Dr. Strangeloaf: A Survival-Food Taste Test

How I learned to stop worrying and love the Candwich.

In 1961, the Pentagon ordered 150 million crushed-wheat wafers to be distributed to fallout shelters and opened in the event of nuclear war. The biscuit, the New York Times reported with some trepidation, “tastes something like a graham cracker.” Since then, the selection of survival food has expanded with every end-times scare, from Y2K to 2012. A sampling of what’s in the well-provisioned bug-out bag:

 

ENTRÉES

AmeriQual macaroni and beef in sauce Meal Ready to Eat

This vacuum-sealed staple, beloved of American soldiers with no other menu options, comes with peanut butter, crackers, raisins, a toaster pastry, and an oatmeal cookie. Want vegetables? Go nibble some grass. Shelf life: 5 years (or more)

Mountain House freeze-dried eggs with bacon

After a month of chasing squirrels, you won’t mind the unnaturally yellow color, the flavor of liquid smoke, or the spongy texture. Shelf life: 7 years

DESSERT

Shelf Reliance freeze-dried strawberry slices

Like fine wine, this cryodesiccated delight only gets better with age. Shelf life: 25 years

KIDS’ MENU

Peanut butter and grape jelly Candwich

The “Sandwich in a Can” has a military-developed bun that other brands have yet to copy…for a reason. Shelf life: 1 year

Daily Bread freeze-dried ice cream sandwich

It’s got the Glenn Beck seal of approval, so you know it’s gonna be good. Shelf life: 7 years

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate