The five-minute latrine

From the oko spelt burger to the fully recycled pee burger

Instant food has had two disadvantages in military use so far: it takes 1. Fresh and 2. Boiling water for preparation. Now no water canister must be dragged along any more – also used beer is enough.

The "epas", the march emergency rations for soldiers, have never been known for special tastiness. Standard canned goods such as fart beans in thickened tomato broth, pea sausage or pumpernickel bread are part of the usual assortment in germany.

In america, where even for the average burger such strange things as melted cheese from the aerosol can are on the menu and everything is as simple and on the spot as possible – in other words, everything is as simple and on the spot as possible "instant" – must be prepared, is therefore "instant food" very popular – the 5-minute terrine: fill a cup with riddling crumbs with hot water and you’re done.

For other reasons, this type of meal is also common to equip the military: dehydrated food saves weight on the march and halt long. The only problem: where to "enjoyment" to take the hot fresh water? Carrying a water tank and a stove would cancel out all the weight savings – and also represent an unnecessary loss of time and a safety hazard on the battlefield.

"Brrrr, it tastes like it’s been poured in…"

As the new scientist reports, scientists have therefore now developed an instant food ration with a built-in water filter, which can remove 99.9 percent of all bacteria and chemicals from the added water. And the broth no longer has to be boiled. So the soldier can help himself from any sinkhole and any mudhole. Or you can pee all over your food ration – apparently that doesn’t make it taste any worse, and the soldiers in the iraq war who came up with the idea liked it.

The developers of the pee-able food, the combat feeding directorate, part of the u.S. Army soldier systems center in natick, massachusetts, already have experience with questionable food: in 2002, they developed the "eternal sandwich," which after three years still tastes as (badly) as it did on day one. As spokeswoman diane wood explains – who certainly doesn’t have to subsist on her pee burgers – the weight of a soldier’s daily ration of three meals can be reduced from 3.5 kilograms to 400 grams and drinking water can also be filtered in this way.

Motive: weight saving

The basis of the instant food, which only acquires its personal flavor during preparation, is not noodle soup or popcorn, by the way, but chicken with sh…, no rice. The added fluid is then treated by reverse osmosis similar to seawater desalination. The membranes consist of thin layers of cellulose-based plastic material. The gaps between the fibers are only half a nanometer in size, so that bacteria cannot pass through them.

For the couch potato who doesn’t want to get up after three beers and has also become hungry in the meantime, however, the new designer food is unsuitable: the manufacturer, hydration technology of albany in oregon, warns that soldiers should only use the water from its own production in an emergency – by which it is not meant that the soldier has to pee urgently – because the filter is too coarse to filter out urea. This is not toxic and does not harm the body in the short term, according to ed beaudry, an engineer at the company, but chronic feeding with pee food were bleeding kidney damage.

Well then: meal!

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