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Brownies, the Pentagon Way
May 18, 2010 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Need some dessert ideas? The Pentagon has recipes for brownies and oatmeal cookies. (26 page pdf)
posted by backseatpilot (71 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
If only their instructions for the proper treatment of prisoners of war were this thorough. Or, if they are this thorough, if only... they were obeyed.

But the pentagon seems to have left out one important requirement: that the brownies be baked in a five-sided baking pan.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:30 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was extremely disappointed that nothing was redacted.
posted by Jimbob at 7:33 PM on May 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


I'm assuming soldiers who follow the recipes exactly are awarded brownie points?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:34 PM on May 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


While people think the CIA brought crack to the poor neighborhoods to keep minorities complacent, I can't wait to see what conspiracies eventually come from the Pentagon releasing treat recipes.
posted by Doug Stewart at 7:39 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Charlie don't bake oatmeal cookies.
posted by longsleeves at 7:40 PM on May 18, 2010


And this is why we will fail as a civilization.

My brownie recipe fits on a 3x5" index card. Something is wrong when you have to specify that your oats shouldn't be musty, sour, or burnt.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:40 PM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


My favorite part is 3.4(a,b):
a. There shall be no foreign material such as, but not limited to, dirt, insect parts, hair, wood, glass, or metal.

b. There shall be no foreign odor or flavor such as, but not limited to, burnt, scorched, stale, sour, rancid, musty, or moldy.
I wish my elementary school cafeteria had been required to comply with this directive.

In all seriousness though, stuff like this is necessary because of the really litigious nature of government acquisitions. If you didn't have a 32 page standard defining precisely what a "chocolate-covered brownie" was, you'd get contractors passing off sawdust bricks dusted with cocoa. It's due to a long history of occasionally-substandard equipment and rations that the government defines its acceptance criteria to such ridiculous detail.

You could probably put together a pretty good blog, in the spirit of Lowering the Bar, just by picking the most ridiculous DoD acquisitions documents.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:55 PM on May 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


This is my brownie,
This is my gun.
This is for eatin',
This is for fun.
posted by jontyjago at 7:55 PM on May 18, 2010 [24 favorites]


All that work, and they misspell chocolate in the title. =(
posted by Tbola at 8:08 PM on May 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Something is wrong when you have to specify that your oats shouldn't be musty, sour, or burnt.
And yet I am so glad they DO specify if it prevents those things from happening. Specify away, I say.
posted by amethysts at 8:09 PM on May 18, 2010


Heckuva brownie job.
posted by ColdChef at 8:10 PM on May 18, 2010 [57 favorites]


Wouldn't it be cool if they baked the brownies in a ginormous, mil-spec version of one of these?

p.s. Can't believe nobody's made a "doughboy" crack yet.
posted by webhund at 8:10 PM on May 18, 2010


Meh...At 26 pages this is missing some saftey and hazardous material documentation.

I do however appreciate knowing that there are US standards for Shellled Almonds.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:11 PM on May 18, 2010


This is my brownie,
This is my gun
Seven point six two millimetre. Full. Walnut. Jacket.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:12 PM on May 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


When I asked for the recipe, I was initially told I couldn't handle the recipe.
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:29 PM on May 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Three digit error condition codes starting on page 14. Coming from people who can make baking this "dry" you just have t wonder why Ada never caught on in a big way...
posted by oblio_one at 8:38 PM on May 18, 2010


How are these recipes making the round? Was someone charged hundreds of dollars for it and is now distributing it to friends out of spite?
posted by piratebowling at 8:41 PM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


If they didn't specify about the oats, someone would probably sue them...
posted by sstapley at 8:45 PM on May 18, 2010


I heard they paid $600 for a half-cup of walnuts.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:02 PM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait, you guys are falling for this? This is clearly encoded government secrets.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:06 PM on May 18, 2010


None of you are really understanding the point of this exercise.

It's not actually the case that such long and explicit contracts are needed to make sure that the food provided is edible. It's certainly the case that suppliers have repeatedly foisted off inedible food (and unusable weapons and etc.) on the US military - but consider that businesses set up contracts with commercial caterers and food providers all the time without anywhere near this level of detail and do not get fed sawdust masquerading as food.

Consider also the tremendous leverage that the US military has as a buyer. Simply the threat of refusing to buy any more would bring almost any company that does business with them into the line if they had inferior products.

The point is that the whole supply thing is a massive scam where a small number of suppliers make huge profits by selling grade D products at grade A prices. These ridiculous and impossible-to-comply with contracts are entirely set up as a huge barrier to entry for honest businessmen; the procurers on the military side put in their 20 years, and then retire to work on the other side.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:07 PM on May 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


I heard they paid $600 for a half-cup of walnuts.

Not before they did a $12,570,000 study to determine what kind, if any, of walnut to use.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:09 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someday, health care will be available to everyone, and the Pentagon will have to hold a bake sale to build a ... wait a minute.
posted by dhartung at 9:11 PM on May 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


It's worth pointing out that the linked PDF is hosted here. The blog entry is from 2005, although that obviously doesn't make this an uninteresting link. Apparently at that time it was hosted on an actual military site. Oddly enough, there exists a PDF copy with a later date on it, marked "Notice 1," which is however typewritten after the cover sheet.

The blogger the main FPP link is hosted by apparently believes, as does everyone else, that this is a serious piece of military protocol. I'm sure it's nice to believe that, but it's very, very hard for me to swallow the idea that whomever thought this up wasn't making a pretty nice little joke. Granted, it was a joke at the expense of military bureaucracy, but why is it so hard to believe that military people have a sense of humor? Good on them.
posted by koeselitz at 9:13 PM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not recipes. Specifications. I was hoping to get a recipe for some milspec brownies, just for grins, but these documents are basically QC acceptance criteria. Phooey.
posted by Quietgal at 9:17 PM on May 18, 2010


Oh I think I get it. It's like the Van Halen Concert Rider. If there isn't enough oatmeal in the cookies, then the Army knows the contractor has probably also forgotten to bolt the wheels on the APC properly...
posted by Jimbob at 9:17 PM on May 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Link fail. Oddly, I can't link text to this address at all. Maybe it's just me.

www.idi.ntnu.no/~aleks/milc44072c.pdf

posted by koeselitz at 9:21 PM on May 18, 2010


Quietgal: The actual ingredients and recipe steps are in there. Go to pages 7-8 of the PDF.
posted by webhund at 9:34 PM on May 18, 2010


Whether this is a hoax or not, this reads similar to the way most counties currently do business: via a system of Requests for Proposal (RFP), proposals, bids, and contracts. Look up the Purchasing section of your county website, and I'm sure you'll find similarly complicated RFPs for equally mundane things. Here are a few examples off of my county's website, San Bernardino (and Riverside County), California (all open pdfs):
Supply of Live Trout
The winner of the Frozen Entrees Contract
Zip-lock bags and paper plates

So, it's amusing, but for a federal contract like providing a food product to the Pentagon, this is about what could be expected, I'd imagine.
posted by cheeken at 9:36 PM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pentagon Hemp
posted by hortense at 9:42 PM on May 18, 2010




it's very, very hard for me to swallow the idea that whomever thought this up wasn't making a pretty nice little joke.

Say, what?! What possible indication do you have that this is a joke? I tried fact checking a few random references to obscure agencies, they seemed to exist - and do you really think comedy writers can write pages and pages of material looking like:
5.1.1.1 Preformed bags. The preformed bags shall be fabricated from 0.002-inch thick ionomer or polyethylene film laminated or extrusion coated to 0.00035-inch thick aluminum foil which is laminated to 0.0005-inch thick polyester. The three pliers shall be laminated so that the aluminum foil is between the other two layers. The bag shall be formed with the polyester on the exterior of the bag. The exterior bag color for MRE and LRP applications shall conform to number 20219, 30219, 30227, 30279, 30313, 30324, or 30450 of FED-STD-595. For MCW applications, the complete exterior of the bag shall be covered overall with a white color in the range of 37778 through 37886 of FED-STD-595. The material shall show no evidence of delamination or degradation when heat
sealed or fabricated into bags and shall not transfer any foreign odor or flavor to the product being
packed.
For example, I just looked at FED-STD-595 and these exterior bag colors are variations of "light brown" - very military - you really think a comedy writer did this?!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:37 PM on May 18, 2010


For example, I just looked at FED-STD-595 and these exterior bag colors are variations of "light brown" - very military - you really think a comedy writer did this?!

Nah, I think a military wife who works in an administrative position on base did this.
posted by desuetude at 10:42 PM on May 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


5.1.1.1 Preformed bags...

I'd be surprised if, say, Dolly Madison didn't have similar written specs for their food packaging.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:37 PM on May 18, 2010


The point is that the whole supply thing is a massive scam where a small number of suppliers make huge profits by selling grade D products at grade A prices. These ridiculous and impossible-to-comply with contracts are entirely set up as a huge barrier to entry for honest businessmen; the procurers on the military side put in their 20 years, and then retire to work on the other side.

It goes even further than this, actually. Lockheed, for example, has a thriving business writing requests for proposal for big DoD high-tech projects. What busy commander has time to write RFPs? Lockheed will do it for you, and buy you a nice lunch, too! And guess what? Damned if the RFPs Lockheed writes under contract for the DoD don't lay out requirements that preclude the selection of anything other than Lockheed products and services...

It's easier than stealing, and it's legal!
posted by killdevil at 11:55 PM on May 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


A Pentagon meal is all shock-and-awe to begin with, but then when you get to the desert it just seems to drag on forever.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:58 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


We all know the most important ingredient in brownies is love.

3.2.5.2 Love, nonsexual. Preparation of product shall include love as appropriate between two people who are not involved in a romantic relationship (e.g. mother/child love, father/child love, grandparent/grandchild love). Under no circumstances shall romantic love be substituted for non-romantic love. All love shall comply with the Department of Defense guidelines on sexual harassment, fraternization, and "Don't ask, don't tell."
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:03 AM on May 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy: “... you really think a comedy writer did this?!”

No. I didn't say I thought it was a comedy writer. I said I thought it was somebody in the military who thought it'd be hilarious. And yes, I know how government regulations are, but nobody can write a clinical description of oatmeal cookies and brownies without seeing the irony – sorry. I know it's hip to think that everyone in the military is a complete and total idiot, but... well, it ain't so. Sorry.

Besides, this kind of thing is pretty common in the military, from what I understand. Jokes, I mean. And the silliness of government bureaucracy is perhaps the most common subject of military jokes.
posted by koeselitz at 12:05 AM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


26 pages of regulated deliciousness.

OM NOM NOM (REDACTED)
posted by armage at 12:18 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Consider this the next time you question why our stealth bombers cost $2.1 BILLION per.

Or, you know, the annual budget of Arkansas, Delaware, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Vermont and W. Virginia. Combined.

For a plane that can't fucking take off in the rain.

This is your $900B discretionary military spending budget compared to $500 billion in non-military spending as education fails, health care languishes, and people go hungry.

This is your tax dollars at work.

Fuck these brownies.
posted by disillusioned at 1:20 AM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


disillusioned: “This is your tax dollars at work. Fuck these brownies.”

Get over yourself, Rush. It's a joke.
posted by koeselitz at 1:30 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mmmmm, brownies. I'm off to make some tea, complying with ISO 3103:1980 [pdf].
posted by Electric Dragon at 2:01 AM on May 19, 2010


Pouch has foreign odor.
posted by pracowity at 2:08 AM on May 19, 2010


Get over yourself, Rush. It's a joke.

My simple point was that the tangled web of insane military spending and government bureaucracy really shows itself in documents like this. I get the concept and I even get the technical merit of having specs for consistency's sake. But I'm not laughing at just how insane our military spending priorities are compared to everything else we do and a whiff of bureaucratic brownies just doesn't help the matter.
posted by disillusioned at 2:23 AM on May 19, 2010


This was not as interesting as my copy of TM 5-818-6/AFM 88-32 "Grouting Methods and Equipment" from ~1970.

I love Army field manuals - they are the manuals which I turn to first when I need to do DIY. They are made for idiots so they work a treat for me.
posted by longbaugh at 2:47 AM on May 19, 2010


It's a Mil-Spec for MRE brownies. What's the big deal? Your 3x5 card brownies recipe can't last for three years with no refrigeration. I flagged it because it's a single link to a government document that I have actually used. It's a dumb post, a single link to a .pdf that's not even close to the lengthiest or most complicated food spec we have.

Consider also the tremendous leverage that the US military has as a buyer. Simply the threat of refusing to buy any more would bring almost any company that does business with them into the line if they had inferior products.

If only this were true. When I tried to fire a supplier they went to their Congressman. He had his staffer write a letter, shit rolled downhill, I live in the valley.

Also: I'm the Pentagon. I work in Philadelphia, and I spend taxpayer dollars in Philadelphia. This Pentagon bureaucracy that does all this buying? It's just lazy reporting, and lazier meFi commenting like:

The point is that the whole supply thing is a massive scam where a small number of suppliers make huge profits by selling grade D products at grade A prices. These ridiculous and impossible-to-comply with contracts are entirely set up as a huge barrier to entry for honest businessmen; the procurers on the military side put in their 20 years, and then retire to work on the other side.


Total and complete bullshit. I don't have the stats at my fingertips but small businesses account for like 85% of our supplier base. We do everything we can to lower the barrier to entry, in fact it's mandated that we do outreach like vendor days, train them on how to bid, etc. I don't know who those 20 year procurers are, but I just had my 20 year anniversary and no one is offering me a job in the private sector.

So, in short, stop conflating weapons systems with food, clothing and medial supplies, like the stuff bought where I work. Make a distinction between uniformed members of the military who can and do retire after 20 years and go to work for defense contractors and civilian schlubs like me who spend their whole career as stewards of the taxpayer's money. Do your homework and make a post about the decades long push to abandon Mil-Specs, to buy commercial, buy green, etc.
posted by fixedgear at 2:51 AM on May 19, 2010 [33 favorites]


"Brownies"...Folks, let's look at this word. I've written it down on the board here. Now what, I wonder, is the first word in "Brownies"? Brown. Isn't that interesting? And what color, I wonder, is Barack Obama? Brown. And "chocolate covered"..."Covered," isn't that an interesting word? Covered in what? Chocolate. Which is brown. Like Barack Obama. So what does he want to be "covered" in "chocolate"? Our soldiers. Our soldiers who are defending freedom. He wants them to be "covered." Now I looked up "covered" in the dictionary and you know how it defined "covered"? "Topped off." "Weighted down." "Smothered." So our president wants to "top off" or "weight down" our military, with what? "Brown." "Chocolate." "Barack Obama."

I'm sorry. I wasn't going to cry today...

And "oatmeal." "Oats." That's something horses eat, isn't it. And Barack Obama wants that to be a "meal." For who? For the military. For our soldiers...sorry, didn't mean to cry again...They're horses to him. Just dumb beasts of burden...

People, wake up! All this talk of "covering" and "horses" sounds so innocent now, but if you read your history books, this is how Hitler, this is how Mussolini, this is how Mao started. With so-called "desserts." Yummy desserts. Irresistible desserts.

So are these really irresistible? For the sake of our constitution, for the sake of our founding fathers, for the sake of our freedom, I certainly hope not.

I certainly...(sorry)...hope not.
posted by PlusDistance at 4:00 AM on May 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Consider this the next time you question why our stealth bombers cost $2.1 BILLION per.

Or, you know, the annual budget of Arkansas, Delaware, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Vermont and W. Virginia. Combined.


Just for reference:

Arkansas: FY 2010 - $4.6 billion
Delaware: FY 2010 - $3.1 billion
Nebraska: FY 2010 - $8.4 billion
New Hampshire: FY 2010 - $3 billion
Vermont: FY 2011 - $4.7 billion
West Virginia: FY 2010 - $11.6 billion
posted by Pollomacho at 4:31 AM on May 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


As an employee of a DoD contractor whose job it is to translate performance specifications into engineering design requirements, meaning I spend a lot of time with (serious) documents like these:

This is fucking hilarious.
posted by olinerd at 4:33 AM on May 19, 2010


Arkansas: FY 2010 - $4.6 billion
Delaware: FY 2010 - $3.1 billion
Nebraska: FY 2010 - $8.4 billion
New Hampshire: FY 2010 - $3 billion
Vermont: FY 2011 - $4.7 billion
West Virginia: FY 2010 - $11.6 billion


Why does Arkansas have half the budget of West Virginia with 1.5x the people (1,819,777 vs 2,855,390)?
posted by dd42 at 6:36 AM on May 19, 2010


I did a quick search through the mil standards database now that I'm back in the office, and this is a real thing. It's "inactive" as of 1997, so not used anymore, but still interesting.

I really love all these standards, though. Want to make something, anything? There's a standard for that. Looking through the database really quickly (as I have a meeting in about two minutes), the government can tell you how to make:

-Nuclear Reactors
-Radios and Televisions
-Table Tennis Paddles
-"Filled Bakery Item, Shelf Stable, for Operational Rations" (sounds tasty! This one's still active)
-Flooring and Vinyl Siding
-Lump Charcoal

If I ever find the need to go off grid and set up a compound in the woods, I know exactly where to get the information to do that.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:00 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's really not a joke, or at least there is no reason to believe that it is. The Soldier Systems Center in Natick are the people tasked with stuff like inventing new MRE flavors, and they handle the acquisitions of the stuff that goes into them. MREs have for a long time had brownies and oatmeal cookies in them, and they're pretty bad (as anyone who's eaten one can attest). This seems to be a specification for an improved, frosted brownie; certainly not implausible.

I'm pretty sure if you look around, you could find MIL-STDs for all of the other stuff that goes into MREs, from vanilla milkshake mix to Country Captain Chicken (shudder). There's probably also one for toilet paper.

Anyway, I sent this around to a few people who work in DoD acquisitions last night and they were mostly "yeah, so?" about it. At under 30 pages it's a really short spec; it might as well be printed on a 3x5 card when you compare it to what it takes to specify something more complex like a computer or weapons system (where the acceptance criteria might run easily into thousands of pages).

However, several people did suggest something that I haven't thought of, which is that the purpose of the "standard" is basically to spec an already-extant COTS product that they're prohibited from sole-sourcing.

E.g., it could be that what they want is basically this, but the government -- except in very specific circumstances -- isn't allowed to say something like "we want Little Debbie Chocolate Fudge Brownies." Instead, they have to define exactly what constitutes a 'chocolate fudge brownie,' and then put out an RFP and let anyone with the capability of manufacturing said brownies bid, etc. But it's entirely possible, if you went down to a convenience store and got a Little Debbie Fudge Brownie and took it apart and weighed it, that you'd get something that conformed to the spec or at least was pretty close, because the standard was written with the product in mind. (Little Debbie doesn't actually make square oatmeal cookies though, so I'm not sure whether that holds up in this particular case. But I've certainly seen it happen elsewhere.)

And that's the crux of why DoD acquisitions is so much more complex than the same thing in the private sector. If I work at a private company and we want chocolate brownies, there's nothing stopping me from just calling up Little Debbie on the basis of having had some of their stuff in a gas station once and saying "send me two million Fudge Brownies." A private company can choose its suppliers however it wants to, constrained only minimally by Federal and state law (they can't order up brownies from Iran or Cuba, for instance). But other than that, they can choose suppliers based on whatever arbitrary basis they want to. If they happen to like working with Hostess more than Little Debbie, they can go to Hostess for their brownies and, absent a contract with Little Debbie, there's no issue. Little Debbie might be pissed to lose the account, but everyone understands that's just business.

The DoD -- and other Federal agencies -- can't do that;* they have to abide by the FAR (among other things), and someone who loses a contract and believes that the FAR was violated in some way can lodge a protest and drag out the whole process, potentially for years. It's an extremely litigious process; somewhat understandably, because you're in many cases dealing with small companies for whom the loss of a contract can be catastrophic. But that's why you have contracting officers who do nothing but manage acquisitions and make sure every 'i' is dotted and every 't' is crossed, so that the government doesn't inadvertently create an opening down the road for a protest by some jilted contractor.

The FAR is a giant pain in the ass, but it's something that's been developed over time because otherwise -- given the amount of money that the Federal government spends -- the corruption would be unbelievable. (And I happen to think the corruption and backroom dealing is already unbelievable, so without the FAR it would be ... um, unbelievably unbelievable. Or something.) It's not based on hypothetical risks, it's based on a demonstrated tendency towards substandard deliverables in the absence of such strict criteria and oversight. In short: it's a shitty system, but it's better than any of the alternatives yet tried.

So I don't see any reason to believe why a MIL-STD for MRE brownies would be fake; given that brownies do exist and are included in MREs, there must be a standard for them in order for them to have been sourced.

* This is a gross oversimplification, of course; there are certain categories of items where the government is allowed to just run out and purchase them, COTS, but it's generally small stuff. And there are ways around a full-blown RFP competition cycle in certain other cases.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:04 AM on May 19, 2010 [13 favorites]


dd42 -- states have very different distributions of state government spending vs county and city government spending. I'd wager the combined city, county, and state spending per capita in Arkansas and West Virginia is a lot closer.
posted by miyabo at 7:17 AM on May 19, 2010


Pollomacho, those numbers seem off to me. I think some are reporting general fund expenditures and others total state expenditures. From a NASBO report for FY2007, I get:

AR: 16.1B
DE: 7.8B
NE: 8.2B
NH: 4.5B
VT: 5.1B
WV: 18.5B

Anyway, the "more than the budgets of..." is just horribly wrong.

Likewise, the 2.1B/aircraft is at best deceptive. Most obviously, it's deceptive because we haven't bought a B-2 in 10 years. Secondarily, the actual unit cost of a B-2 was *looks it up* 737M, and towards the end of the program Northrop offered to build more at 566M/ac, which gives a more accurate picture of what a B-2 cost. You only get the 2.1B/ac figure by adding in the costs of all the research and development and other arguably related costs, which only add up so high because the program was canceled at 21 aircraft instead of the planned ~150.

You'll find similarly weirdly-expensive-looking programs scattered across the branches in the late 80s and early 90s, as programs that were designed and intended to be put into Europe against the Warsaw Pact got canceled or reduced. The Seawolf-class attack subs had some hideous "unit" cost because we only built 3. Similarly, the high "unit" cost of the (cold-war originating) F-22 is in large part because its order was cut from ~750 to ~150.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:19 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think some are reporting general fund expenditures and others total state expenditures.

You are probably correct. The list was rather hastily thrown together from what I could grab from the web.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:00 AM on May 19, 2010


It's really not a joke, or at least there is no reason to believe that it is. The Soldier Systems Center in Natick are the people tasked with stuff like inventing new MRE flavors, and they handle the specification preparation acquisitions of the stuff that goes into them.

FTFY, the acquisitions are done in Philadelphia, by people like me.

E.g., it could be that what they want is basically this, but the government -- except in very specific circumstances -- isn't allowed to say something like "we want Little Debbie Chocolate Fudge Brownies." Instead, they have to define exactly what constitutes a 'chocolate fudge brownie,' and then put out an RFP and let anyone with the capability of manufacturing said brownies bid, etc.

Yes and no. We want M&Ms, there is no way under FAR regs that I can buy M&Ms. So I buy pan coated chocolate discs. Not exactly the same with the baked goods.

So I don't see any reason to believe why a MIL-STD for MRE brownies would be fake; given that brownies do exist and are included in MREs, there must be a standard for them in order for them to have been sourced.

And since I showed up to tell you that is real, and I have purchased to this spec.
posted by fixedgear at 8:25 AM on May 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


You are probably correct.

...FWIW, I didn't mean that in a "You're wrong neener neener" way, more to sort-of answer dd42.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:41 AM on May 19, 2010


No neener neener taken, I just think you are correct that some numbers may be general fund numbers vs. total expenditures. The sources varied in what was available (thus VTs FY 11 numbers) and some were not very detailed in what they considered a budget.

Suffice to say though that $2.1 billion is less than any one of the individual states' budgets.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:53 AM on May 19, 2010


Why o why can't we mix the Cheap Weed thread with the Complicated Military Brownies thread and throw a party?!
posted by chavenet at 9:02 AM on May 19, 2010


koeselitz: I said I thought it was somebody in the military who thought it'd be hilarious.

It must be a regular laugh riot down at the Defense Logistics Agency where in addition to the instant classic "Cookies, Oatmeal; and Brownies, Chocolate Covered", you can find gems like "Chicken Tetrazzini", "Nut Raisin Mix", and "Sloppy Joe Filling".
posted by mhum at 9:25 AM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Do your homework and make a post about the decades long push to abandon Mil-Specs, to buy commercial, buy green, etc.

That doesn't sound quite as funny. I haven't looked at the spec for humor, however.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:45 AM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't believe how many typos, spelling errors and instances of bad grammar this thing contains.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:50 AM on May 19, 2010


I really want to make some MILSPEC brownies, but I'm all out of "dextrose, anhydrous" whatever the hell that is, and whatever the hell it's for.
posted by ErikaB at 11:18 AM on May 19, 2010


dextrose, anhydrous

Also known as corn syrup.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:29 AM on May 19, 2010


my favorite line:

Flavoring                                                                                Trace
posted by sporky at 11:50 AM on May 19, 2010


I used to work for the phone support team for the FCC/USAC's E-Rate program, and schools are required to draft an RFC that can look as complex as this document (then again, sometimes it's 1. COMPUTERS - We need eight computers). So it's not intended to be comedic. Then again, I'm sure that whatever cubicle serf typed this up had some fun- after weeks and weeks of writing RFCs for armor plating, buttons, and grim stuff like ammunition and weaponry, having the brownie/cookie one land on your desk must at least evoke a little smirk.
posted by maus at 11:53 AM on May 19, 2010


I'm sure that whatever cubicle serf typed this up had some fun- after weeks and weeks of writing RFCs for armor plating, buttons, and grim stuff like ammunition and weaponry, having the brownie/cookie one land on your desk must at least evoke a little smirk.


No. What you say makes no sense. The cookie spec was written by a food technologist. A graduate of a four year college with a degree in food science and manufacturing. The specs for food items are prepared by Natick Labs, linked upthread and previously. Buttons specs are prepared by another activity. Ammunition - DLA doesn't purchase that.
posted by fixedgear at 12:47 PM on May 19, 2010


BWAHAHA!

My MILSPEC brownie (singular) is baking right now. Turns out I only had 9 grams of cocoa powder left in the box, so I had to factor all the numbers by .6 to get the weight in grams.

(23 parts sugar / .6 = 38 grams, etc.)

This ended up being about 1/4 c flour, 1/4 c sugar, and 2T of egg.

Some notes:

* In common baking convention, you cream the butter with the sugar and then alternate adding wet and dry ingredients. In this recipe you whip up the egg(s), add the sugar and flours, mix in the shortening, then add the flour. This method probably makes more sense if you're working in a giant industrial commercial kitchen. Not the easiest way to do it, if you're mixing it with a fork at home.

* It's not easy to measure out 21 grams of egg from a 58-gram egg. That took some doing. It ended up being mostly yolk, because that was simpler to portion out in small amounts.

* I left out the nuts, because they do not belong in brownies, and the US military is sick and wrong for insisting otherwise.

* "Anhydrous dextrose" turns out to be a dried crystalline form of corn syrup. Since it's sweet, and a dried crystalline form, I just added that amount of sugar instead.

* I licked the bowl. It was good. I'm not sure how long to bake a single brownie in a muffin cup, but the smell is starting to waft towards my office. It too is good. I think the military might be on to something with this.
posted by ErikaB at 3:22 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


MILSPEC BROWNIE # MIL-C-44072C REPORTING FOR DUTY SIR. Actually as you can see, it is out of compliance at several points: it is not enrobed with chocolate, nor is it the correct shape, depth, width, or length.

Nevertheless, it is quite tasty. Thanks for the post, backseatpilot!
posted by ErikaB at 3:50 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Thanks guys.
posted by dd42 at 5:22 PM on May 19, 2010


Well done ErikaB, now go enrich that thing with 20,000 I.U. per pound of Vitamin A as per section 3.3.10.
posted by treeshar at 2:00 PM on May 20, 2010


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