Spam – Minnesota-style

Photo by Matthew W. Jackson
Photo by Matthew W. Jackson

I asked my son the other day if he’d ever had SPAM. (I must have seen a commercial with Sir Can-a-lot.) When he said no, I realized I had failed him. How was it possible that I never fed him this Minnesota original when I practically grew up on it? One of these days I’m going to buySir Can-a-lot a can just for him. The biggest question will be how to prepare it. There are SO many options. But before I share a few, here’s a little history of this national icon…

First of all, what IS Spam? According to “Made of pig parts and secret spices, cooked in it’s own cans right on the assembly line, SPAM rolls out of its far-flung factories at a rate of 44,000 cans an hour.” According to it’s made of “six simple ingredients – pork with ham (2 parts of the same piggy), salt, water, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrate.”

The name SPAM comes from what it’s made of – “spiced ham.” The brother of a hormel-logoHormel executive came up with the name when the luncheon meat was introduced in 1937 and won $100. (What? No SPAM for Life?)

In 1946, a troupe of former servicewomen formed a drum and bugle corps to spread the word about SPAM. Known as the “Hormel Girls,” the group grew to 60 members by 1948, including a 16-piece orchestra. The popularity of the troupe led to a national radio show featuring (you guessed it) SPAM. The group disbanded in 1953. Within the SPAM Museum is the current radio station, KSPAM. (No, I’m not kidding.)

In 1959, the one-billionth can of SPAM Classic was produced. In 1970, the two-billionth. In 1994, the five-billionth. And on it goes.

There are 18 varieties of SPAM including SPAM Lite, Turkey SPAM, Jalapeno SPAM, Hickory Smoked, SPAM with Cheese, SPAM Spread, and SPAM Singles.

So where dSpamMuseumAustinMN2006-05-20o these amazing fun facts come from? The SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota, of course, which opened in 2001. “The family-fun packed museum features 16,500 square feet of tastefully presented SPAM®-filled history. You won’t have to fight for tickets because admission is free. Visit and you’ll be tinkled pink by the SPAM® trivia and vintage SPAM® brand advertising. Plus numerous SPAM® displays including the World War II exhibit, SPAM™ Game Show quiz, Monty Python tribute (Spamalot!) and more. There’s even a SPAM® store so you can stock up on priceless SPAM® collectibles on your way out.”

So let’s get to the meat of this blog – SPAM recipes! Since I don’t have room to provide the whole recipe here, I’ll just give you a taste by rattling off some yummy ideas. You can find them on the SPAM website.

SPAM Mini Maple Doughnuts
SPAM Mini Maple Doughnuts

Maple SPAM Doughnuts
Buffalo Spamburgers
Huevos SPAM Cheros
SPAM Musubi
SPAMSGiving Day Delight (in case your turkey doesn’t turn out)
Veggie SPAM Skewers
Turkey Stuffed Pasta Shells
Bacon Wrapped SPAM Bites
BLT Bites
SPAM French Toast Sticks
SPAM Thai Style Meatballs

SPAM Apple Turnovers
SPAM Apple Turnovers

Apple SPAM Turnovers  (editor note: Ewwww!)
SPAM and Rice
SPAM Benedict

I could go on and on but we’d be here all day (and forever – the list is endless). Check it out for yourself.

I will leave you with one final piece of trivia from Wikipedia:  “On average, each person on Guam consumes 16 tins of SPAM each year and consumption is similar in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Hawaii, and Saipan, the CNMI’s principal island. These areas have the only McDonald’s restaurants that feature Spam on the menu.” So the next time you’re in Hawaii, skip the fish and order some SPAM.

Oh, and don’t forgSPAM Lapel pinet to stop by the SPAM store to pick up a gift or two. For those hard-to-please people, consider the SPAM Lapel pin.

Do you have a favorite SPAM story or recipe?

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