They told us the C-rations they were delivering to us leathernecks in Vietnam were prepared and canned for troops fighting long before us in Korea. I tended to believe they were prepared and canned for troops fighting in the Crusades. I was fully convinced the ham and lima beans were provided by the deity and prepared by the devil; we called them “Ham and Little” … but never mind. Albeit, awful as they were, they did keep us alive.

I suspect we have C-rats stored somewhere that are still serviceable, and we need to find them and start making more. As Napoleon Bonaparte assured us, “An army marches on its stomach,” and we are that army. Should our customarily reliable food supply chain break down, we better have a plan B, and plan B might just have to be ham and lima beans.

Large-scale military production and distribution of C-rats could be a clarion call to calm frayed nerves and feed empty stomachs.

Now, let’s talk about seaweed. We can harvest edible seaweed and make it available to the public in a matter of days. And we can then use up all those seasonings that have been sitting in the cupboard for years to liven up that seaweed.

If we don’t get moving on a plan B, well, we might be looking at plan C, that of examining foraging guides in trying to figure out which wild plants are edible and which will poison you before they reach your stomach.

You know that dandelion growing in your back yard? Well, you can eat it, roots, leaves, flower and all! They are best when boiled for a prolonged time. Then you can drink the water when it cools and it’s tea.

Personally, I can live on pine nuts alone. You just need to hire an army of squirrels to ferret them out for you. But enough of plan C.

Let’s hope our amazing food chain holds together, but if it should break, let us break out the C-rats and not complain. In closing, I congratulate my comrades in self-isolation, who exhibit endurance and patience that resembles contentment.

Onward and upward …

McAvoy Layne is a 30-year impressionist of Mark Twain who can be reached at


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