Food for a day

The humanitarian daily ration (HDR) is a small non-perishable package designed to provide one day’s food supply to anyone, regardless of religious dietary restrictions. Just don’t make it the same colour as a bomb when you airdrop it.

Junglecat [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Made in the United States, the HDR is used mainly for humanitarian purposes – in war and natural disaster zones. They contain things like beans, rice, lentil stew, crackers, jam, peanut butter, and other long-lasting nutritionally dense foods – plus matches, salt and pepper, and a moist towelette to clean up afterwards. The total calories of the ration, if you eat everything (except the matches and towelette!), is around 2200. That’s a little less than an average man requires and a little more than an average woman requires per day.

Is anyone else thinking of lembas now? No? Just me?

The HDR can be air-dropped without a parachute, which makes sense for easy delivery in isolated areas. They screwed up a bit in Afghanistan, though: the original packaging was the same colour as American cluster bombs, which were also dropped without a parachute. So, um, awkward.

Related to the HDR is the American “Meal, Ready-to-Eat” field ration, which is used by US army personnel, and the Canadian Individual Meal Pack, which I am delighted to report can sometimes contain poutine and/or maple syrup.

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