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Snacks w/ a long shelf life

My Dad leaves today for Afghanistan (civilian contractor), and will be gone for six months.  He will have no access to a kitchen, or even a microwave for the duration, and will be subjected to mess hall food.  I'd like to send him some snacks that will taste better and BE better for him than boiled meat and mushy veg and tons of carbs, but am told the average shipping time is 3-4 weeks.  Can you guys make some suggestions for snacky type things (either ingredients or recipes) that will still be edible for several weeks after arrival, and I'm sure drastic changes in temperature?  I'm going to try some mango lime fruit leather, and am thinking I can ship him an elecric kettle to maybe make oatmeal or something similar.  He loves food, and is really adventurous.  His favs are apricots and pistachios, but hates peanuts.  
I dug through the memories and tags, and didn't see anything that really helped.  If you guys know any entries I missed, please link me to them!  I chose the tags I thought appropriate, but if you have any suggestions for more, please share. 
And the recipe for the fruit leather I'll be making.  Anybody got any idea how much frozen mango chunks would be equivilant to 2 whole mangos?  Generally speaking, since I live in the sticks, the fresh mangos out here suck.  They just stay rock hard for weeks and then turn to mush in 24 hours.  Makes me so sad, since I love fresh mango!  Also, any ideas on what I could use to replace the juice concentrate?  I've never made fruit leather before, so I'm not sure if its for sweetness or moisture.

Mango Lime Fruit Leather

2 large ripe mangoes, peeled and cut in chunks
zest and juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup 100% white grape juice concentrate

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper in a baking sheet. Place all ingredients in a food processor or a good blender. Pulse until smooth.

2. Spread mixture over parchment paper and bake for 1-3 hours, or until fruit leather is dry (cooking times will vary, depending on how thick you spread the mixture, and how much water is in the fruit). Allow to cool completely.


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 9th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
I checked with a friend who did two tours over there, and he said that things like rollups and leathers almost always arrived melted into wee puddles that were immediately thrown out. He also suggested looking at officially sanctioned soldier care package websites for ideas of what to send and not send.

(He should check with where he will be living on whether or not a kettle would be allowed. Some places want to keep food prep contained to reduce critter-infestations.)
Feb. 9th, 2011 04:34 pm (UTC)
Crap. Well, there goes that idea! I just chipped some money into friends' care packages prior to this, so I've never had the trials of prepping on myself.
I was going to wait until Dad had been there a few weeks before asking about the kettle. I was thinking, at the very least, he could brew himself a decent cup of coffee.
Feb. 9th, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC)
I love snacking on nori. It's like paper, so as long as it's kept dry, it lasts a long time. It's not everyone's thing, though.
Feb. 9th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC)
Well, he loves sushi, so this is an idea I'll throw at him. Thanks!
Feb. 9th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
It tastes super fishy, though. Unless you actually like that, I wouldn't recommend that one. Personally, the taste makes me gag.
Feb. 9th, 2011 05:30 pm (UTC)
Depending on where he'll be, the chow hall will have decent food, including fresh fruit and snacks. Wait for him to tell you what he needs, since he may be able to get a lot of things at a FOB PX.
Feb. 9th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
From what he's been told, from other consultants already there, the food blows. ;) That, and he loves food and cooking, so I know he's going to be jonsing for something good that he can't get.
I was going to wait a bit, but since I don't make a lot of money, I wanted to start pricing stuff out.
Feb. 9th, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
if he's civilian he may not have access to military resources like a px.
Feb. 9th, 2011 06:32 pm (UTC)
If he's on the FOB, he *should* have access, since there's no where else to buy supplies. Any CAC card holder should be able to get in, at least that's what my hubby says, and he got back from the 'Stan less than a month ago.

I know contractors had access to the PX in Iraq.

Edited to fix a typo.

Edited at 2011-02-09 06:33 pm (UTC)
Feb. 9th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
He's retired navy, coming in (as I understand it; you know how security clearances are) under a DOD contract. So between those two, I can't imagine he'd have many problems.
Just to show my ignorance, what does FOB mean?
Feb. 9th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
Sorry, Forward Operating Base. :-)

Good luck to him!
Feb. 9th, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
Its alright! I was 2 when he went from active duty to reservist, and over the next 20 years, I didn't hear many of these terms. The most I might have heard was during Desert Storm, when he got shipped over for intel work. Seeing as I was 8 at the time... ;-)
Thank you!
Feb. 9th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
He's retired navy, coming in (as I understand it; you know how security clearances are) under a DOD contract.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 9th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
Guess I'll have to find a friend with a Costco membership! Thank you!
Feb. 10th, 2011 01:36 am (UTC)
Those pistachios are the BOMB! They've got salt and pepper on them, and are totally delicious!

I agree with a trip to costco. I've made a few care packages for a friend in fiji, and that's been my shopping stop.
Feb. 10th, 2011 01:25 am (UTC)
Below is the list that my friend a marine posted on facebook as the things that they like. As someone with obsessive care package disorder here are my words of wisdom. Avoid anything gooey, chocolatey or with the potential to melt or explode. If you bake cookies put a slice of bread in with them and wrap them individually and then put into a tin tote or Tupperware. Cookies with a higher fat content work better. Most of the AD soldiers/marines I've done care packages for are really desperate for protein as whatever is in the DFAC is gross or just not enough for dudes. Also if youre sending him other things in the packages like toothpaste or deodorant make sure you put it in ziplocs. Because nothing says delicious like Old Spice flavored cookies :)

Also, this time of year the shipping time should be roughly 1 week if hes at a main FOB, 2-4 weeks if hes at a COP but even some COPs are getting mail within a week.

Jerky - Any Type or Kind
Tuna - Any Type or Kind
Chicken - Any Type or Kind
Granola Bars - Chewy & Nature Valley
5 hr. Energy Drinks
ANY Energy Drinks
Drink Mixes
Jolly Ranchers

Let me know if you have more questions!
Feb. 10th, 2011 02:19 am (UTC)
Well, my Dad, at the ripe old age of 54, is going in as a consultant. Don't know what, exactly, he's going to be consulting on, (gotta love that security clearance when you can't tell your fellow preschoolers what your daddy does! And that hasn't changed in 20+ years.) I imagine it might be similar to Desert Storm, where he was doing intelligence of some kind. So while he might not need the high amounts of protein that an active duty soldier will, I'm just looking to supplement what he'll be getting, at the chow hall. And considering my Dad's an avid cook with an adventurous palate, I'm sure he'll be desperate by the time he gets home! Add in the fact that the other consultants have told him that they're working 70-90 hours a week, I'm sure he'll need some kind of additional food.
My current plan of action is to mail him something small, like the handwarmers I'm knitting, along with some lip balm, aloe vera, lotion and the like, with jerky and pistachios, and see how long it takes to get there.
Oh, and since you mentioned energy drinks, did you know that you can get those powdered as well? They're in with the powdered iced tea mixes. I used to live off those things, and imagine they'd be a lot better when you've got a full kit to carry.
Thanks for the advice!
Feb. 11th, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC)
I second this list. My friend that was in Iraq absolutely begged for jerky, granola, and tuna. Just make sure that if you're going to send tuna or chicken that it's the type in the pouches, not the can. I'm not exactly sure why, that's just what they told me.

Another thing that he loved were the powdered Crystal Light packets. His favorite was the Cherry Pomegranate.
Feb. 10th, 2011 04:17 am (UTC)
I'd think about sending spice mixes (homemade or store-bought) which echo your dad's favorite flavors so he can sprinkle that on the mess hall food.
Feb. 10th, 2011 04:35 am (UTC)
Ooh, I'm so gonna suggest this to my stepmother! He's got quite the collection of spices and herbs, even with trying to stash down before he left. ;-)
Feb. 10th, 2011 06:58 am (UTC)
I don't have a lot of suggestions...yet...I'll ask my marine boyfriend and see what he has to say. However, I am very fascinated by this post, since he hasn't been deployed yet, and I'm sure I'll be sending him some care packages very soon! Also, I've only learned about civilian contractors, and FOBs, and all that jazz in a very academic sense, so this whole comment thread is fascinating me. I'm a nerd.
Feb. 10th, 2011 07:08 am (UTC)
Yeah, all of my experience to date is anecdotal. My dad was a reservist for most of my life, and I have very few active duty friends. Only one of them was actually in Iraq; one's Navy and the other is army with an odd MOS. I wouldn't say you're a nerd, more that you've been exposed to a whole new culture and are enjoying learning all that comes with it!
Feb. 10th, 2011 07:12 am (UTC)
I also study international security in college, so I study wars from a very different perspective. I just asked my boyfriend what people who are deployed like. The response was "anything American" and "cookies." Apparently the cookies that come in MREs are disgusting. They also suggested mailing McDonald's because it's so invincible.
Feb. 10th, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
OK, now that I've wiped the coffee off my monitor, I am so tempted to try mailing McD's! My dad would get the joke, but I'm afraid no one else would! I've got a friend who brings MREs camping (in case the sky falls and we can't cook) and those things are awful, especially the cookies! I mentioned above my plan to mail some nonperishables first, to check the times, and if it isn't too long, I'm going to mail a shit tonne of cookies and tell him to share.
Feb. 10th, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC)
In case its not clear (cuz I just crawled out of bed!), I had to clean up the coffee that came out of my nose from laughing so hard!
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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