With millions of people uploading thousands of hours of video every day, your content needs to be pretty unique if you want to stand out on YouTube. For Steve1989MREInfo, that involves filming himself eating old army rations – extremely old army rations – and subjecting his intestines to century-old torture.
For his latest video, Steve managed to get his hands on a small rations tin that was issued to British soldiers during the Second Boer War, which ended in 1902. Engineered to deliver calories and carbs and not much else, the tin was packed with cocoa powder and a highly-processed form of beef that was pulverized, cooked, dried, and then compressed into what could be considered the original protein bar.
At its peak freshness, it was undoubtedly an unappetizing way for beleaguered soldiers to get some much needed nourishment, so you can only imagine how nightmarish it is to eat 117 years after it was packaged. You can see Steve shaking as he takes a nibble, but I’m almost certain I was shaking even more watching him.
Believe it or not, this is actually the second oldest ration that Steve has taste-tested; the oldest being a piece of cracker-like hardtack that dated back to the Civil War. But munching on the world’s stalest cracker is one thing, sampling a 117-year-old can of organic meat is another. A century of storage turned the beef into what looks like a dry clump of dirt, and Steve confirmed the taste was not that far off from soil.
The tin also included alternate preparation instructions, which had soldiers boiling the beef for an hour to make a broth. Steve tried that approach too, which yielded an earthy paste that looked somewhere between sloppy joe’s and refried beans, but tasted no where near as appetizing as that sounds. There’s a video posted after this one on Steve’s YouTube channel, which I’m sincerely hoping is proof that he and his intestines survived this experiment. It clearly wasn’t a pleasant experience, but I’m impressed that 19th century food science was advanced enough to make beef survive over a hundred years.