Food Friday: Seven minutes to heaven – breakfast in the field

*Every Friday is all about food on Red Cross Talks – everything from Red Cross inspired recipes to emergency food tips and solutions.

*Guest blog by Chris Hilton, senior manager government relations, who participated in Canadian Red Cross field hospital training this week near Toronto.

It may be surprising to some but freeze dried chicken and rice at 6:39 in the morning can be quite delicious.

After a day of little food and a night of limited sleep while on a simulated training for the Red Cross field hospital (also known as our ERU, Emergency Response Unit). The prospect of a hearty breakfast is an exciting thought to start the day.  This thought is quickly quashed when you realize the choices – Chicken and rice or beef ravioli.

Never being much of a “pasta in the morning” kind of person I opted for the chicken and rice. I ripped into the freeze dried pack of dehydrated rice with chicken and carrots and after waiting for 2 kettles of water to boil – I was a little late to the breakfast line – I brought my food to life with boiling hot water.

The only problem was now I had to wait. Seven minutes to cook my food, seven minutes before the hunger would be quelled, seven minutes before bits of juicy chicken and the transformed carrots would be ready for ingestion.

The first bite was salty the second bite…salty. Overall not the worst meal I have ever eaten – but far from the best. The experience was made better being shared with my fellow Red Crossers. The early morning and unique breakfast choice did not dampen the enthusiasm of the 34 people taking part in the training.

Breakfast in the field while not delicious was satisfying. Like so many of the lessons learned in training to deploy with the field hospital it is a small sacrifice needed to ensure success and to be a part of a greater good.

(The chicken and rice was a clear winner over the beef ravioli as a breakfast choice.)

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