Curtis Newcomer, a U.S. Army soldier, having an MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) lunch at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in California's Mojave Desert. (Curtis Newcomer is featured in the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) He eats his morning and evening meals in a mess hall tent, but his lunch consists of a variety of instant meals in the form of MREs. His least favorite is the cheese and veggie omelet. "Everybody hates that one. It's horrible," he says. A mile behind him, toward the base of the mountains, is Medina Wasl, a fabricated Iraqi village (one of 13 built for training exercises), with hidden video cameras and microphones linked to the base control center for performance reviews. MODEL RELEASED.