This Is What All Recipes Look Like to Me

I’m only about 10 years behind on this story that went viral back in 2010.

Apparently someone got wind of the U.S. military’s recipe for brownies, which was, to put it mildly, a bit overboard.

The specifications/recipe run for 26 pages!

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Whole eggs may be liquid or frozen and shall have been processed and labeled in accordance with the Regulations Governing the Inspection of Eggs and Egg Products (7 CFR Part 59).”
  • brownies should not be cut larger than 3 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches by 5/8 inch, and each brownie should not be less than 46 grams.
  • Brownies made according to the Pentagon recipe will last about three years.
  • the shortening used “shall have stability of not less than 100 hours as determined by the Active Oxygen Method (AOM) in Method Cd 12-57 of the Commercial Fats and Oils chapter in the Official and Tentative Methods of the American Oil Chemists Society,”
  • The moisture content of the uncoated brownie shall be not more than 8.0 percent.
  • Nuts, walnuts, shelled. Shelled walnut pieces shall be of the small piece size classification, shall be of a light color, and shall be U.S. No. 1 of the U.S. Standards for Shelled English Walnuts. A minimum of 90 percent, by weight, of the pieces shall pass through a 4/16-inch diameter round hole screen and not more than 1 percent, by weight, shall pass through a 2/16-inch diameter round hole screen. the shelled walnuts shall be coated with an approved food grade antioxidant and shall be of the latest season’s crop.

Jeremy Whitsitt of the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate told NPR there’s good reason for the precision involved in military cooking.

“One thing we like to say is ‘What would happen if you cooked a meal, stored it in a stifling hot warehouse, dropped it out of an airplane, dragged it through the mud, left it out with bugs and vermin, and ate it three years later?'” he said, noting that food made for the military must hold up under such conditions.

If this is the sort of thing that gets you excited, here’s the link to the complete recipe.

I get confused if a recipe has more than two ingredients and more than two steps.

In other words, I’m not a recipe kind of guy. So there’s no way I’d even consider something like this.

I’m quite content with green smoothies, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, oatmeal, and store bought tomato pie (and oreo cookies…)


Commonplace Fun Facts

The Globe and Mail


*image from Bigger Bolder Baking

58 thoughts on “This Is What All Recipes Look Like to Me

      1. Tomato pie is a South Philly thing. It’s basically a thick crust pizza, like Sicilian, with no cheese…
        And it’s been a long time since I’ve had shoofly pie, but I do recall it being quite tasty!


      2. Oh , well if you are talking about pizza, than tomato pie doesn’t sound too bad! 🙂
        Its been a very long time since I had shoofly pie too, but we used to have it at every holiday! That and vanilla pie which is also quite tasty.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. it does a little over the top, but I guess when they make them in bulk, the cost per brownie is pretty cheap. And yes, anytime I can get a blogpost out of something, it’s a good topic 🙂


  1. This does actually make sense to me, Jim. Baking is a science and the more you adhere to the rules the better the result. It also makes sense the military foodstuffs need to remain edible in adverse conditions and circumstances. I can’t think of a single recipe with two ingredients. Even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have four ingredients.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess I can see the need to have standards, but 26 pages seems a bit much 🙂
      And as for a recipe with two ingredients, I remember my son used to drink banana smoothies – just bananas and water (30 bananas a day…)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. this is so crazy, but i like the explanation for why it has to be like this. i do love to cook, but i do a lot of improv (why i’m a better cook than a baker, which is much more precise). p.s i’ve never had tomato pie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand the need for the food to survive any condition. I’ve just have never been into cooking or baking.
      And tomato pie is, for lack of better explanation, pizza without the cheese…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve never even heard of it-is that a regional food? I love pizza, but if I had to choose between toms and cheese,I’m team cheese all the way )

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just looked it up on Wikipedia; it seems limited to Philadelphia, Utica, and Rhode Island… Here is the brief description: Italian tomato pie is an Italian-American baked good consisting of a thick, porous, focaccia-like dough covered with tomato sauce.[1] It may be sprinkled with romano cheese or oregano. It is not usually served straight from the oven, but allowed to cool and then consumed at room temperature or reheated. Like Sicilian pizza, tomato pie is baked in a large rectangular pan and served in square slices.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Having partaken of just about everything the military is willing to call food, I too understand the need for this type of longwinded recipe to meet standards in the military kitchen. We leave nothing to chance and have an instruction manual for everything, including how to dress (shoelaces are always left over right). My first foray into food in the field was in 1983 and we were eating C-rations dated from before I was born. I can only hope these brownies would taste better. We need a post with a recipe for tomato pie, as I have never had it either!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s funny how down in the details the military get, even with how to tie your shoes. I can’t imagine what that food must have tasted like, but I guess at some point, you’ll eat anything. I guess they wouldn’t cater to vegans 🙂
      And tomato pie is basically pizza without the cheese…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had kp duty once, while in basic training. All I did was help wash dishes, but even that confused me. Since then, I picked up a book on cooking, learned some recipes, and then fought battles with my wife over kitchen territory. She won, and now I’ve forgotten everything I learned.

    Liked by 1 person

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