Eating on the COP

The other day Kate had a great idea: she suggested that I let people see what our meals are like in Afghanistan.

Meals, like everything else here, vary significantly from one place to the next. No two DFACs (Dining Facilities) are alike and food quantity, quality and variety run the gamut from barely tolerable to amazing. I’ve experienced both ends of that spectrum in my time here.

The DFACs on the US run FOBs are generally run by contracted civilians. The DFACs on the non-US FOBs and the COPs are run by the units living there. So at FOBs Viper & Bullard, the DFACs are run by the Romanians. Here at COP Mizan, the DFAC is run by the US unit and they do a pretty good job too.

Believe it or not, my least favorite – the bottom of my DFAC scale – was one of those on KAF. You can read all about KAF DFACs here. The top of my DFAC scale was at FOB Wolverine – commonly referred to as FOB Fabulous or FOB Paradise. All DFAC managers in Afghanistan should be required to spend a week with the guy that runs Wolverine’s DFAC. What he does is nothing short of amazing.

To give you a decent idea of what our meals are like, I will do a pictorial of a typical day of meals at the DFAC from each of the areas I visit. To learn about KAF food, please visit KAFoodie, he has suffered through 3 years of KAF and can provide the best insight to the meal woes of there.  Since the idea for this post came to me while I was here at COP Mizan, my first food post will be on the meals at Mizan.

Meals on COP Mizan are surprisingly good. Currently they serve three hot meals a day. The last time I was here they were only serving two hot meals a day. The food is served, self-serve style, from large Insulated Food Containers, which are significantly superior to the Mermite cans of the old days. The cooks here serve a nice variety of meals that are generally very good. I have pictures of breakfast and supper (dinner for you non-mid-westerners). I missed dinner (lunch) yesterday because it was a busy day & I forgot. But it would look the same, except that they served Shepherd’s Pie instead of a slab of turkey. So, if you can just imagine Shepherd’s Pie in the big green cooler & you will have it.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.




18 responses »

  1. Barry Lund says:

    I can’t say I miss it.

  2. Cheryl L says:

    Wow! Some of that food looks way better than what I had in my college days at the dining hall (Woo, Pig….Soooieee).

    I have a question for ya. I’ve been sending care packages to my Soldiers’ Angels adoptees and have been so good about not including any PORK….now I see that you all are not suffering from any pork withdrawal issues! What gives?

    I think I know why my first soldier never got too excited about the Bacon Salt I sent over…;)

    Cheryl L

    • danbohmer says:

      I’m not sure where the bad rumor started that we couldn’t/shouldn’t/didn’t have pork here, but before coming, I had heard that too. I was pleased to discover that it was a bad rumor, not grounded in truth. Bacon makes everything better…

      • Cheryl L says:

        All I know is that when sending stuff in care packages we are prohibited from sending a variety of things – alcohol and pork are pretty much top of the list. I always figured it had to to with cultural sensitivities…perhaps that was more the case in Iraq than Afghanistan.

      • danbohmer says:

        alcohol yes; pork, just a bad rumor…

  3. kafoodie says:

    That looks really good…but, I know, looks can be deceiving. I spent a few days up at Bamyan with the Kiwis and their food was a lot better than KAF’s and it appears that yours is too. I think the cooks at the smaller bases are more passionate about making good food because they know and live with the people they’re feeding. At KAF it’s all about industrial level production.

    • danbohmer says:

      It is pretty good. I think one of the problems with the big DFACs like on KAF is they have so much variety they don’t do anything well…not even the variety.

  4. Jules Knapp says:

    I’m with Cheryl….after browsing all the websites regarding the do’s and don’t “pork” is on every site as a don’t. As well as glass, cans and plastic fruit cup like containers. That’s why I asked about the pepperoni.

    Is the food kept at a certain temperature or does it just sit in those tubs after cooking?

    We just received a thank you from a member of the SBCT at FOB Lagman. She mailed it out on the 17th of March..which means it took about a month. Your pizza crusts best by date is the 21st…..I hope you get it before it turns green.

    • danbohmer says:

      I honestly cannot imagine why someone thought they should put pork on the do not mail lists – they serve it in all the DFACs! I imagine someone, somewhere thought it would be a ‘cultural’ issue, but it is not at all. A lot of Afghans eat in our DFACs, they just avoid the dishes with pork. There is a good chance your package will be waiting for me when I return to Apache. It seems most packages take ~7-10 days, but it is wildly variable.

      I will let you know.


      • Jules Knapp says:

        Safe travels back.

        The anticipation is growing………..

        If you get the chance…take a picture of your creation before you eat it. Would like to see how creative you are with the ingredients provided.

  5. Aaron Staines says:

    Crumble some of that sausage or chop up the bacon, mix it with the gravy, douse a few biscuits and hit it with some of that Tabasco and I’ll bet you’re eating no worse than I do in midrange highwayside hotels with complimentary breakfast.

  6. Tilly Bud says:

    I’ve never seen yellow gravy before!

  7. Jules Knapp says:

    Okay……..biscuits and cheddar gravy…..never heard of cheddar gravy. Must be a midwest/ east coast thing.

    Oh and I figured out the highlighted blue means click on it and it will explain…ie Insulated Food Container.

    Like your new format.

I appreciate your comments

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