Thursday, July 5, 2012

“Special” Ham

That’s right friends. Today is the 75th birthday of the classic “mystery meat” Spam. It’s name is actually a combo of “spiced” and “ham,” but I think “special” is a better descriptive. According to my research (which consisted of approximately three clicks of the mouse, and the typing of a four letter word) it contains chopped pork shoulder meat, with ham meat added, salt, water, modified potato starch as a binder (go Spud!), and sodium nitrate as a preservative.

That’s Spam in it’s “classic” form. Most of us know it as that special treat portrayed by Monty Python as “ubiquitous and inescapable” (which, for those of you interested in useless facts, is how the term came to refer to junk e-mail), a fascinating food product used in jokes, urban legends, and folklore. How special!

Personally, I find the taste a little salty, and the texture more than a little disturbing, but who am I to pass on celebrating such a milestone! In fact, my mom was born the same year, six months earlier. I can call her and say, “Hey mom! You’re older than Spam!” And it would be the absolute truth. That makes me laugh out loud!!

….She probably won’t get the joke, but honestly, that would make me laugh even harder! (For those of you who don’t know me well, my mom is my maternal grandmother. She adopted me and my older brother when we were tiny tots, and is, in every way that matters, my mom.)

A few more clicks of the mouse and I discovered that Spam has it’s own website! Though let’s be honest, these days who doesn’t?? It’s (enter Kaptain Obvious, stage left) It proudly displays the “Spam Tower” and offers recipes, information, and even Spam gifts and gear! (I would totally rock a Spam t-shirt if anyone wants to hook me up!) You can scroll down the tower and see all manner of “vintage” spamage. I recommend it with….2.5 stars.

I also learned, to my horror, that on average 3.8 cans are consumed PER SECOND nationwide! And as we all know from the food, fun, and fireworks yesterday, we have the freedom to eat whatever we want, in whatever quantities and crazy recipes we can think of. God bless the USA! (again, laughing out loud)

Speaking of freedom, a few fun factoids related to Spam and the military:  in WWII it was affectionately referred to by soldiers as “meatloaf without basic training” and “ham that didn’t pass it’s physical”. Calling it “Special Army Meat” means I have the backing of the United States military on my nickname….just saying.

Just a side note, really, but Spam is a popular treat in Hawaii, which I find amusing for one main reason. Ready for this? The Hawaiian alphabet only consists of 13 letters, not including the letter “s”. Pecial? Really? Maybe in typos and gimmicks like "$pecial". Draw your own conclusions, my friends.

It should be apparent by now that I could talk for pages about this versatile substance. You can find the same facts I did, and many more, in the fabulous collection of facts on Wikipedia. However, I will leave you with this thought: if you were a pig, and you were given a choice, would you rather be bacon….or Spam?

1 comment:

  1. I would eat bacon before Spam, so I think the pig would want to be Spam. My mom did make a recipe with Spam when I was a kid. She loved it.She grated it with onion and cheese, put it on half a hamburger bum and toasted them in the oven.