Humanity’s desire to over-season their food directly led to the discover of America. So it seems only fitting that Americans everywhere make it a point to inject their foods with enough sodium to make their cardiologists say, “Please, just…stop.” And when people think of questionable foods that only get their appeal by being the nutritional equivalent of a salt lick, we of course think to the classic American food product and scrambled-eggs-improver, SPAM.
So let’s focus less on the sizzle and more on the chopped pork shoulder meat steak with this American salute to…
SPAM: Fulfilling Your Daily Value of Sodium since 1937
And “Crazy Tasty” for that brief period in the 1990’s where you could get away with saying “Crazy Tasty.”
Apparently, while Hormel has no problem with “spam” being used to describe email junk messages, they do request that you call it SPAM in capital letters, and add some noun after it like “luncheon meat” or “salt depository.” A surprising amount of research came into making a preserved, pre-cooked canned meat, since heating meat tends to release the water from the meat, often leaving you with dry meat and water in a can. In an effort to creep out about 75% of the female population of America which has a problem with the sound of the world, Jay Hormel of the Hormel Foods corporation focused his company’s efforts on a canning process that would leave the meat preserved, yet moist. Yeah, we’ll say it again. Moist.
While Hormel had some luck with canned hand, they decided to get rid of some pork shoulders, since no one eats fucking pork shoulders. While SPAM originally only consisted of pork shoulders, Hormel eventually began mixing it up with ham, offering an ingredient list that included pork shoulder meat, ham meat, salt, water, modified potato starch, and sodium nitrate, with a glaze that formed from the cooling of meat stock.
We know, sounds delicious right? Well, sure, it might not sound particularly pelasent, but how about the fact that a can of SPAM has 200% of your daily value of Sodium? And 150% of your daily allotment of fat? Or 180% of your daily value of cholesterol? Now don’t you suddenly have the urge to slice up a whole can of that shit, pour some chili paste on it, and grill it for your heart’s pleasure? No? Again just us? Well fine, we’ll be enjoying our lunch tomorrow, thank you very much.
Or you can just deep fry it to help you finally get some use out of that defibrillator the doctor made you buy.
SPAM was supplied en masse to American troops during World War II (to the tune of 15 million cans a week) because, hey, the soldiers probably weren’t going to live long enough to have to worry about heart health anyway. After World War II, Hormel hired a group of ex-G.I. women, who they called the Hormel Girls, that toured the nation from coast-to-coast to instill the notion that SPAM is a patriotic food. Because a woman in uniform really is the best way to advertise the benefits of a salty slab of pork that jiggles.
Since then, SPAM was able to corner the “cheap canned pork products that people assume would be a food staple for poor people” market, while also becoming weirdly popular in Hawaii and Guam (as in “each person on average eats 16 cans of it a year” popular). Throughout America, 3.8 cans of SPAM are consumed every second, meaning that SPAM consumption is exponentially more common than house robberies, which we guess is a good thing. SPAM was, and continues to be, produced in Austin, Minnesota, a city of 24,000 people that actually calls itself “SPAM Town USA”. None of these statements are jokes, but part of you is assuming that we’re making this up, right? Don’t worry, that uneasy feeling won’t go away.
SPAM actually provides you with vitamins and minerals, in the same way that a millionaire miser might on occasional put his leftover change in the “take a penny, leave a penny” tray. By which we mean to say that, per serving, you get 1% of your daily value of vitamin C. But hey, you also get 9% of your potassium! We have no empirical evidence to back us up on this, but we’re pretty sure that 50% of all cases of Scurvy in America are caused by all-SPAM diets.
SPAM has branched out since it originally hit the market, because if sell a slab of salty mystery meat, you might as well have it come in different flavors. That’s why we have products like-
The slogan for SPAM Spread is “If you’re a spreader, not a slicer, then SPAM spread is for you,” possibly because their legal department shot down the original one of “This product is meant for sexual offenders, if you’d please your dark urges through acts of murder, you should stick to just regular SPAM.” This product takes everything people hate about SPAM (the color, the sense of shame when you sit down in your studio apartment and think to yourself “SPAM sandwich, it’s what’s for dinner, OH GOD I’M SO ALONE”) while giving it a texture that helps remind us why Vegemite never became popular in America.
Don’t worry though, you can buy a 24 pack of it on Amazon. So you never have to leave the apartment. Who needs friends when you have 24 cans of SPAM Spread to keep you company? You could make miniature clothes to put on each can and give them names like “Lord Hamperty” or “The Grand Baroness Spamshire” and they’d all turn away whenever you start crying. Shh, shh. SPAM won’t judge you. Shh.
SPAM with Bacon
Here’s a question- if you take meat from a pig’s shoulder, mince in some meet from a pig’s leg (ham), and then add in meat from the pig’s belly (bacon) just for the fuck of it, at what point are you just eating the equivalent of a pig roasting over a spit? Listen, don’t get us wrong, we’re the first to remind you that adding bacon to anything makes it instantly better, but we’re just saying you should stop calling it SPAM (which is meant to be short for both “Spiced Ham” and “Shoulder of Pork and ham”) and just start calling it “whatever parts of the pig we want you to eat, goddamn it.”
SPAM Golden Honey Grail
Don’t worry, this product was just a marketing gag. Granted, it did exist, and we’re just as grossed out at the concept of a honey flavored SPAM as you are. But they only released it for a limited time in 2005 because of the Monty Python musical. So maybe we shouldn’t take this one seriously. SPAM isn’t going to go out of their way to have products that legitimately insane. Right?
SPAM’s Legitimately Insane Decision To Sell Hot Dogs
NO. We refuse to acknowledge that this exists. Show us all the reviews of it that you want, we’re done here.
Just pretend you didn’t see anything there. Uh, SPAM is unhealthy and everywhere. The end. We’re out.