If you're like me, you don't really have much of an idea what the hell iron rations look like, much less what they're made of. As a kid I assumed they were cakes made of compressed Product 19; that assumption hasn't changed much in the intervening years. [Does Kellogg's still make Product 19? I don't think I've seen it since the 80s.]
Anyway, my recent foray into Equipment Theory has led me to seek out a clearer image of what sort of food my PCs are noshing on down on the 5th level of Adventure Module FU2 Abyss of Tumescent Malice. Here are a few options I've discovered:
Dungeon Pucks—Unpalatable crumpets of dwarven manufacture, they are comprised of rendered catoblepas lard and quarry dust; only the truly hungry can bring themselves to eat one of these. It is said that rats turn up their noses at these biscuits and no known mold can find purchase on its dense surface. Each provides one meal worth of sustenance, though it is a mean existence; reduce Will to Live by 2 for each day of consumption. A diet consisting solely of d-pucks will eventually cause one to sublimate into wraith-form.
Cialembas—Sickly-sweet tortillas made of acorn flour and pixie semen, they provide lite yet satisfying fare,can be carried in great quantities without impinging on encumbrance, and cause massive erections. Beware: extended use may result in spontaneous gender reassignment. Another ill side effect: acquisition of these wafers requires interaction with high elves of particularly dreary outlook.
Uruk-hooch—Foul but invigorating liquor made from
goblin adrenal glands and Wild Turkey. Small doses allow for improved
strength and stamina; prolonged use causes psychosis of the liver. Highly corrosive to metal and organic matter, must be stored in glass containers. It
is rumored to be an antidote to the more unpleasant side-effects of both Dungeon Pucks and
Cialembas, but do you really want a psychotic liver?