The Bitter Taste of the Battlefield Discovered after Tasting a Russian Military “Ration | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Bitter Taste of the Battlefield Discovered after Tasting a Russian Military “Ration

Nonfiction writer Takehide Mizutani's report on the "Ukrainian War

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It contains three “main dishes” made of beef, as well as ham, cheese, and crackers.

After Russian troops withdrew from the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, they found something on the streets lined with burnt-out tanks and in looted homes. It was a box of rations that Russian soldiers had carried with them during their occupation. In Japanese, they are called “battle rations. The contents were empty, but some Ukrainian residents had been provided with rations by the Russian military.

A total of nine aluminum packaged food items.

In mid-March, his apartment was occupied by Russian troops. His wife (44) and three children were able to evacuate, but he lost his timing and was trapped in the apartment with other residents.

One of the residents was from the Donbass region, which has a large Russian-speaking population, and was able to talk to the Russian military. As a result, he was not directly harmed, but the apartment building was partially damaged by shelling as a result of the engagement, and many windows were broken by the impact. The room directly hit by the shell was shattered and charred whole, killing one man who lived inside. The body was carried downstairs by Mr. Voladimir.

While the apartment suffered such tragedy, the Russian military provided rations. Several groups of Russian soldiers came to the apartment, and one of the groups offered several rations.

The ration is a package type, and comes in an A4 size dark green box. In the center of the surface is a star symbolizing the Soviet era, with “Russian Army” and “Not for Sale” written below it in Russian.

A resident of Bucha, a town near Kieu, shared a ration he had.

When Voladimir opened the box, he found about 30 items inside, including crackers, aluminum packaged food, instant coffee, tea, gum, chocolate, and solid fuel. When asked what he thought of the food, Mr. Voladimir explained that it was “so-so,” but you never know without tasting it. So I asked him to share the extra ration with me.

There were a total of nine aluminum packaged foods. Three of them were considered to be main dishes, and all of them were made with beef: “Rice porridge with beef,” “Minced beef meatballs,” and “Stewed beef, carrots, and peas,” respectively. The rice in the porridge was dry and almost tasteless, perhaps due to insufficient heating. The meatballs had a beefy smell that spread in the mouth, were salty, and tasted salty and spicy. The stew, likewise, was almost forcibly tossed into the mouth and finished because of the beef smell.

The beef liver paste followed, with a strong iron-like bitter taste that was not very appetizing. The ham tasted edible, but it was fatty, the texture was tender, and it was still salty and spicy. The only aluminum packaged food that I felt was edible was the melted cheese. Even the apple paste for dessert tasted more like apricots than apples and was a bit peculiar.

Other foods include crackers, instant coffee, gum, and chocolate. The crackers are almost tasteless, but the chocolate is not too sweet and can be eaten normally. The gum is in the form of white tablets and tastes like cool mints.

So the aluminum packaged foods did not suit my palate, except for the cheese. I have also eaten US military rations before, but never felt as uncomfortable as I did this time.

This Russian military preserves seems to be available on Amazon, priced at 12,980 yen. Reviewers wrote: “Just plain delicious! and “I liked it so much that I bought two more. Is there something wrong with my taste buds? ……

Ground beef meatballs. The smell of beef spread in my mouth, they were salty and tasted salty and spicy.
Stewed beef with carrots and peas. The same beef smell was also a problem.
The ham tasted edible, but it was too fatty and also tasted salty and spicy.
The “melted cheese” was the only one that I could eat with peace of mind.
Apple paste” for dessert. It tasted more like apricots than apples, and I didn’t think it tasted good!
  • Interview, text, and photographs Takehide Mizutani

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