"" Writer's Wanderings: The Spam Connection

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Spam Connection

If you have ever been to Hawaii and eaten a meal in a local restaurant you know that SPAM, the Hormel canned meat product made of pork and ham, is available on most menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Why so popular? It all dates back to World War II.

During the war the product became a staple to the armed forces. It didn't require refrigeration as long as it was in the can and made for a perfect ration in the warmer climates of the Pacific. Once the Hawaiians got hold of it, it became a favorite. SPAM seemed to go well with many of the Asian dishes popular in the area and many kids grew up on it thus making it a fond memory of childhood, perpetuating its popularity.

To quote the SPAM page at Hormel's site: "No single product in history is better known for its heroics during wartime, its accomplishments during peacetime and its popularity during mealtime than SPAM® classic. After more than seven decades in the marketplace, the SPAM® family of products is still the tasty, high-quality kitchen staple made of 100 percent pure pork and ham that the world has come to know and love."

So if you're ready. . .here's a recipe for SPAM fried rice"
  • 2 cups leftover rice
  • 1-1/2 cups SPAM, cut into match stick size pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Sesame Oil

    Heat a small amount of sesame oil into a skillet and brown spam pieces on all sides. Mix in the rice. Mix the egg with the soy sauce and stir into the hot rice and spam. Stir gently until the egg is cooked. Sprinkle green onions on top and serve.
  • So where's the connection to the electronic spam that we all know and hate? Apparently Monty Python is to blame. In a 1970 sketch on his BBC comedy program a waiter is recounting all the different ways SPAM shows up on the menu when a chorus begins a song or chant of spam, spam, spam, drowning out the waiter's litany. I guess the Brits weren't as fond of SPAM after the war as the Hawaiians. Anyway, the term spam came to be applied to electronic garbage in the 1980s when abusive users on Bulletin Boards entered the word spam until the text of others was bumped off the page. Later in chat rooms some even used quotes from Python's sketch to bump other users off the page.

    Ah, if all that creativity could only be used for good. Enjoy your fried rice!

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