Field Ration Eating Device - Gastro Obscura

Field Ration Eating Device

The tool, found in Australian military ration packs, is considered handy by some and awful by others.

The Field Ration Eating Device, a multipurpose gadget distributed to members of the Australian military, is either a great invention or completely absurd, depending on whom you ask. The tool is referred to by some as a “Fucking Ridiculous Eating Device,” or, more simply, by the acronym F.R.E.D.

The Field Ration Eating Device first became a part of Australian Defence Force members’ ration packs in the 1960s, along with staples like Vegemite and a tube of sweetened condensed milk. The little hardened-steel device is similar to the P-38, the can opener invented during World War II for the United States Armed Forces. Both devices feature a can opener that folds out from the side. But F.R.E.D. tries to do one better, adding a bottle opener on one end and a spoon on the other.

The thing is, F.R.E.D.’s spoon is apparently not very handy at all. One reviewer called the bowl “extremely shallow” and deemed it a challenge to eat a stew or a soup, hence the less-than-flattering nickname. The can opener is about as good as it gets, though. All you do is push the blade into the tin’s lip, and keep turning and punching the can until you get it open.

As of 2016, F.R.E.D. was still included in ration packs for the Australian military. But you don’t need to be a soldier to get your hands on one. The internet abounds with collectors selling the devices.

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