Warning: This post may not be for the faint-of-stomach.
Until I read Writer’s Almanac this morning, I was going to write about something else. But once I found out that today is the 75th anniversary of SPAM, I knew what my Thankful post should be about today. Here’s what I read on Writer’s Almanac:
On this date in 1937, SPAM was unveiled by Hormel Foods. It is precooked pork and ham in a can, with a little potato starch, salt, and sugar. Sodium nitrate is added to keep it pink; without it, pork tends to turn gray.
There’s no consensus on what the name actually stands for; one theory is that it’s a combination of “spiced meat” and “ham.” In Britain, where it was a popular wartime food, they called it “Specially Processed American Meat” or “Supply Pressed American Meat.” A host of tongue-in-cheek acronyms have also arisen, like “Something Posing As Meat,” and “Special Product of Austin, Minnesota,” Whatever it stands for, Hormel specifies that it should be written in all caps.
Yes, I am grateful for SPAM. The canned meat product, of course, not the pesky stuff that gluts your inbox. We don’t eat much meat here at the Doublewide Ranch, but occasionally, we enjoy eating (for a change) protein that doesn’t come from legumes or dairy products. Chicken is our meat of choice, but every so often, we like to indulge in our favorite canned meat product, SPAM.
I have a long history with SPAM. When I was young, it was a rare and special treat in our family. Mama grew up on a farm, where most of the meat they consumed was fresh off the hoof or wing. They knew where it came from. So Mama had understandable mistrust for gelatinous meat that slid with a squidgy pop, like dog food, from a can. But once in a great while, she’d give in to our whining and wheedling and serve SPAM. I loved it.
In fact, I loved it so much that after I started making good money when I was nine from working in tobacco and harvesting cucumbers, I bought my very own cans of SPAM. Unfortunately, every time I’d open a can, slice off a couple of slices, and put the rest in the refrigerator, my brother would steal what was left. Mostly, I resigned myself to that, but here’s where I’ll confess that there were times when I ate the entire loaf of SPAM in one sitting. At nine years old (I mean, I was nine, not the SPAM, haha)
I still love the stuff, but these days, one or two slices is sufficient. And I eat the SPAM Lite now. There are some wonderful recipes out there, but I always created my own. One of our favorites when the kids were young was a casserole I made with potatoes, onions, and SPAM. I called it Spam ‘n’ Spuds.
Sure, I know SPAM is the butt of jokes, but I don’t care. Probably most of those who make fun of it never ate it. Maybe they should come to the Doublewide Ranch, and I’ll whip up a little Spam ‘n’ Spuds for ‘em. Maybe they’ll turn out to be a rabid Spam Fan like me. You never know.
Happy 75th Anniversary, SPAM. Thanks for all those years of pure SPAM happiness.