The saying here goes that soldiers return from deployment fit or fat. At the major bases like Tallil Ali Air Base, our new home, the proverb is likely to be true because of the facilities. Within a quarter mile of my CHU is a 24-hour gym. Another gym is less than a mile away. Across the street from the gym is the “Grab and Go” Dining Facility--sandwiches and cereal from 0630 to 0900, sandwiches, fruit and snacks from 1100 to 1400.
Less than a mile from my CHU and just a few hundred yards from the Living Area where most Echo soldiers live is the largest DFAC (dining facility) on base. Inside are seats for hundreds of soldiers and airmen and four lines with grills serving both main meal and snack food. After the main lines, there are two salad bars with dozens of choices. In addition there is a cold sandwich bar, a hot sandwich bar, a healthy line with Caesar salads and fresh cut fruit. There is also a dessert bar and two hot tables serving ethnic food or potatoes with several toppings. The other two dining facilities have most of the same food, just fewer lines and a smaller space. I will go into some detail about what is served for lunch, dinner, snack line and midnight meal in later posts.
So what’s breakfast? At the four lines you can get omelets or eggs to order at each of the four grills at the end of each line. Each line serves bacon, sausage, turkey bacon or turkey sausage, Texas Hash (I have not had it, looks like potatoes, sausage and peppers.) scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs and vegetables, grits, oatmeal, oatmeal with raisins, fried potatoes, biscuits and gravy.
Not enough to eat on the main line? The salad bar has fresh fruit, sometimes peeled kiwi and oranges, apples, bananas and other fruit. Then there are raisins, applesauce, nuts, and canned fruit. In place of the hot sandwich and potato bars are waffle and pancake bars with hot strawberries, blueberries and cherries. You can also get made-to-order waffles, toast, doughnuts and coffee cake.
In the back are refrigerators with milk, five or six kinds of juices in juice boxes, brand name sodas, then there is coffee, more juice and tea.
This morning I went to the South side of the base at a smaller DFAC where they don't have omelets or eggs to order--just scrambled eggs. I survived. I had French toast with strawberries, raisin bran cereal, two fruit juices, and a biscuit. I never eat that much at home. Some days I have all that I just named plus and omelet and bacon.
I have lost five or six pounds since I got here. I don't know how. I'll write about the other four meals later.