Culture

Celebrating the cultural and culinary introduction to Spam on this day decades ago

I’m not a big fan of spam. Yet, I have a certain psychological, sentimental fondness for spam.  On the 5th of July in 1937 (right after the 161st birthday of the United States) Hormel foods introduced us all to spam.  I wasn’t alive then and neither were my parents.  But somehow a love of spam came to exist in my family that neither my sister nor myself partake in. Yet, I think of it fondly.

 
My mother loved spam. She served  it often with white rice. For a while, I thought spam was part and parcel of Puerto Rican cuisine.  It technically is not. However, it might as well be. I suppose considering how cheap Spam us and how filling it can be, it makes sense for a lot of families to have it for dinner. It did gain much of its cultural popularity during World War II. How Spam got it’s name is a bit of a mystery .  The meat itself is a mystery.  It’s shrouded in this grand mystique. I’m often reminded of a Buffy the Vampire episode where Buffy works at an odd fast food joint with odd, suspicious meat. The name could be shortened version of spicy ham or an acronym for Specially Processed American Meat. Either way, in some respects, nothing is more American than Spam.

 

Besides my mother’s love of Spam, I also am fond of Spam because of how much Hawaiians love it. There is Spam at McDonald’s. I have yet to order it at a McDonald’s but it is so cool that there is some there. Furthermore, in Hawaii they have honey Spam and spicy Spam. It just seems to be a lot of food fun. How can one be sad around honey Spam?

15 replies »

  1. During my youth in the 50’s Spam joined Bologna, Deviled ham, Vienna Sausages and livermush as mainstays in my diet. One heart attack later I have broadened my taste and eliminated such culinary delights as Spambalia and fried livermush and onions from my diet. Great post.

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  2. From what I read, Jay Hormel actually first used the concept of what would become Spam at the 1913 50th Reunion of the Battle of Gettysburg. He was still in the army at that time.

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  3. I think theres something about grandparents and Spam! Both of my grandmothers would make it with eggs for breakfast. I grew up thinking that it was solely in the breakfast “meat” genre! It was always a little too salty for my liking.

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  4. Spam. One of my dads favorites next to Red Devil Potted Ham and his twice weekly soft boiled egg and toast. Somehow I grew up relating it to hash since one of them usually appeared with eggs and toast. I’m still not sure what’s in it, and have always been afraid to read the damn can.

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  5. I like Spam. At least I think I do, haven’t had it in years! This was a throw back moment for sure. Didn’t Monty Python do a Spam skit? I am Googling now…

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