Eat as the Soldiers Do, at MOFAD’s ‘Combat Rations’ Event

This interactive discussion of military food will be led by Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, author of Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat.

20160121 Combat-Ready Kitchen

Many people don’t realize how many connections there are between the shelf-stable items we buy at stores and their histories with the military. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Food and Drink.

Continuing last week’s confessional mode, I’d like to reveal my strong crush on the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD). Since opening its first space in October, it’s proven itself to be irreverent, smart, engaging and fun. My favorite ways of approaching food are distilled at MOFAD; of course I swoon.

And if I wasn’t already smitten, next week’s Combat Rations event really sealed the deal. This interactive discussion of military food will be led by Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, author of Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat. And in true MOFAD style, you will actually sample soldier food from different eras and parts of the world.

I caught up with program associate Catherine Piccoli, who helped bring the event to MOFAD, to get a better sense of what was in store.

Edible Brooklyn: So how did this particular event come about?
Catherine Piccoli: I was doing research on MSG and umami and realized the U.S. military had long shown an interest in MSG starting with World War II. They even held two symposiums on it! I started digging around and came across Anastacia’s new book. We thought it would be great to partner with her on an event.

EB: Can you describe how the event will go down?
CP: As with all MOFAD events, we like to have a good degree of interactivity. So instead of just sitting there listening to a lecture, the audience gets to taste things. We’ll highlight some items eaten by soldiers throughout time.

EB: Will the MREs be served on silver platters like fancy hors d’oeuvres?
CP: Ha, probably not? It’ll be little bites but restaurant serving trays would probably be most appropriate. I mean, we’re giving people hardtack.

EB: What would you say the audience is for an event like this?
CP: Well anyone interested in military history, and I think there’s lots of those people. But really, it’s anyone who is interested in where their food comes from. Many people don’t realize how many connections there are between the shelf-stable items we buy at stores and their histories with the military. Like granola bars — did you know those were initially developed for military use? And all canned goods of course go back to Napoleon’s army. There are lots of connections.

EB: Are there still tickets available for next week’s event?
CP: There are! And we have a special student rate of $10 for this one.

Buy tickets here.

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Jesse Hirsch

Formerly the print editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan, Jesse Hirsch now works as the New York editor for GOOD magazine.