I have turned out to be quite the chef in my older days. I remember in my 20’s a hot pocket and Mt. Dew was quite the cuisine.

Now I try to step it up a notch. I actually will mix a bunch of food together in a dish and put it in the oven. Mystery meals are always fun. I learned this technique in the military.

Meals Ready To Eat (MRE) I never knew something could be so disgusting yet so delicious at the same time. Just imagine petrified food. Cheese spread that has a shelf life of 5-10 years. If you squirt it and it oozes brown liquid then you might want to try find another one. Omelets that look like an orange brick, spaghetti that taste like cardboard, you get my point.

When this is all you got then you just have to play around with it. Mixing meals and adding cheese to everything is the key to enjoying a nice relaxing meal on the warm open desert. Of course they never put all the good stuff in one bag so the “Great American MRE Auction and Trade” was the highlight of anyone’s military career.

If you get a dairy shake or the chili mac then it was like you won the lottery; Marines would give up their left nut to have a big-ticket items like that. Chow time in the field was like watching an episode of Storage Wars meets the UFC! Yelling, fighting, trading, and stealing the most edible things. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

I’ll never forget my first cooking in the oven experience.

Single guy, late 20s, living on my own and I felt like testing my culinary skills. I have the pizza prepped (Added extra cheese and pepperoni on top of the frozen stuff) turned on the oven and went to play some video games while the oven heated up.

15 min later I smell something burning.  I look in the kitchen and it’s filled with smoke! I’m in panic mode, flames are coming out of the oven, house is filled with smoke and my poor pizza is on top of the oven getting scorched!

I have no fire extinguisher so I grab the broom and start swatting the flames. That’s just making it worse, fanning the flames was pissing it off!  I look to see what’s in the fire and there is a damn pizza box in the oven on fire.

Finally I stick the flaming broom in the oven and knock the box onto the floor and start jumping on it like crazy. Screaming and dancing like I just saw the biggest killer spider in my life!

Good news is no serious damage was done. Bad news is my pizza and night was ruined.

The lesson here is don’t put your empty pizza box in the oven and check the oven before you heat it up.

The next 3 years I stuck to microwave or cold food only.