utensil in all the MREs he's tried.
     
  27. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter

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    They are so well made and sturdy, I just can't bring myself to toss one away.
     
  28. GoodPhotos

    GoodPhotos Father, Husband, Patriot, Entrepreneur Supporter

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    One can never have too many spoons. There are starving people in Africa who would KILL for an extra spoon or two!
     
  29. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Keeper of the T.Darrah Tenkara Pass-Around Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass II

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    LOL. One of the things I have enjoyed most about my times in Africa is the social acceptability of eating with one’s hands. Like everything, there is a definite technique to it.
     
  30. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter

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    But if they are starving and have no food....what do they need a spoon for??? :rolleyes: :9:
     
  31. whtshdwwz

    whtshdwwz Supporter Supporter

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    My favorite all time MRE accessory was the mini bottle of Tabasco Sauce.....it was a right of passage to document days in the field by the bag of said Tabasco Sauce to trade as needed.
     
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  32. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Good lord, how do you even remember that? Let alone that I'm the one who said it?! LOL. Yes, it was me. It was a Soldier thing... you get a little buggy at times, during a field exercise.

    Curiously, or coincidentally, I used to work with the guy who got the Army to put the Tabasco in the MRE... was one of his favorite stories. Good dude.

    A friend of ours did the same... she asked that we hand out forks at the funeral home. Wife and a few of here closest friends still have theirs.

    When I was in (80s/90s), contests aside, we were still using them as @Howie and @leghog said: as pieces and parts for booby traps/trip wire alarms, field expedient radio antenna insulators, etc.
     
  33. hidden_lion

    hidden_lion Guide

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    The cookie bar is the best way to not have to crap in the woods for a week...it will lock you up tight and actually tastes good
     
  34. Not Sure

    Not Sure Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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  35. Dave_Markowitz

    Dave_Markowitz Supporter Supporter

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    And then you have the tiny folding plastic spork issued in the otherwise excellent French RCIR ration. It is nearly useless. Look at this ridiculous thing:

    [​IMG]

    --That's the box of matches that comes in the French ration, for scale.

    In contrast, this South Korean ration came with a pretty good spoon:

    [​IMG]
     
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  36. OSOK

    OSOK Tracker

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    I used to keep a spare spoon im my rifle mag pouch. I would set a corner on fire, and use the nasty, black soot from the burning spoon to blacken my rifles sights on qualification day.
     
  37. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I love MREs. :) Any of you who have them and don't want them, feel free to send them to me. I also have a lot of spoons. I use a LMF Ti spork and when I eat an MRE, I use my spoon, and keep the one from the MRE in my pack.
     
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  38. goon

    goon Scout

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    You can also use another half clothes pin for that... so you CAN save the spoon! (Not that I know much about such field expedient “gifts.”)

    I was told the tradition of saving a spoon was to keep it in your pocket and try to mooch your buddies’ food whenever possible. Also, if someone screwed up and forgot to pack a spoon in your mre, you’d still have one.
     
  39. Gruntinhusaybah

    Gruntinhusaybah Fallbrook Forge Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I

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    A) it’s a good spoon.
    B) it’s used in field expedient antennas, booby traps, repairs and other things.
    C) it’s nice to have one when you get the MRE that missed the spoon station
     
  40. KFF

    KFF Supporter Supporter

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    Never eaten a mre but by the descriptions here, the spoon is the single best thing about the meal. So it might be useful again sometime, even if it's just that the tub of icecream starts hollering to you on the way home.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  41. haunted

    haunted Guide

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    crap you mean they arent edible?
     
  42. LongChinJon

    LongChinJon Supporter Supporter

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    Weird bits of trivia stick in my head. Can't help it. Can't remember this morning, though.
     
  43. leghog

    leghog Guide

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    The French combat rations were the best of any combat rations I ever had.
     
  44. Jeffa

    Jeffa Scout

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    Off topic. Have you ever gone thru a drive threw on a road trip and they didnt give you a spoon, but since you have a edc kit and camp cook set always on you it was all good. What do other people do? Just dump it in their mouth? Save the spoon we arnt savages ahahah
     
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  45. leghog

    leghog Guide

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    We check our order before pulling away from the window.
     
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  46. AK Adventurer

    AK Adventurer Scout

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    And about 9/10 times they'll tell you that they're sorry, but they're also out of spoons... ;)
     
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  47. BetterNotBitterIsSurvival

    BetterNotBitterIsSurvival LB #42 Helga IS thriving! Supporter

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    I agree with @leghog about checking the order before driving away. And @Jeffa, I have to ask if you are one of those folks who shaves (with your huge knife), talks on the phone, eats a five-course meal, makes feather sticks all silmultaneasly while driving. If you are I think that was me behind you the other day. I just wanted to make sure you know that I was NOT making a rude gesture! I was trying to point out that you had left the infant carrier (with infant?) on the tailgate of your truck. If that wasn’t you, please, disregard. :p;)

    @Seeker, what a cool story about your friend and the Tobasco in our MREs! It was amazing what a little Tobasco could do to make a meal better. I still have several bottles in a shadow box from when I was in (late 80s/early 90s) some unopened and some empty. During Desert Storm we used to clean them out to send sand to folks.

    Personally, @KFF, I think MREs sometimes get a bad rap. I wouldn’t say they are the best food I have ever eaten but neither were they the worst. The typical issue was boredom because in my day they only had a selection of 12 and some were better than others. I will admit before some of my fellow vets jump me that since I was MI in an aviation unit I was a REMF - if you don’t know what that means ummm...PM me ;) - so I didn’t eat them every meal for weeks at a time since my unit had an MKT and an amazing mess sergeant!

    Yes we saved the spoons too but not for tactical reasons; I want to say it was almost tradition or expected and probably learned behavior from some of the old soldiers. LOL However, they did come in handy when we wanted to eat our ramen or other foods that came in care packages from home.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  48. Traditionalist

    Traditionalist Guide

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    If we did start throwing away our spoons, we’d risk California banning them. Much smarter to stay ahead of this and keep saving them!
     
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  49. OMRebel

    OMRebel Meanderer of the Piney Woods Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I remember seeing a vendor on here selling the MRE spoons a while back, it was about 7 or 8 bucks for about a dozen or so. Can't knock the guy for meeting the wants and needs of others, but why pay that much for a plastic spoon? Yes, these are very sturdy spoons and have longer than normal handles. Yes, hold on to one if you get it, they are great for cook sets and such. Maybe I'll start saving mine and passing them along to the less fortunate...lol.

    Although MRE's have improved much over my time in the service, they are still contracted to the lowest bidder and the quality reflects that. Still, the hungrier you get the better the taste, lol. Why save the spoon? My question is, why get an MRE in the first place when there are better options at better prices?
     
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  50. Hawkcreek

    Hawkcreek Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    No one has mentioned this one: in the 8 years I was in I never saw an M240 that would run with blanks. But if you cut a spoon down so you had a portion of the handle the same width as the feed tray and taped it on real well your M240 would feed blanks all day long.
     
    Thorns, aaronu, bacpacjac and 4 others like this.

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