Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lunch with Ivan Amato

For soldiers MREs (Meal Ready to Eat) is just victuals in a vinyl bag, but for Ivan Amato, author of the book Stuff and managing editor of Chemical and Engineering News Jambalaya in an aluminum bag was just the beginning of a banquet of materials: vinyl, polyethylene. Ivan's first comment on ripping open his MRE is "What a waste" looking at all the packaging. But then he quickly became fascinated with all the "Stuff" inside the sand-colored bag. First was the FRH--flameless ration heater. The FRH has magnesium metal powder inside a plastic bag. Add water and the magnesium oxidizes fast, heating the water and the Jambalaya. I was eating Cajun rice and beans. We both had a metal pouch of cheese spread--Ivan thought it could be used as adhesive. I had crackers and he had wheat bread. We ate the cheese and carbs while we waited for the main course to heat up.

WHERE: It would be completely inauthentic to eat MREs indoors, so we ate at the mostly empty outside tables at Caribou coffee shop at 15th and M St. in Washington DC. The temp was mid-90s and the humidity about 50%. The smart people ate inside.

After cheese and crackers/wheat bread and the main course, neither of us ate desert, so Ivan's kids will be eating a chocolate energy bars, Skittles, and carrot cake for dessert tonight.

Anyway, it was interesting to see Ivan's view of all the materials that go into a meal that can withstand rough handling and bad weather and still, according to Ivan, taste good.

The German Evangelical Church Backed the Nazis in 1932 Then Turned on Their Jewish Members

In Charlottesville in 2017 Nazi flags and Rebel flags flew together. Jim Crow laws in the American South  inspired the German race l...