September 23, 2020

Busy Season Zen: ‘The Bob Ross of Food Reviews’

Today I have a special treat for y’all. With 1.53 million subscribers, Steve1989MREInfo isn’t exactly an underground YouTuber, and I have no doubt some of you are already familiar with this Internet treasure. But for those of you who haven’t yet experienced the joy of a Steve1989 MRE review, get ready to meet your new favorite YouTuber.

I can’t even remember how I originally came across Steve, no doubt he snuck into my recommended somehow. And boy am I glad he did. There’s just something so charming about his excitement when he unwraps a rancid, 100-year-old military ration, his hands shaking as he melodically pops open a botulism-infected can with his military-issued can opener.

Thirty-year-old Steve Thomas of Florida has been unboxing and dining on military rations for YouTube since 2015, starting his channel shortly after recovering from E. coli which he got from a Ukranian ration. If you browse his comment section, you’ll note an overwhelming number of commentators asking out loud how this man doesn’t get sick with every video. “The corona virus couldn’t do shit to steve,” reads a comment on his latest video.

A 2017 GQ profile of Steve captured his charm perfectly:

I have watched most, if not all, of Steve1989’s uploads. It’s hard to explain why I find them so riveting, in part because I’m so far from what you might imagine his core demographic to be—my YouTube diet consists of Carly Rae Jepsen videos, cat-themed Vine compilations, and local news bloopers. But there’s pleasure to be found in watching a person get really, really excited about something, whatever that something may be. Thomas is like a kid on Christmas morning. The contents of every ration are a surprise, like a frequently disgusting geode. And there’s even a kind of horror movie element at play here. Instead of shrieking at the characters on screen to put away the Ouija board or flee the obviously haunted basement, you’re begging Steve to keep that finger dipped in 60-year-old peanut butter as far away from his mouth as possible.

Anytime you start feeling sorry for yourself because you’re eating box lunch for the sixth day in a row, just pop on a Steve video and I guarantee you’ll feel better in a matter of moments. I suggest 1964 ham and lima beans. Enjoy. And I apologize in advance for introducing you to your new obsession, believe me there are worse ways to waste time on YouTube.

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

Related articles

Busy Season Zen: These Marching Troops

I actually had a dinosaur mukbang planned for today’s Busy Season Zen but then I came across this and, well, considering it’s now March and busy season problems are in full swing, I figured why not. Seems oddly appropriate although I’m not entirely sure why. Volume warning, turn it down or pop in some headphones […]