What Makes This Army-Engineered Pizza Unique

Pizza is indisputably one of the best foods in existence. In fact, it's so incredible it's surprising it doesn't emit magical powers, gifting anyone who eats it with the ability to conquer worlds (quite the opposite to the true effect of eating pizza, which is to make you want to sleep for a thousand years).

Rather boringly, there is quite a bit of science behind our love for pizza. The Washington Post reports that cheese, tomatoes, sausage, and pepperoni are all packed with a chemical compound called glutamate, which causes taste buds to incessantly demand more of the fatty and saucy ingredients. That's probably why, as the Post also notes, 350 slices of pizza are eaten in the U.S. every second.

Consider, then, the desperate inconvenience suffered by soldiers who are expected to carry out long tours of duty, often in inexplicably harsh areas, without any easy access to pizza. Fortunately, pizza professors within the U.S. Army have worked tirelessly to create miraculous military-ready pizzas (via Smithsonian Magazine).

Military pizzas are designed to withstand years of hardship in battle conditions

Considering that soldiers are expected to deploy for lengthy periods of time (sometimes at short notice) to unknown areas of the globe, getting a decent bite to eat is inevitably going to be a tricky task. That's why, as BBC News explains, the U.S. Army's research center in Natick, Massachusetts is charged with developing Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), which is the technical term for rations that can survive for long periods in hostile environments.

The New York Times explains that years of complaints from soldiers about unappetizing food led military scientists to create the MRE pizza. Coated with dabbles of pepperoni and heat-resistant mozzarella, the Army's pizzas are designed to stay edible for three years in climates ranging from extreme heat (100 degrees Fahrenheit) to bitter cold and pouring rain to insect infestations.

Smithsonian Magazine reports that MREs have been a major complaint of soldiers since they were introduced in the 1980s, so the inclusion of pizza is a welcome development. According to Stars and Stripes, the pizza has received generally favorable reviews from service personnel. While not quite up to the standards of a handcrafted masterpiece baked in a stone oven, the military's pizza can be seen as a welcome and comforting slice of home.