Which food to send abroad and how to send it

April 09, 2003|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

Military wife, Marine mom and cookbook author Susan Slack offers these suggestions for preparing and sending foods packages to soldiers overseas:Unbleached, all-purpose flour produces sturdy cookies for shipping; bread flour produces crisper cookies.

Cookies made with vegetable oil do not spoil as quickly as those made with butter.

Cookies with little moisture work best. Avoid icing cookies; avoid using syrups and brown sugars. Use recipes with longer cooking times to create drier, sturdier treats.

Besides homemade baked goods, other welcome foods include: beef, turkey or chicken jerky (do not send pork products); canned nuts; chewing gum; single-serving cereal boxes; cheddar-cheese crackers; condiment packets from restaurants to perk up prepared meals; cracker packs with cheese spread; Cracker Jack; dried-soup packets and dried fruit; Fig Newtons; frosted animal crackers; fruit chews; fruit cocktail, small cans; Goldfish crackers; granola and granola bars; hard candies; instant-oatmeal packs and instant-noodle packs; jelly beans; peanut-butter crackers; power bars; pretzels; single-serving bottles of hot sauce; instant coffee; powdered drink mixes and tea bags.

Pack foods in airtight containers but not tins and send enough for troops to share. Surround foods and other items with newspapers or packing paper. Include a garbage bag for discarding packaging.

Packages should be as small as possible. Shoe-box size is recommended, though thin cardboard shoe boxes will not be sturdy enough. Priority boxes are available for free at the post office. Also, if you call 800-222-1811, you can order shipping supplies that will be delivered to your home at no charge. Include address inside the package in case it is opened. Secure the box with packing tape. Double-tape all boxes.

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