What other single meat (if that’s the correct terminology) has its own museum, a festival built around it, and a name that evokes both memories and laughter almost universally?
Correct. Nothing other than SPAMÂ®. The museum is in Austin, Minnesota, and the festivals are called SPAM Jam Waikiki and SPAMarama. There is even a Broadway play, Spamalot, with a tribute to the food (but you American Idol fans of Clay Aiken already knew that).
And now, in this values-based economy where our food budgets are getting slashed in order to pay the gas bill, SPAM is getting some respect. It made news this week with food prices rising 4 percent, and fuel going even higher. SPAM’s basic cost has reportedly gone up, too, but it is still seen as a low-cost alternative when stretching your meal dollars.
In Hawaii, its taken for granted that SPAM is on every shelf and available in every variety (there are 12, everything from something called “Golden Honey Grail” to Bacon SPAM to the SPAMÂ® Classic). In other parts of the U.S., well, I think the words are: not so much. We simply don’t think to buy it in many cases, opting for fresh meat or cans of tuna. When you think about it, though, it’s probably not so different, and may be worthy of this newfound respect.
There are plenty of SPAM recipes available, like this one for Barbeque Spam Muffins, found at http://www.spam.com.
- 2 (17.3-ounce) cans large refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
- 1 (12-ounce) can SPAMÂ® Classic, grated
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375Â°F. Lightly grease 48 miniature muffin tins. Divide biscuits into thirds and press into bottom and up sides of prepared muffin tins. In large skillet, combine SPAMÂ® and onion; sautÃ© until onion is softened and SPAMÂ® is heated and lightly browned. Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder and vinegar. Divide mixture evenly among the muffin cups. Top each with shredded cheese. Bake for 18 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.
If you like it, you might consider joining the SPAM fan club (literally – and, as I said, what other meats can claim that?). Whatever you do to cut your grocery bill, isn’t it nice to know that a little ham, pork, sugar, salt, water, potato starch and a hint of sodium nitrite can go a long way?
_SPAMÂ® is a registered trademark of Hormel Foods, Inc._.