Monday, October 20, 2014

Spam: It's come a long way since World War II

Can of metal, slick
soft center, so cool, moistening
I yearn for your salt

Finding canned meat that's affordable is a challenge.  I went to Walmart this week and they had several new products.  There were canned meatballs for $3.28 a can.  Canned fajita beef was $4.97.  Canned barbecued pork was $3.28.  They've had canned roast beef, canned corned beef and canned chicken for some time.  All of these seem to be part of a new product line, because they're all the same size and have similar Great Value labels. I bought one of each to photograph for the blog, but I haven't gotten my ancient camera out yet so that will have to wait for another post.

The local Walmart is also carrying big cans of Keystone meat. They have ground beef, roast beef, pork and chicken.

These are bigger cans than the Great Value products, and they cost more. The canned beef was $6.97.  The chicken was marginally less expensive, but I think buying the Great Value chicken in the smaller cans came out to significantly less per ounce than the Keystone.

It probably wouldn't hurt to have a case or two of both in the store room if the budget will accommodate the cost.

One inexpensive way to store canned meat is Spam.   Personally, while I realize Spam is full of salt and not necessarily the best thing for you to eat, I like the taste.  It's inexpensive , compared to most meat.  Here are a few of the different varieties you can get.  I particularly like the hot and spicy spam.

clad in metal, proud
no mere salt-curing for you
you are not bacon

above all others
porcine treat without equal
there is but one Spam

Little slab of meat
In a wash of clear jelly
Now I heat the pan

Old man seeks doctor
"I eat Spam daily", he says.
In the cool morning
I fry up a slab of Spam
A dog barks next door
Cube of cold pinkness
Yellow specks of porcine fat
Give me a spork please
Pink beefy temptress
I can no longer remain

and who dares mock Spam?
you? you? you are not worthy
of one rich pink fleck

Spam makes great sandwiches.  The real benefit, though, is that you can add a can to a big pot of rice, or beans, or potatoes.  Anything that you can store in bulk , may need some spicing up to be palatable to the family.  Kids who might not touch a spam sandwich will enjoy their rice or beans more if there's some flavor to it.  Fried spam, from my perspective, makes a great breakfast with eggs. You can get it by the case without much trouble and it will keep a long, long time if stored in a cool, dark, dry place.

Spam's not the sole solution to the big issue of storing protein, but I think it's a good starting place.
If you don't have access to a store that sells a variety of spam you want, try the Hormel Foods Online Store. I put a link to it below:

Hormel Foods On Line Store


  1. spam, spam, spam, spam, spam,spam, spam, spam
    sorry, I just could not pass up the opportunity ;-)

    1. I never saw that before. I'm a big Monty Python fan.

  2. I grew up with spam, and remember thinking it was o.k., but I haven't had it in years.

    1. You need to find some of that good spam up with some potatoes and eggs, and hot sauce!!

  3. I don't mind a bit of Spam at all, but we don't have all of the exotic blends that you have in the US! My particular favourite though is Hamper brand tinned corned beef, back in my batchelor days I always took away a couple of tins in my food box when camping. It is great on a sandwich or fried for breakfast with some eggs & onion.

    Mind you I had an uncle who was in the 9th Div at the siege of Tobruk and he loathed the stuff, he had to live on tinned corned beef and hard biscuits for months on end and in the heat of the desert he said when you opened the tin you poured the semi liquid mess into your dixie and ate it with a spoon.

  4. Ahhh Spam...The Hawaii state dish. I never had a problem with it, but if I ever said the word out loud, wifey would give me the stink-eye. You either love it or hate it.--Troy

    1. Lots of people are down on it because they had to eat it when they were kids or young adults, as a cost cutting measure. We did. I started buying it again for my stash, and then found some different ways to cook it that made it quite palatable. Now there are so many recipes and so many versions of spam that it's pretty easy to get some you like. It'll still kill you though, it's heart attack food.

  5. I love canned corned beef. It's one of my favorite things. I like to fry it, or mix it in with rice, or mashed potatoes. I keep a lot of it here at the place.

    I have read, though I can hardly credit it, that some of the corned beef the Australians had in the desert campaign was left over from World War I. That's economy with a vengeance.

    I hear the Australians have 8 fighter bombers operating over Iraq and Syria, and that they are flying about 1/3 of all the sorties launched by the "coalition". What the hell? The news said the Australian pilots are flying every day. You can't do that long, your stomach lining won't handle it unless you are very bold. And as the old saying goes "There are old pilots, and bold pilots, but no old bold pilots."

    Maybe Australia should just take over as the World's Superpower until we can get our act together here. Your country acts more like a super power than mine does under Blowjama.

    1. I'll say, I'm glad I didn't have to eat any of the 23 year old bully beef!!

      We have sent over our Super Hornets as part of our contribution to the coalition, also airborne early warning aircraft and airborne tankers plus SAS detachments. I am guessing they are going to rotate in pilots to guard against burnout as we have 2 squadrons of Super Hornets in service.

      If the US would sell us some air/ground/sea assets at "mates rates" instead of what we normally have to pay (we foolishly signed up for the Joint Strike Fighter which is costing a ridiculous amount of money) I am sure we could look after the Pacific region at the very least.

    2. We ought to just fork the equipment over to the Australians. At least then it would be in the hands of people who would use it. Look at the millions of dollars worth of equipment we gave the Iraqis. Want to buy an Iraqi rifle, never been fired, only been dropped once. Or how about an Iraqi tank, comes complete with five gears in reverse and backup lights.

      Between your country and Japan (how's that for irony) I'm sure the two could keep the Pacific under wraps unless Red China gets testy. Then there's a problem, since they hold trillions of dollars worth of our government paper. I'm sure the current regime would just cut Japan and Australia loose rather than risk pissing off our Chinese bankers......

    3. You want irony, we are replacing our Collins class submarines (Swedish design built in South Australia) with Japanese Soryu class subs! Apparently they are the most advanced non nuclear subs in the world and we are buying them off the shelf from Japan and doing the maintenance etc. here in Australia. We built the Collins class here and it was a disaster, cost overruns and delays off the planet and they have never performed to their full capabilities.

      Hopefully our ANZUS treaty would be worth more than the paper it is written on, Australia would be very tempting for China, they buy most of their coal, iron ore and natural gas from us!

    4. I wouldn't count on the U.S. while the Kenyan and his lackies are in control, honest to God. They are all about political expediency. Besides, they don't ever understand the ramifications of their many acts of stupidity.

      I think there was a reason that in the movie "The Rover" the Chinese were portrayed as running post collapse Australia, and looting it of natural resources seven different ways to Sunday.

      Japan makes good gear. I honestly think they are probably better allies for Australia than the U.S., although that might change if good people go to the polls and vote in a couple of weeks. If the Republicans can recapture the Senate that's good news for the average American (and wonderful news for the rich Americans.)

  6. A kindred spirit! I do loves me some spam in my survival larder, and for the occasional breakfast treat.

    1. You've got to have spam. I mean, how could any survivalist stockpile be without it! Stuff fries up really nice, too.

  7. I've never had it. I heard it's horrible for you. I'm not really sure.

    I always thought of it to be kind of like Velveeta. Velveeta is a cheese - supposedly, but it's kept on the shelf at the grocery store. Spam is meat - supposedly. I question it just like Velveeta, and hot dogs.

    It's not that I won't eat that stuff if it's all I had. I just wouldn't go seeking it out at the store is all.

    1. OK<,try this, just once:

      Next time you're at the grocery store, buy one can. Take it home, contemplate it for a while, then open it, slice a few slices off, and fry then until they are crispy on both sides. Eat.

      So good. SO, so good! And it keeps forever so it's great to have a few around for emergencies.

    2. Alissa! You've never had spam? That's unAmerican. Sure it's terrible for you, and will give you a heart attack, but it's yummy and that negates it's darker aspects. Fry it up with some potatoes, and some peppers and cheese. Put some good quality hot sauce on it. Maybe a little red eye gravy. Of course, we in the South have the highest rate of death by heart attack in the nation, but nobody's perfect!

  8. Hey Harry....


    Wheres the canned Meatloaf?????

    I hang out in the canned meat isle at the walmart and I still ain't found a wife or canned meat loaf:(

    maybe one day someone will come up with "Bachelor Chow" like Purina dog chow or Purina Monkey Chow.
    Maybe then I could get a 50 lbs, sack of Pizza flavored Bachelor Chow and live off of that and instant coffee.

    1. You need to look for a wife in more places. Bars are bad, you don't want a wife from a bar, just a "good time girl." Churches are good places except you need to be at least a little religious. It's good if you can meet a school teacher, even a married one, they have lots of single friends.

      I got my wife because the Major I relieved in Naples told his wife I was single before I arrived, and she picked out a wife for me from the single female officers at the base. That was a target rich environment, because AFTSOUTH, NAVSOUTH, COMSTRIKFORSOUTH and AIRSOUTH staffs were all on that base and you know staffs are loaded with women officers. The woman that Major Lyman's wife picked out for me was on the AIRSOUTH staff but she was a Navy Lieutenant. Worked out pretty well for me, I'm still married to her and our next anniversary on Dec 3 (or is it the 4th, I can't remember) is our 32.

      I don't think anybody makes canned meat loaf and anyway, it wouldn't hold a candle to the meat loaf on navy ships. But I will keep my eye out for you.

  9. I'm sure we used to have spam as school dinners although I could be wrong. I used to work with a guy who had spam sandwiches nearly everyday and loved them.
    You spam poem cracked me up! Love it far more than the actual meat!

    1. Those are all haiku from the web page that collects haiku in praise of the noble spam!

      I like spam, myself, and I like the price. It's half the cost of most canned meat, and it comes in lots of different flavors. I would imagine the English have spam, but it might not be called that anymore. You guys have some weird names for food, like "bubble and squeak" and "toad in the hole."

      Maybe you call spam something like "brick piggy" , you think? ;-)

  10. I worked in the main engineering building of the main west coast campus of the largest US defense contractor - and on the 3rd (or was it 4th) floor the employees had constructed a Spam Shrine. It featured piles of the various cans and spam haiku.

    1. I would gladly have worshiped at the Spam Shrine, and burned some incense!

  11. Harry,

    I can't stand the smell of spam let alone the taste. When I was a kid, my mom we get great deals on spam at the commissary. Needless to say we would eat spam a lot. Can't eat that stuff now, lol.....

    We have several canned meats in the pantry stocked up. I prefer to can my own meats though, have you or your wife canned meat?

    Love you header page with the ferret above :-)

  12. Sandy, I got that picture (finally) by paying for it (twice) at a Russian web page. I like it a lot.

    We ate spam when I was a kid when it was cheap, too. I didn't re- acquire the taste until I had a bunch of it in our food storage and had to start eating it to keep the rotation going. Now I like it, because there are so many flavors and so many good recipes for Spam.

    We never got into canning. I bought a book on it, and some jars and lids, but then American Canners were all that my friends recommended and they were $200 or more, so I never actually bought one.

  13. Harry - Do you know if they still make Spam in cans that are NOT pop-top? I had 6 cans stored and less than 1 year later, 3 of them were bulged out. I called Hormel and they told me "That can happen if they get dropped and the seal gets a tiny leak." Doesn't strike me as ideal long term food. Mine leaked just sitting on the shelf, unless a grocer dropped them before I bought them. I remember as a kid they had a little key thing that you would roll the top off with.
    - Unbreakable AZ

    1. As far as I know, the pop top is it. I store a lot of food with those. Chili, spam, beef, among others. I always check the cans for potential ruptures and any that look vulnerable to that I go ahead and use up. I have heard before that the pop top cans are not as good for long term storage as regular ones, and I try to buy regular cans when I am able. But I've never had any go bad. The only thing I remember going bad on me was a DAK ham. It bulged out and I gave it to the dogs. They ate it without problems but I wasn't touching it. I ate a "Boston Butt Roast" once that my wife told me was spoiled but I didn't believe her. It tasted ok, but I wished I was dead about four hours later.

    2. Thanks! Have you heard of “Jumper Spam”? Smoke jumper pal of mine taught me how to make it. They carry Spam with them going into hot areas for a quick meal. Here’s how you make it. Open the can and cut slits every ¼ inch or so from top to bottom of the loaf. (So it looks like a piano keyboard.) Pour hot sauce (your choice but thicker works better) down into the cracks and on top of the meat. The top off with sweetened fruit punch drink mix into the slits also and to the very top of the can. Put the lid back on as best you can and set it on fire pit coals for about 15 minutes or until it’s really carmelized. Sounds bizarre but it’s fantastic. Better than smores.
      Unbreakable AZ

  14. Buy Spam, it keeps Minnesotan's employed. Big Grin.

    1. Does spam come from Minnesota? I didn't know that, but I'm kind of glad it does. They have a reputation for being clean up there, nothing "Upton Sinclair" about their packing plants as far as I know.