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Cooking with FOIA: How do your pastries measure up to the military’s standards?

Cooking with FOIA: How do your pastries measure up to the military’s standards?

Back in May, we wrote about the military’s official brownie recipe from 2003, and requested the updated specifications. In response, we were pointed to a document on the Defense Logistics Agency’s website: PCR-C-007F, which covers the standards for all “cakes, brownies, muffin tops and filled cakes” consumed by the armed forces. While the document doesn’t contain any recipes, it does have some pretty clear guidelines for what it takes to be a military-grade chocolate banana muffin top.

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Cooking with FOIA: The military's official brownie recipe

Cooking with FOIA: The military’s official brownie recipe

A 2003 document with the unassuming title of “MIL-C-44072C” first surfaced in early 2010 on the personal website of Finnish programmer Lars Wirzenius, and shortly thereafter saw reporting from Reason, National Public Radio, and the National Security Archive’s Unredacted blog. What was in this document that generated such considerable interest? Nothing less than the military’s official specifications for brownies, spanning an impressive 26 pages.

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Cooking with FOIA: Stovetop Soviet Army borscht

Cooking with FOIA: Stovetop Soviet Army borscht

After discovering the Soviet Army’s 1948 borscht recipe in the Central Intelligence Agency archives last month, we challenged our readers to try and make the sour soup themselves. While David and Shannon Perry made a slightly scaled-back version in an outdoor firepit, food historian - and professional fermenter - Julia Skinner adapted the recipe for home kitchens.

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Cooking with FOIA: New Jersey's Black Bear Recipe Guide

Cooking with FOIA: New Jersey’s Black Bear Recipe Guide

Back in 2010, in an effort to keep the local black bear population down, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reinstated the state’s annual bear hunting season. Despite record numbers the first year, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife noticed a massive drop-off in the seasons that followed. So to bolster the argument that hunting was the most effective means of population control, in 2014 they decided upon a rather novel way of encouraging people to shoot more bears: state-issued cookbooks.

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Cooking with FOIA: The CIA's classified crab dip

Cooking with FOIA: The CIA’s classified crab dip

In the mid ’70s, then-Director of Central Intelligence George H. W. Bush was asked in a letter by the Houston, Texas chapter of the Knights of Columbus if he’d be willing to write a short article on the subject of the upcoming U.S. Bicentennial for their monthly newsletter. A copy of said newsletter was included, which is how the May 1976 edition of “The Challenger” - including its recipe for crabmeat au gratin - ended up classified as a national security secret for over 30 years.

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