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While strictly speaking a description of any food issued by HM on a quantity-per-head basis, the term 'rations' is universally used to a cardboard pack, half the size of a shoebox and containing sufficeint food-substitute to power Private Shagnasty for a 24 hour period.

Forget religion, politics, weapon size etc., rations are without doubt greatest source of conversation and debate in the British Army. Additionally rations form the basis of high-intensity trading system - many an a bored commodities trader has switched to the cut-throat world of ration dealing.

Tastes, seasons and best before dates need to be carefully considered by the dedicated trader, while the menu card lottery never fails to add that element of luck. Even the currency of trading varies - once 'boilies', now many more shady deals are made in high value and high risk oat meal blocks. The currency may of course crumble at any time.

Will the chocolate have white bits all over it?, will the cheese posessed be the old sweating version, or the new batton-round type? Will the pudding be Fruit Dumplings in Butterscotch Sauce (negative value - the turd-in-the-bath of the rat-world) or conversely will your freezing-cold-first-light dreams come true and a bag of rolled oats managed to come back from the past as a beacon of hope in the bleak world of menu B?

In the interests of introducing the new-comer to the complexities of the rat-pack, the ARRSEpedia offers these famous food-like items and invites reviews and comments: