UK military cuisine leaps into the 21st century

Napoleon
famously said that an army marches on its stomach. Now, not only is this
crucial element of the soldier’s kit bag – the operational ration pack – being
made tastier, it is more reflective of the military personnel it feeds.

The
British Armed Force’s ration-pack menu is being extended to include more global
dishes and mirror the ethnic diversity of today’s servicemen and women.

About
20 different choices are now available – far removed from the days of the
Napoleonic wars – including a specialised range to feed fighters of different
religious persuasion.

There
are menus suitable for those observing kosher and Sikh diets, as well as
vegetarian approved options – all designed to have a shelf life of at least
three years and survive in extreme conditions. Curries and pasta are also being
included.

Military
personnel are also being encouraged to think of themselves as athletes, using
their diet to speed recovery and reduce fatigue.

The
latest figures from the Ministry of Defence show there are around 10,000 people
of ethnic minority origin serving in the UK’s Armed Forces – about 5 per cent
of the total headcount.

By Quentin Reade

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