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

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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