Sunday, April 6, 2014


This stuff is absolutely disgusting . . . possibly the single worst part about being in the Army . . . S.L.

As long as I was in the Army, we line doggies always accused the cooks of serving powdered eggs, and the cooks always vehemently denied it. "Oh no!" they would swear up and down on their mama's grave, "Those ain't no powdered eggs! Them's REAL eggs!!!"

And yet they tasted ghastly . . . and we swore up and down the yellow-green-gray muck on our plates were powdered eggs . . .

It was about fifteen years into my Special Forces career . . . we were in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), a company sized Sf element - three ODAs and a HQ unit - and a platoon of Belgian paratroopers; military advisers to the Ivorians.

Our HQs included a team of cooks who ran a makeshift mess hall in the same African barracks we occupied. On weekends the senior leadership from the ODAs would volunteer to help cook so the cooks could have some time off, go to the beach and have some R&R.

It was my turn. I like to cook so it was no problem. Saturday morning I reported at zero-dark-thirty ready and rarin' to go.

First thing to do was put five pounds of bacon on the grill, then start working the chipped beef a.k.a. "sh*t on a shingle", mix up a huge vat of grits, then it was time to do the eggs.

I looked over at the measly dozen eggs on the counter. "We don't have enough, Cookie."

"Don't worry," Cookie said, "I've got something for that," and out of a footlocker came a can of powdered eggs.

I looked at the stuff like it was industrial waste but I didn't say a word. You never piss off the cooks, right? Cookie poured the stuff into a big vat and mixed it up with water. Then he said, "Take that dozen eggs there and crack them into this stuff, and then crush up the eggshells and mix them in, too."

Right away I understood the sheer genius of this tactic. Nobody could accuse the cooks of serving powdered eggs - they had plausible deniability - and on top of that, the troops would be crunching down on little bits of eggshells. I did as Cookie said.

As he put away the can of dried egg powder, Cookie looked at me real serious. "What you saw here, stays here, got it?"



  1. The yellow-green-grey mucky looking eggs near the bottom of the Mermite can inserts was often the result of the scrambled eggs sitting in their own moisture too long.

    Every firebase I was on in VietNam had real eggs in the mess bunker. Saw 'em first hand. The canned sliced white potatoes on the other hand could be a real mess if you didn't cook them properly.

    Lazarus Long

  2. They were eggs when they left the kitchen, I swear!

  3. TomR,armed in TexasApril 6, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    Powdered milk was also a nauseating staple.

  4. The one good use for powdered eggs is as a deer repellent for your plants.
    Just shake some out of the can / bag on the plants. I think the deer don't like the sulphur like taste / smell of the eggs.

  5. Army cooks were pulling the egg shell trick in Nam in 1965. I bet it dates back to the invention of powdered eggs.

  6. Sago pudding comes a close second, they always looked like a pile of frog eggs covered in yellow slime.