It’s nice to know that during the holiday season, many of our soldiers serving in war-torn Afghanistan are enjoying a little taste of home, thanks to the efforts of military chefs. Our fighting soldiers can depend on a wholesome and tasty meal regardless of when their shifts end, thanks to the use of containerized kitchens, which are mini mobile cooking facilities that are able to go wherever the soldiers are working.
With the main base several miles or more down the road, some soldiers would get off duty and miss their meals because the large, cafeteria style dining facilities had stopped serving. However, the containerized kitchens are much more flexible and can accommodate erratic schedules.
When fighting a war, food is something that brings comfort and joy, especially when they are missing their loved ones at home and especially during the holidays. So it’s not unusual to see plates loaded with crispy fried chicken, catfish, mac and cheese, collard greens and hoppin’ John beans ” all dietary staples in the American south. There are also respectable attempts at serving Caribbean food and other ethnic and regional cuisine. The dishes may not have the perfect blend of seasonings to meet a discriminating food critic’s palate, but it tastes darn good to the soldiers.
The food is especially creative in one containerized kitchen in Kandahar, where Army chef Travis Burton is doing the honors. Burton provides four-star cuisine, thanks to his culinary school training and a former career at the prestigious Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, where had had a lot more freedom and ingredients to develop innovative meals.
But it really doesn’t matter to the soldiers that most of their food is pre-packaged, pre-cooked and pre-seasoned .. what ends up on their plate has been masterfully and creatively prepared to give them a little taste of home. This is just what the doctor ordered, especially during the holiday season!
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