Archive for the ‘SPAM on your plate’ Category


Who would ever think that one of my favorite foods would have such a currently infamous connotation?  Every day I eliminate “spam” on my computer, some of it terribly ugly and some of it simply a matter of blog readers trying to peddle their wares.  But electronic spam does not in any way lesson my love for that Hormel product first launched in 1937. 

Although much maligned by today’s “black beans, couscous, and chicken breast but no other meat” crowd, Hormel’s SPAM® is and always will be an American classic!

I grew up in the 1930s and 40s when good nutrition was a GIVEN!  The food groups were introduced to us in kindergarten and upheld by our mothers in the kitchen—yes mothers like June Cleever, with APRONS!

Granted, we didn’t have the out of season fruit and vegetables that are available in our supermarkets today.  (I love eating raspberries in March!)  But our aproned mothers canned tomatoes, peas, beans, beets, carrots, corn, peaches, pears, and plums for us to enjoy all winter.  Potatoes, squash, onions, and apples were kept intact in sand, in a cold cellar way beyond autumn.  As the apples grew old, they were quickly batched into the world’s best applesauce. 

We did have fresh oranges and grapefruit—not just in our Christmas stockings but for the weeks after Christmas.  I never knew of anyone in our town getting scurvy.

All winter long, we had hot cereal for breakfast—oatmeal with raisons, Cream of Wheat® with dates, Ralstons®, etc.  We put sugar in our cereal.  Lots of sugar! 

We’d have laughed ourselves loony, if we’d heard that sugar might make children “hyper-active”.  Children had chores to do.  And we had decent, highly academic schools which demanded completed homework assignments.  There wasn’t any time or energy left for hyper-activity! 

(There was such a thing as naughtiness which occasionally surfaced in children, myself included.  But no psycho-babble was applied to our behavior.  Naughtiness was dealt with swiftly and efficiently, and we were given something to think about!  Sugar on our cereal—and the fact that we nearly always had pie, cake, cookies, or ice cream after dinner—had nothing to do with our behavior.  In fact, sugar always made me feel and act sweeter!  🙂 )

And then there was meat.  Meat was rationed in WW II, and my mother was careful with her coupons.  We had our main meat meal on Sundays—a pot roast, baked chicken, ham, pork roast, leg of lamb, according to availability.  This feast was stretched into the coming week:  meat pie on Monday evening with the meat, vegies, and potatoes with gravy baked to bubbling in my Mom’s home made crust—followed by soup from the meat bones and casseroles on subsequent week days.

Near the weekend when the meat pie, soup, and casseroles were gone, we had SPAM®.  How wonderful it was, heated in a skillet with a bit of brown sugar and mustard—and served with scalloped potatoes and hot vegies. 

As well as nourishing us at home during those years, SPAM® fueled the allied soldiers and provided sustenance for relief in ravished Europe after the war. 

The Hormel website states:  “Over the years, the SPAM® Family of Products has made itself known around the world, winning over the hearts of soldiers, world leaders, chefs, kids and parents alike.  In fact, Gracie Allen, Dwight Eisenhower, Margaret Thatcher and Monty Python all have sung praises of the SPAM® Brand.”   http://www.spam.com/ 

I also sing the praises of SPAM®, and serve it at least once a month.  Heated to a crisp in my iron skillet and served with hot buttered green beans, a fresh spinach salad (with sweet peppers, oranges, and bananas), and warm dinner rolls, that meal is mighty comforting.  In my opinion, it’s worlds better than black beans, couscous, and white chicken—or anything equally hip and trendy!

Not welcome on my computer, but definitely celebrated on my plate:  that’s SPAM®!

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

P.S.  I realize and respect that some highly sensitive individuals cannot eat any processed food, and some folks cannot tolerate much sugar.  My husband is diabetic, so we only do desserts on special occasions—and then very sparingly. 

But moderation works for most of us.  If we eat a well balanced main meal, dessert can be good for body and soul.  Even a diabetic can enjoy a small serving of dessert if he or she decides to forego some other carbs in the meal.  Life is all about choices!

Note:  Here is a family favorite:  In your old-fashioned hand meat grinder, grind up one can of SPAM® and one/half of a large box of VELVEETA® cheese. 

Mix these ingredients, and spread on open face buns (whole wheat buns are good).  Broil until golden and bubbly.  Serve with a fruit and vegie salad and sweet pickle relish. 

Who in the world would ever want to hang out at a fast food restaurant, when that—or any other good meal—was prepared at home by an actual mother in an apron?

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