Sunday, October 17, 2010

SPAM: The Food, Not The Email

SPAM is canned processed meat made by the Hormel Corporation of Austin, Minnesota, USA. Nobody really knows what the word SPAM stands for [and for that matter how it became associated with junk email]. According to Wikipedia, it could be derived from any of these phrases : " Shoulder Pork And Ham", "Special Processed American Meat", or "Spiced Meat and Ham". Those who hate SPAM call it "Spare Parts Animal Meat" or "Something PosingAs Meat". Or it could even denote the place where SPAM is made: "Special Product of Austin, Minnesota" Nevertheless SPAM is more than a type of luncheon meat. It has become a food icon. According to its web site the 7th billion can of SPAM has been sold and every 32 seconds, someone in the USA is opening a can of SPAM. But its not only in America that SPAM is popular. Filipinos and South Koreans eat lots of SPAM and in the South Pacific islands of Fiji and Samoa, SPAM forms so much of the population's diet that it has been declared a health hazard. As a brand, SPAM is as recognizeable as Coca-Cola and McDonalds. During the Second World War, the USA gave millions of cans of SPAM to soldiers, and after the Second World War, it gave SPAM as food aid to UK, Korea, The Philippines and even a kosher version of SPAM to the jews in Israel.
As a food, SPAM is what we usually term as Comfort Food. Never mind that it may be unhealthy, made of unknown animal parts, with too much sodium and preserved with what could be the cancer-inducing Sodium Nitrite.
When all else fails, and the day is done, when hunger pangs attack and you think of home, nothing beats a slice or two of fried SPAM between two pieces of soft white bread.
Above, I have fried my SPAM with chopped garlic and garnished it with Laksa leaves [also known as Persicaria Odorata, or Vietnamese Coriander] to give a distinctive taste to my SPAM sandwich.

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