In the absence of anything thrilling – i.e. no blinding lights of inspiration or interesting things on the way to the office – I am ceding to Barbara’s request to mention food.
Actually – from a healthy point of view – there isn’t much to mention. From the “fresh” point there is even less.
All milk is UHT. Because of the shipping distances – it is the only thing that makes sense. Getting a dairy through the inspection and certification process is extremely difficult. Especially in a country where TB and brucellosis is common. No one cooks with butter – so that is not an issue. I have not asked about the vats of “melted butter” which are sometimes out in the morning or on those evenings of surf and turf. Yogurt comes in from other Mideast countries. Normally there is only one kind available at a time and unflavored only rarely. Ice Cream comes in from Germany/US in large containers. Single serving sizes are normally German or Scandinavian brands produced and packaged else where in the middle east.
Eggs – fresh eggs – have to ask the vets. Scrambled =powdered which I am sure is also true of whatever is used in cooking and baking.
Fruit and Veggies.
Lettuce and Tomatoes along with onions are normally “fresh.” Serving line/steam table seem to be a combination of canned and frozen.
Veggies – depends on what comes in – apples, oranges, bananas, plums and the occasional nectarine or kiwi. Scored a couple of mangos – but most people don’t have a clue what to do with it.
Meat – all comes in frozen. Same for Fish and Seafood.
Bakery – bread and bagels (rare) come in frozen as do some deserts. Local baking is common.
What you get and the quality depends on the base, the contractor and the current status of shipping.
The smaller the base, the more limited the choices, dependant on delivery and availability. By the time you get down to outposts and checkpoints – it may well be MREs and T-rats. Shack food is good – but it depends on the mail arriving which is not exactly a daily occurrence. The guys also have limited storage area.
What is overwhelmingly loved? Main courses – steak, Philly cheese steaks, lasagna (eggplant, vegie, meat – it all goes rapidly), chicken (baked, fried, BBQ), ribs, (dead pig). The local crew has an oriental night and they do an excellent job with a rotating choice of entrees. Same with Mediterranean night.
Most of us carry snacks in the pockets. You never know when you are going to get hung somewhere. The farther forward, the more likely you are going to be missing meals. Jerky, granola bars, power bars, trail mix are common favorites. I will not talk about the nutritional value of any of them.
And, since I am headed to lunch – I will avoid the issue of GI disturbances for the moment. Just leave it with – some people have a lot of problems. Avoiding fluids due to travel or patrols all too commonly results in constipation. Others who just don’t get the idea of hand-washing can also be miserable.