Steve1989—full screenname Steve1989 MREinfo—is just the latest in a long tradition of people who have turned an iron stomach and a certain breed of esoteric passion into YouTube stardom. In this case, he collects historic military rations (a.k.a. MREs, or “Meals Ready to Eat”), eats them, and reviews them.
Judging from the comments of Steve’s many viewers—that hardtack video alone has been watched more than million times—everyone gets something different from his performances.
Steve knows his stuff about rations and their history, there’s no doubt. This is him describing that British ration from 1944: “This is a multi-purpose ration that could act as a carbohydrate supplement to a more balanced and complete meal, or it can perform as a low-thirst provoking quick energy emergency survival ration”. But look at the way he fingers the wax paper around that 70-year old fruit bar, or gleefully pronounces the words “oatmeal munch”; he is in the throes of something more primal than simple historic exploration: Steve is a man about to feast.