I read a story claiming that Spam, the indestructible food that lingers on store shelves for decades, is considered a delicacy in Korea. There’s even a TV commercial showing a man and woman enjoying a dinner of fried Spam over rice with a side of kimchi (pickled cabbage), accompanied by wine and candlelight. Wow, what a romantic dinner!
Spam has been around since WWII, when fresh meat was in short supply. The Hormel website describes it as “A high-quality kitchen staple made of 100 percent pure pork and ham that the world has come to know and love.” Since then, cans of Spam have found their way into the dark corners of kitchen cabinets everywhere. I admit that I have a can tucked away for those times when the power goes out. Each time I see it, I opt for a hunger strike or a trip to Burger King. It’s right up there with those cans of no-name processed ham you find at the dollar store – it may contain part of the pig, but don’t ask which part.
A friend who is a career Naval officer was stationed in Hawaii a few years ago. He sent me a care package loaded with island treats, including Macadamia nuts, coconut cookies, some of the strongest coffee I’ve ever tasted, and…several varieties of Spam! I didn’t know it was available smoked, barbecued and bacon-flavored. There was even one marinated in pineapple.
What’s next – Spam Helper? How about grilled Spam and cheese sandwiches on restaurant menus? County Fairs might sell deep-fried Spam along with those fried veggies and blooming onions.
This opens a whole new realm of culinary possibilities. This summer I may treat my barbecue guests to Spam on the grill, with Chef Boy-are-we-in-trouble ravioli as a side dish. I may even open a can of Beanie Weenies. A bottle of Ripple or Thunderbird would go well with it and for dessert, I could serve that Christmas fruitcake I got in 1982. It’s probably still good.
Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author whose books range from romantic mystery/thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. His website is www.timsmithauthor.com.