Or more accurately known as Meals Ready to Eat or MRE. Some people swear the real name is Meals Rejected by Ethiopians. Doctors called it Meals Require Enemas.
In fairness, MREs have come a long way. I was told that the first few versions were really terrible. Just sardines, biscuits (hardtack) and lemonade powder. Lemonade powder with sardines became assam fish. Yeah tried eating that cold while maintaining a ready watch, ie. lying prone in the mud. A few friends told me that is enough to put you off sardines forever.
Now we have chicken rice, vegetarian and curry for the Muslims. What do other country armies have for their MRE? Click here for a view. The Chinese version looks terrible. Strangely Dutch and Canadian looks like mess hall versions.
According to DID, refugees prefer the French version to Americans. They are highly prized and traded for it. As the US troops in Iraq (2006) found out, the boxes that were used to pack MRE have another use. Packed with sand and bolted to sides of APCs, it acts as effective protection against RPGs