Have you ever had one of those days when a song gets stuck in your head? My song today is “The Song of SPAM.” I’m not sure from where the subconscious mystery meat selection emanated. SPAM is not a staple in our pantry, nor did I grow up eating the stuff. Perhaps the seed of SPAM was sown, after receiving a box of old recipes cards from my father-in-law, this past Sunday. Salvaged from a decaying old garage, numerous recipes are painstakingly categorized and filed neatly in the box. One of the categories is SPAM.
Hormel Foods is the brand behind this much-maligned and often misunderstood food staple. SPAM debuted in 1937 and was originally produced as an inexpensive food option that delivered canned meat to the masses. It was an easy choice for military menus and during World War II it become part of the U.S. military’s regular diet. Guam, Hawaii, Okinawa, the Philippines and other Pacific islands all assimilated this strange processed wartime meat into their native cuisine.
Love it or hate it! According to the SPAM website, this canned meat loaf made of six simple ingredients: pork, ham, salt, water, potato starch, sugar and sodium nitrate is the food stuff of legend. There are 12.8 cans of SPAM products eaten every second! 15 different varieties are sold in 44 countries around the globe. That’s a lot of SPAM! Did you know there is even a SPAM Museum? It’s true and it can be found in Austin, MN, the home of Hormel Foods. Roadside America recently visited the museum where “Spambassadors roam the floor of the SPAM Museum, acting as guides.”
All this jibber-jabber about this magical little blue can of processed meat has made us hungry! While I can’t jump into my ‘way-back machine’ and get to the SPAM JAM (Philippines), the former home to an exclusively SPAM restaurant and me budget won’t allow me to surf on down to Hawaii. However, a quick trip to the local grocery store will provide! Now, let’s take a look at those recipes.
Crusty SPAM Bake
- 1/2 c. corn flake crumbs
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 12 oz. can SPAM
- 2 tbsp. mustard
- pineapple slices
Combine corn flakes and brown sugar with cloves. Cut SPAM crosswise into 8 slices. Spread both sides of slices with mustard. Coat with crust of corn flakes mixture. Place a SPAM slice on top of each and drizzle with melted oleo. Bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes. Garnish with parsley.
Summertime Main Dish Salad
- 2 c. julienne-cut SPAM
- 6 c. shredded carrots
- 1 c. flaked coconut, sweetened
- 1/2 c. dried currants
- 1/4 c. minced chives or green onion tops
- juice of one lemon
- 1 c. mayonnaise
- 1 c. sour cream
- salt and pepper, to taste
- pineapple slices
Combine ham, carrots, coconut, chives, lemon juice and chill. Just before serving combine mayonnaise and sour cream. Add enough to moisten and hold salad together. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on pineapple slices.
Zesty SPAM Bites
- 6 SPAM slices, diced
- 1/4 c. teriyaki sauce
- 3/4 c. cooked brown or jasmine rice
- 1 tbsp. bacon bits
- 1 tbsp furikake (or to taste)
- 6 drizzles sriarcha mayo sauce
- 2 tsp. green onions, diced
In a skillet, saute SPAM and teriyaki sauce until browned and starting to crisp. Allow to cool and cook rice. Mix together cooked SPAM and rice. Using a melon baller (large scoop) or a tablespoon, scoop out portions of the rice/SPAM mixture. Round the mixture into balls and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with bacon bits and furikake. Bake for a quick 2-3 minutes. Drizzle with sriracha mayo sauce, garnish with green onion and serve.