I consider myself to be a good collector. I have one focus, and I’ve pursued it for decades with the intent of bringing together as many pieces as I can. For me, that collecting drive has been for military food, and related technology. It didn’t start out as a collecting habit though. At first, I just wanted to eat rare and strange foods. I wanted to eat older rations, foreign rations, all the various versions of US rations, you get the picture. Foreign rations are not only a fascinating glimpse into another military, they’re a glimpse into a completely different culture – a different palate.
Over time I felt myself drawn to searching out the rarer and less-likely-edible military meals simply for the purpose of sharing what I find out, and of displaying the trophy, the reminder of the successful hunt. The collection grew, and while I’m not certain when I crossed the line, but nonetheless the line was crossed from personal collection to the makings of a museum. Dozens of items had become hundreds, and its now grown to over a thousand pieces.
In 2015 I formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, with the eventual goal being an organization that provides a walk-through museum open to the public, as well as a useful online presence as a helpful resource in the ration world. I’m fascinated by the ways that military food technology and food storage improvements have driven major changes in the way the rest of us eat, and the lives we can live.
In late 2020, I moved the heaps of boxes to an underground shared office complex in Old City Philadelphia, where I was able to take the time to catalog and re-situate everything. In the time since, I’ve photographed and re-boxed the individual artifacts, building out a written master catalog along the way. Getting that collection online is an important step along the journey towards the museum project goals. Being able to show in detail what I’m working to preserve will help illustrate the need for the help I’ll be asking for in making this dream a long term reality.
Come join me on Sundays from 3 to 7pm Eastern as I make a little progress at a time – experimenting with technology along the way. 3D Scanning, Taste Testing, Photographing, Programming – there’s so much to do and I hope to share what I can of the journey!
A more fitting home for the Military Ration Museum Collection