Garlic Spam? Yes, please
Spam. Probably the best know ‘meat’ on the globe.
Who hasn’t eaten Spam? I always liked it but I stopped eating it decades ago after hearing about all the, ah, ‘stuff’ that goes into pressed/processed meats like bologna, hotdogs and Spam.
I couldn’t quite get around visions of pig lips, eyeballs and floor scrapings, to mention a few stomach-turning ingredients that were rumored to be what processed meats are made of. Well, I still eat hotdogs. I never could quite give up hotdogs. I will only eat the Kosher ones, natural casings, convincing myself that they are made up of good meat. (If they aren’t, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.)
A couple of weeks ago, I happened upon an article from the “Official UK SPAM Website.” It laid out all the myths and facts about Spam, made by Hormel, including new flavors as well as the original; Spam with Black Pepper, with Bacon and with Garlic — as well as “Spam Lite” and “Spam Fritters.” There are now cans in two sizes, the one we’re all familiar with and a smaller one.
It turns out that Spam is made primarily from the shoulder meat — 88 percent to 90 percent — which is pork. Then there’s a smaller amount of meat from the flank, which is ham. (Maybe it should be named "Spork.")
The article says: “Whatever you may hear, no ‘scrapings’ or ‘useless bits’ of pork or ham have ever found their way into SPAM® Products.” It goes on to explain that Spam is “Chopped Pork & Ham … primarily high-quality pork shoulder meat and ham (actually hand cut off the bone). These are ground together with water, a little sugar, salt and spiced flavouring to be cooked in the can, which gives it its long shelf life.”
Indeed, this method of cooking renders it an ideal meat for storage. It will keep almost indefinitely.
Also, it comes “Fully cooked: ready to eat hot or cold.” That would make it a good camp/camping/emergency food and protein source.
The American plants, alone, put out over 44,000 cans an hour. Hawaii is the largest consumer of Spam at around 4 million cans a year. It’s especially popular for sushi. I can’t quite picture that, but it does go good with pineapple.
They list some different "recipes," like grilled Spam and cheese sandwiches, Spam hash, and Spam fritters.
I was convinced. I went and got me a can of Spam. All I could find in town was the original Spam, in two sizes. I got the smaller one in case I didn’t like it. I decided to try it with my eggs for breakfast — cutting off two slices and browning them in butter. So now I’m hooked.
I particularly like that, unlike bacon, it only takes seconds to brown and doesn’t splatter. I’m going to try the grilled Spam and cheese sandwich next. But I am anxious to try the Spam with garlic!
I have talked to the managers in the stores I shop in locally and asked if they would look into it and stock them. I don’t like to travel out of the area to shop. So watch the shelves — and maybe also ask for it? In the meantime, give the original Spam of all our childhood days a go, especially for breakfast.
Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, is a graduate of Belfast schools, now living in Morrill.