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The Cookie Monster: Baking With the Federal Government

non-government brownies
non-government brownies
Flickr/jespahjoy

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the Pentagon has an absurdly long document for pretty much everything. Including baking oatmeal cookies and brownies, the specifications for which run 26 pages. True, bakers will tell you that baking is a specific craft, requiring careful measuring and helped by calibrated ovens, properly weighed out ingredients, etc. But even the most OCD baker does not usually require 26 pages to outline the requirements for brownies. Unless he works for the government, that is.

Document MIL-C-44072C, or "Military Specification Cookies, Oatmeal; And Brownies; Chocolate Covered," is approved for use by the Department of Defense as a component of operational rations. Thus it outlines specifications for all the ingredients -- nuts, walnuts, shelled; whole eggs, liquid or frozen; pregelatinized starch; etc. -- as well as preparation details. "The brownies shall be cut to the appropriate size when cool (see 3.4f)," for example. And there are sub-categories which address possible issues in baking ("there shall be no foreign material such as, but not limited to, dirt, insect parts, hair, wood, glass, or metal") and in delivery ("Any failure to conform to quality assurance provisions of this specification or any appearance or palatability failure shall be cause for rejection of the first article"). "Palatability failure" is inspired, really. Glad to know that the government has our back. Or at least our brownies.


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