'...a view of the men eating dinner on whatever was around to make do as a table at a combat outpost near FOB Shank. The air was crisp, the light was magical, and the mountains were in sharp relief. Outside the wire, in that breathtaking landscape of peaceful looking villages there are Taliban rockets, mortars, improvised explosive devices, tank mines and ambushes threatening these soldiers enjoying their evening meal.'
'That evening I was lucky to be invited to a cookout in back of the operations hut. Frank Marcantonio, a civilian employee, was grilling Italian sausage he had just gotten in the mail from Italy. He made the pizza dough himself which he handed out in chunks to whoever was near to stretch out into pizza pies, and put on their choice of topping from the selection on the table. First the dough was half baked, then the sausage, sauce, etc. was spread out it, and the whole thing was grilled some more, with the grill closed up. Everyone came up with their own shape - like spiders making their webs, no two the same.'
'Lunch, a classic grilled ham and cheese sandwich with American cheese and a slice of good (i.e. un-rubbery) ham. Jello is something else I don't see much of at home, but here it was welcome on my plate. I'll mention the spring roll only to say it was one of the few things here I found inedible. The noodle salad was fresh. The chips not quite up to Lay's level, but very trendy with the noticeably reduced salt.' Also, some non-alcoholic Beck's beer.
'My first lunch after I arrived at FOB Shank. I ate it outside, under a cammo net. The ham steak was quite good. The salad with red beets was fresh. The canned or frozen corn was what you would expect, not bad, but it didn't have that snap of fresh sweet corn.'