Households tend to take pantry food for granted, but canned beans, powered cheese, and bags of moist cookies were not designed for everyday convenience. These standard products were made to meet the needs of the military. Reporter Tina Antolini, host … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars. A few years ago on the Stasi amongst ourselves, data was making money for her kids and settle like most mom I do! A lot of lunches and I do that. I usually try and find a balance between healthy not so a healthy from the, not quite so healthy sighed. She might pack some cheesy crackers and on the healthy side, she'd maker, kids, a sandwich or at least she thought, the sandwiches that she was making we're healthy until she looked closely at the ingredients. I realized tat. I had pulled. The pact Stella made out of my friends at the bread came from my bread Box and then synonym for a while and sit in the soup, Arcadian than had been manufactured way back when and Stasi. I got to thinking it is kind of unnatural for food. To last this long This really a healthy lunch. That's Tina!
until we need a host of the podcast gravy. Helping us tell this story: Anastasia looked at the package telling me to the store, bought sliced bread, the process, cheese as happens, she's a journalist. She writes a lot about food. So she started looking into it. I went through all those ingredients that you just was sending, including them the mustard and the man is, and at least two of the items. The package, Delhi, meat and the supermarket bread took her research Similarly, to this obscure. U S army base the natives soldier system centre, fist very strange. What is the army doing it in the infinitude? What the he is doing in food is, of course, feeding the troops and buy stuff gee extension you and me military organizations have actually been involved in food production ever since the earliest combat rations, the first com, rations were probably eaten by the Sumerians they do carry
with them into battle, barley, cakes, beer and green onions back in the early days of organised warfare. If you were marching into battle and didn't know, when you get home again, you needed to bring something that would keep all of these rationed were based on traditional methods of prison Irene food drains, Salteena smoking, and a clean, but the real innovation was coming up with a preserved protein ancient exceptions, went to war, carrying dried fish with them, and in the eleventh and twelve centuries, the Mongols preserved their meat by storing it under their saddles and this
from the horse would enter the meat and though the pressure of the riders wait would push them down, and I would actually create this preserved meat so that that and assaulted by horse, sweat and compressed by your, but on the saddle, mongolian methods. Aside for some two thousand years, military food rations pretty much stay, the same flower beans, a hunk of salted meat and some hardtack a kind of twice baked biscuit or in the case of Napoleon's army soldiers were just go, plunder the countryside and eat whatever they found, which became problem when soldiers. When am I a trying to get food when there was about, the fight in so in seventeen. Ninety five, the french government and the Agriculture Department decided they needed a new way to preserve food for the troops, nay the contest. Twelve thousand Frank's to any one who could come up with a new method, a man, Nicholas appear responded. He was, at the time the celebrity chef he cooked for king,
in queens and apparel found. A way to cook and preserve food using glass and metal containers. This is canning and revolutionise the world. This was, first time, that a military had taken on a big problem in food technology and solved it and militaries would continue to innovate around food for soldiers and sailors Ford World WAR. Two in the United States during world war to the country had to ramp up from feeding four hundred, thousand soldiers to ultimately eleven point: six million Americans, said packs of meat and cheese and crackers, as well as canned goods, of course, but these rations didn't survive the rigours of war too well and they we haven't been sufficient to feed so many soldiers in so many different locations in so many different climates and conditions them the jury had been unprepared to feed their soldiers during World war to the
government said well, you know what we don't ever one I have to go through this again. It was just horrible the have to ramp up. So, let's maintain, ourselves, in a state of preparedness in soap Baroness became policy after World war, two to support that They created a system of seven hundred federal laboratories all day into developing military technologies and one of them is the native soldiers system Centre outside of Boston, looks pretty much like suburbia, with the exception of the intense electric fence, except for the barbed wire fence in the guard posted at the gate. The new soldiers system centre, looks like a normal office park, but this office, is the epicenter of the modern military diet. It is the whole. Of the combat feeding directorate, which has been here.
Since the nineteen fifties. First of all, can I have you introduce yourself indiscriminately. I'm Stephen Moody director of combat feeding, ah here at them, soldier research, development and engineering centre. Stephen showed me how military food technology has evolved over time. Cans, for instance, have since been reply. By flexible, lined pouches cans or bulky and heavy the nineteen eighties troops have been eating their meals out of those pouches in what are called memories, meals ready to eat. The first Emory contain a lot of freeze, dried components, a freeze, dried meet Patty that you would have to add water too and then heated and down having having eaten a few of those in my time as an active duty soldier had to get it just right. It was always either a little bit too. Soggy are a little bit crunchy at the end of the day ever since were the combat feeding directorate has been tasked with overcoming certain challenges inherent in food. It spoils it grows mauled, it loses flavour.
And if you're, trying to feed a vast number of people in climates, ranging from the desert to the human jungle over long periods of time. To figure out ways of making food that will avoid its natural tendency to go bad, so the combat feeding directorate has old teams of microbiologists engineers and other scientists working to extend the lives of foods. Food engineering preservation stabilization, for instance, would be the ones I would try to figure out how to make that product shelf stable for two three five: there's five years without federation exactly and then there's the little detail of taste, making the stuff actually palatable The modern Emory has come a long way from that. Chewy freeze, dried meet, Patty, today's high tech- pouches come with another pouch that chemically heats the ration, the? U S, military now offers twenty four different entrees from cheese toward ovine to lemon pepper. Tuna, too,
jumble liar on the jumble I, for instance, trying to make sure that jumble. I would would last for three years at eighty degrees in a pouch is a challenge, so we we tweak the spices, we tweak the ingredients so that we can make sure that the flavor is optimal at the end of the shelf has lost the beginning, so that soldier on a mountain in Afghanistan can enjoy a flexible pouch of three year old jumble liar, I mean that's the goal, but it's not always the reality. When you open, a memory was just like this gelatinous barbecue beef that it is pungent smell. Do a Louisiana native Ben Armstrong spent five years in the marine corps. Don't even get him started on the jumble. I am sorry for a Louisiana in words, just sacrilege never tried. So the military is Ngos working on a Marie's. There also turned develop foods that looking It's more like. You know what you needed three, a m nearly
really really hungry, and your judgment is somewhat impaired. We actually took something hot pocket, find in the freezer at the grocery store and made one that was shoved stable, and we did that by controlling the water activity and the ph of the different components within the product. So that they will allow bacteria to grow, they package That would something called an oxygen scavenger a little bit. Get of iron filings that absorbs oxygen, keeping it away the bread, some old wooden row on the bread and we, we design hurdles to each step within the process that might allow spoil edge to them where we now have a sandwich that will last for three years at room temperature, and this leads us to the holy GRAIL of military food science, an item that soldiers have been requesting time immemorial, pizza pizza that is shelf stable for three
This is a pilot plant Stephen took me inside a massive industrial kitchen, full of joy. Kettles, mixers ovens. I see worker in a lab code inherent standing over an enormous part stir vigorously. Lee looking in another corner of the pilot plants differ worker, is placing up a pizza, topping that at first I thought I misheard. Did you call this Ozma Rony Oz Moroni, Ass Moroni, Moroni or asthmatic pepperoni looks like a roll of toilet paper made of meat a thin. She a beef rolled up with a layer of plastic to prevent it from sticking to itself its preserve. Using asthmatic dehydration. The technology basically involves running thin sheets of meat through a special water bath. There were the water from the meat itself. Preserving it, tasted
I probably if somebody just serve me that I would not have even questioned what it was now you one I mean it's it tastes like pepperoni. I would probably increase the amount of pepperoni flavour, but those are some of the things that were working on the army is aiming to have shelf stable, Peter in combat zones by twenty seventeen in maybe soon after that, in your local. Grocery store this is another part of the combat feeding directorate every, its origins after world war. Two Terry decided it needed to create a backup plan to feed troops in the event of a sudden war, and so the? U S, government made it a requirement for these labs to share their findings with the commercial sector. What we try to do when we come up with an and and that can only help us with economies of scale. If something is military unique and this only produced for the? U S military, the costs are gonna, be a lot higher and if its produced for the commercial sector as well and is not just costs, if there's ever a large demand for these combat rations, like in a time of war, it's good for you.
If there was ever a large demand for these combat rations, like in a time of war, it's good for military. If there are companies out there that already have the technology to make these kinds of products and, of course, if the private sector. Has these technologies they'll use them Does this mean? There is evidence of the armies influence all over the grocery reveals. For example, your children can thank the armed services for their favorite food, not she's patter in MAC and Cheese, and then you have offered me cheesy snap food miles around anastasius marks. Dsl Sado took Oliver Research, starting with her children's lunch and wrote a book called combat. Ready kitchen how the? U S military sheep's. The way you ease so at this point you can walk into a grocery store and point out all the foods that have the military's fingerprints on them, which is exactly
She did with me with Essen TV dinners, Turkey tetra. Seeing me then gravy and turkey part by the tv dinner. The frozen entre was developed by an army contractor to feed bomber troops on overseas flights, and this prompted the military to come up with what became the microwave. Yes, the microwave is a military innovation. The military also developed, freeze, dried technology, so in some coffee, tease soups the army also hit upon a game changer, but they call into Did he had Meister foods, foods that are moist and also back to your resistant? You see this in energy bars, pillowy sliced, bread packaged cookies. One thing that could make your stated once they understood the scientific they started to making this often choose cookies in the olden days. Supermarket feeds would be crisp, as we can through the grocery storm, honest us
stops and squeezes package's. She gets excited about a package of time. He's all and sweet Chile Stir fries us out came the reason I feel it up is that to feel the packaging. This is a return. Pouch which was developed by the natives centre, those flexible pouches or the same packaging from the memories. But now it's Bruce Queasy Applesauce in yogurt tuna and saw us back. I can start to be a little bit haunting as you go: grassroots shopping, the military everywhere I started to feel like I was walking around looking ghosts of conversations. I I think about it when we went on with my kids because they do seem to prefer this. It's not just on a Stasi as kids. These food products are love it and ubiquitous from cheaters to choose granola bars, military, innovations have a tendency to get worked into our diets and most people don't stop to question how a pack,
cookie can remain soft for eternity and I think most consumers we say hey. If comes in Pakistan company, I'm said it's: ok, I'm not gonna worry about it and we go for that. Anastasius as its unclear how or if these food preservation techniques are affecting our health. There, a lot of The military has changed the chemistry of different foods on all of them have been studied, but she's definitely hesitating before putting these types of foods in her kids, lunches The average civilian doesn't need food to stay preserve for years at a time, but it sure up on our shelves thanks to the military and whereby in it this what were given the show stable and the mole resistant meticulously, designed to stimulate the fresh and the familiar so if, in a few years you happen to buy a shelf, stable pizza in your local supermarket be prepared that pepperoni
actually be OZ. Moroni ninety nine percent. Invisible was produces week by Tina until any, with Avery, Chauvelin, Katy Mingle seem Greenspan, Kirkwall Stead and me roman Mars. Tina intervening host upon gas gravy, which is the production of the southern Food ways alliance. You can check it out at southern food waste, dot, Org, slash gravy. You can find a link to Anastasius marks the cell say those book combat ready kitchen, how the? U S military shapes the way you eat on our website. That's ninety! Nine p! I don't work,
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.