Friday, December 21, 2018

Half A Can Of Spam

     The real stuff, mind you -- introduced in 1937 in a Depression-thrifty effort to use pork shoulder, which wasn't selling as well as the rest of the pig, Wikipedia says it it was the first shelf-stable canned-meat product. (I'm not so sure -- the Brits had tinned "bully beef" during WW I, though it didn't get rave reviews).

     First or not, Spam is tasty and showed up just in time to feed solders and civilians around the world during WW II -- the Brits and Russians welcomed it and so did our troops, despite giving it a number of mocking nicknames.

     It's not a health food, no more than bacon.  They make a low-salt version that's pretty good but the main appeal for me is that it's a meat product I can keep on the top shelf of the pantry for times when the fridge is bare and we're hungry.  This morning we were out of breakfast meat and I started to reach for the Spam but hesitated: a whole can is way too much for breakfast for two.

     Then I remembered: the "big-box" store sells little seven-ounce cans of Spam and I'd bought one.  That's just about right for a two-person breakfast.

     And it was.  Hormel turned those hard-to-sell pork shoulders into some good food.

     It's worth keeping some canned meat on the shelf.  Most kinds are good for a couple of years and can make a snow day, a lazy day or a forgetful day better.  Spam is a classic and good corned beef is well worth adding (some versions are quite salty.  Rinsing them helps.  Keep canned diced potatoes, too, and you can make your own corned beef hash, better than the pre-made versions).  With a two-year rotation cycle, I don't know if you can call it "preparedness food," but it's useful to keep around.


Jess said...

I get surprised, when someone turns up their nose at Spam. I've enjoyed it many ways, and after a hurricane, when the perishables are gone, there are very few things that hit the spot like Spam.

Anonymous said...

If you haven't already, try the canned chunked chicken pieces as well. Great way to have ingredients for a chicken salad sandwich handy. I keep a can socked away in the frig for such occasions.

Dad ate the lower priced Treet quite a few times for his lunch at office. Made a full size can last the full week, a pair of sliced meet, a slice of real cheese and two slices of tomato and lettuce leaves - one lunch meal. A bottle of Coke (small glass bottled - tasty !) from the Coke machine - delicious. RIP Dad.

B said...

Just FYI, I found a can of Spam that had fallen out of rotation about a year was 11 years old.

Since the can wasn't bulging, I opened it and tried it.

Fried, it tasted just like the other Spam, and I didn't get sick or die...

So I think the REAL shelf life is a lot more than 2 years.

RandyGC said...

Spam also made an impact on local cultures in the Pacific during WWII. Back in the 80's when stopping by a local chain (Zippy's)in Hawaii, the menu looked like something out of the Monty Python skit.

Anonymous @ 8:02: My dad worked at a processing plant for Armour Dial and so I grew up eating a lot of Treet (and stew and other products) from cases that couldn't be shipped out for one reason or the other and were sold at a discount to the employees.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

We used to eat it on Scout camping trips, particularly when we had to pack all of our food in with us (as on a 50-mile canoe trip we took in the Boundary Waters one year). Spam was pretty much a staple of the early-generation meal kits we packed, and I learned to like it. (Better than going hungry.)

My poor Dad, on the other hand, could not abide the stuff. He'd eaten his share during WWII. He bought a can once to see if it was what he remembered -- and it was :)

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

BTW, do you recommend Hormel's canned corned beef, or someone else's? I don't do the grocery shopping anymore (my wife's shopping strategies and mine are 100% incompatible, so I gave up going with her several years ago) and it rarely occurs to me that such things are available...

Bob said...

Spam also comes in individual slices, regular and low salt. Canned chicken breast is also nice with soup for something warm.

Quick meal:

2 Knorr chicken rice mix

1 large canned chicken breast
2 small cans vegetables

Drain and rinse chicken and vegetables to reduce salt. Break up chicken chunks. Put in kettle. Cook following Knorr's directions. Feeds two with leftovers.

Jerry said...

Two Words; Spam Jerky.

Overload in Colorado said...

I'm still looking for the Armour Corned Beef Bobbi or Tam mentioned years ago.
I have discovered (unless it was also the aforementioned first) canned diced ham from Butterfield Farms, which I keep on hand for instant omelet fillings.
I keep canned tuna, salmon and the chunked chicken on hand at all times. I find that flavored salts add the flavor these bland foods need when consuming them straight.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...


Amazon and both have Armour Corned Beef.

Anonymous said...

"Spam also made an impact on local cultures in the Pacific during WWII."

And in the European theater, as well. The international market buys most of it, nowadays. (Asia, IIRC)

The combination of sodium nitrates and a lot of salt (as you mentioned) are responsible for its extended shelf life.

Americans today have mostly turned their collective noses up at it. While in other parts of the world where American GIs showed up in 'Dubya-dubya-duece' when people were literally starving to death the locals considered it a *delicacy*. And post-war they actively sought it out.

Starvation would likely give me an attitude adjustment.

I' kinda ambivalent on it myself. I don't dislike it, but I also don't seek it out often.

Anonymous said...

Hard-to-sell pork shoulder??? Have these folks never made pulled pork? Either a shoulder or a butt works very well. Geeze!

Roberta X said...

Anon: it was 1937. It was a different time.

dittybopper said...

Came here to mention he individual SPAM slices in the foil packs. Sometimes I'll take one of the lower salt ones (which is still pretty salty) and dice it up and nuke it with no salt canned vegetables. Peas are a favorite, but mixed vegetable and diced potatoes work well also.