Life is hard for soldiers in the battlefield, so when the troops want something that might make things a little more bearable—say, a particular food item in their meal rations—the military listens. And right now, soldiers want pizza. They want it bad. And it looks like they're finally going to get it.

Here's the thing about those lightweight individual food rations, known as meals ready to eat (MREs): they need to have a serious shelf life. We're not talking a few months, either. Military food has to last for years without any refrigeration or freezing. As you might recall from the last time you left a Papa John's slice out on the coffee table, pizza's not known for its longevity.


But food scientists at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center are perfecting a recipe for pizza that can sit on the counter for three years and still be edible.

"It pretty much tastes just like a typical pan pizza that you would make at home and take out of the oven or the toaster oven," Jill Bates, who runs the lab, told the Associated Press. "The only thing missing from that experience would be it's not hot when you eat it. It's room temperature." It lasts longer because the Army's food scientists have tweaked the acidity of the sauce and cheese so that it's harder for bacteria to survive. They've also added iron filings to the wrapper to soak up any remaining air in the package.

Right now, the Army's super-pizza is still in development, so soldiers haven't tried it yet. If it makes it through what's surely an arduous approval process, it will likely take its place alongside spaghetti and tortellini as the most popular food items in MREs. I can only imagine garlic bread is next. [AP via io9]

All images via AP