Military dining facilities try their hardest to satisfy the broad tastes of servicemembers, and to keep them motivated. Even though food service providers work really hard it's impossible for them to get everything just right.

A jar of salsa from my favorite restaurant in New Mexico is sometimes the only thing that motivates me to get through the day.

I may be in Iraq, but I have a reminder of home, the sweet taste of my jar of salsa. It took three months for the jar to arrive, and while waiting I had to work my way through jars of what amounts to just tomato paste to me.

Just waiting for the right jar of salsa to arrive was something that brightened my day.

I've even only been motivated to get out of bed so that I can come to the office and make my nose run and tongue burn with its gloriously satisfying flavor. The tastes automatically take me back to New Mexico, and put me with my family and friends.

It's important to find things here that keep you connected with home. A casual phone call or email is good, but having comfort food from home can add to your happiness.

Others in my unit have had cookies, candy, cheese and tons of beef jerky sent as reminders of home. These treats not only added to the individual's happiness but to others as well.
The culture, love and friendships of New Mexico are something that I can't find in Iraq. There is one condiment that can sum it all up for me, and if you find have some kind of food you love I adamantly suggest receiving and sharing it.