Beyond MREs: 18 Surprising Foods Marines Crave After Retirement

When Marines retire, the switch from the routine of military meals to civilian dining opens up a culinary landscape filled with longing for flavors once missed or briefly encountered. What surprising dishes do they find themselves craving after years of structured eating?

#1. Sushi

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During postings in the Pacific, many Marines get their first taste of sushi, a refined dish that contrasts sharply with the simplicity of MREs. Its freshness and variety offer a welcome escape from the predictability of military food.

#2. Artisanal Breads

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Artisanal breads, with their rich textures and deep flavors, remind retired Marines of the comforts of home, something the bland, mass-produced bread in the military can’t compete with.

#3. Craft Beer

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After limited beer options in military bases around the world, the diverse flavors of craft beer represent a freedom of choice and regional taste that many Marines relish upon returning home.

#4. Gourmet Burgers

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The variety and quality of gourmet burgers, with toppings far beyond the standard mess hall fare, offer personalization and indulgence that were rarely available during service.

#5. Authentic Tacos

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Marines stationed near or across the southern U.S. border often encounter authentic Mexican cuisine; tacos become a flavorful reminder of their service time in these regions.

#6. Thai Cuisine

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The complex flavors of Thai cuisine, with its balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy, are often a stark contrast to the more straightforward tastes of field rations, making it a popular craving.

#7. Indian Curries

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The depth and intensity of Indian curries appeal to Marines who appreciate meals with strong, bold flavors, especially after years of more muted military dishes.

#8. Fresh Seafood

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Marines stationed far from coastlines often miss out on fresh seafood, making it a sought-after choice once they retire and regain access to fresher, varied options.

#9. Wood-Fired Pizza

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The distinct smoky flavor of a wood-fired pizza offers a rustic authenticity that frozen or quick-service options on base just can’t match.

#10. Barbecue Ribs

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Slow-cooked and smoky, barbecue ribs are a taste of American tradition that many Marines crave after years of quicker, simpler cooking methods in the service.

#11. Organic Vegetables

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The quality and taste of fresh, organic vegetables can be a revelation after years of canned or preserved sides, highlighting the importance of fresh produce.

#12. French Pastries

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The delicacy and craftsmanship of French pastries symbolize a culinary artistry that’s worlds away from the efficiency-driven meals in military life.

#13. Korean BBQ

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For Marines who served in Asia, Korean BBQ can be nostalgic, reminding them of the communal and interactive dining experiences abroad.

#14. Artisanal Cheese

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The complexity and regional specificity of artisanal cheeses provide a sensory exploration that pre-packaged military cheeses simply cannot offer.

#15. Vietnamese Pho

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The comforting broth and fresh ingredients of Vietnamese pho make it a soothing, hearty meal that contrasts with the often dry and preservative-heavy MREs.

#16. Middle Eastern Mezze

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Mezze platters offer a variety of flavors and textures, a culinary diversity that’s appreciated after the limited options in military dining.

#17. Gelato

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The richness and density of gelato provide a luxurious treat that many Marines look forward to as a sweet reward after the austerity of service.

#18. Aged Steak

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A well-aged steak, cooked perfectly, is a celebration of quality and care that contrasts sharply with the quick and functional meals served in the military.

Changing Tastes

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Transitioning from military service into retirement brings with it a newfound appreciation for culinary diversity and quality. These 18 foods not only satisfy cravings but also mark a return to choice, flavor, and cultural richness that many Marines miss during their service.

The post Beyond MREs: 18 Surprising Foods Marines Crave After Retirement first appeared on Mama Say What?!

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dragos Asaftei.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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