DC Omnivore 100: #91, SPAM®

Photo courtesy of
‘Photo of Crispy Grilled Spam “Chips”‘
courtesy of ‘foodistablog’

Today, we’re trying another item from the DC Omnivore 100, which lists the top one hundred foods every good omnivore should try at least once in their lives.

You have to give credit to the fine makers of SPAM®–they sure do know how to make canned meat fun.

The bright blue and yellow packaging on the Spam Single Classic I picked up the other day at the supermarket in my quest to share with you, dear readers, the joys of this highly processed food, invited me to “Just rip and tear your way to CRAZY TASTY® town!” The back had a SPAM Idea O’Wheel with suggestions of what to do with my SPAM, which included making a necklace from the very pouch I held in my hands. (Okay, even I know that’s not fashion.)

A little alarmed by the prospect of eating nearly half a day’s saturated fat in a single slice, I considered buying the SPAM Lite instead, but was even more frightened that the package actually listed “mechanically separated chicken parts” as an ingredient. I’m sure the pork in the regular fared no better at the factory, but still….

This ain’t health food, folks, and I’m pretty sure it ain’t green, but indeed I grew up on the stuff and still have fond memories of it.

SPAM Single

When I was a kid, my mom made SPAMwiches–yummy buttery greasy goodness, with two slices of white bread dipped in French toast batter, and fried up with a slice of savory salty SPAM in between.

Or at least she called them SPAMwiches. While I didn’t find her exact recipe in the extensive SPAM recipe database, I did check to make sure the term “SPAMwiches” is real (it is). You see, my parents have fooled me before.

All my formative years, my dad said that a single slice of bread folded over with filling in the middle was a samige. I believed this to be fact, and found out the truth only after stating it confidently to some friends in, um, college. They looked at me oddly, and suddenly I could imagine my dad saying the word in his funny voice, the one he used when he pulled his glasses down on his nose. How embarrassing…but I digress.

Photo courtesy of
‘SPAM Fries with Sriracha Ketchup and Garlic/Roasted Pepper “Aioli”‘
courtesy of ‘inuyaki.com’

What is SPAM like, anyway? Well, it usually comes in a rectangular can, and it’s best sliced about ¼ inch thick, like my Single Classic. SPAM looks and smells like lunch meat ham. It tastes mostly like lunch meat ham too, but it’s twice as salty and much more mushy. Think ham with the consistency of bologna, and you’re getting close. It’s best served hot, as that browns it and gives it a firmer texture, and makes it feel more like regular meat. In the juicy warm “SPAMwiches” I had as a kid, for example, it was substantial and satisfying.

So how else do you eat this stuff? Well, you can slice it, dice it, shred it or stir it into a spread.

Photo courtesy of
‘Vintage Ad #906: Look What You Can Do With One Can of Spam’
courtesy of ‘jbcurio’

The Web site has hundreds of recipes, nearly all involving some degree of creativity. There’s the Baked SPAM Classic, where you prop up your little rectangle of SPAM, stick in cloves, pour on a brown sugar/mustard glaze and bake it like a tiny ham (check out the picture for laughs). There’s SPAM and scrambled eggs, and for a bizarre mixture of hoity-toity veggies and old-school grease, there’s the Vegetable SPAM Stuffed Acorn Squash.

While you’re waiting for your meat product to cook, you can log on to play the SPAMALOT game, listen to SPAM music, or sign up for the SPAM Fan Club Newsletter (so you can get spam from SPAM).

Because let’s face it–this pinkish meat conglomerate may be tasty and filling, but part of the fun of eating it is that the ham is SPAM!

An area resident since 1997, Donna C. is a DC outsider. When she’s not running her writing and Web business, she’s running around the city, exploring the great outdoors, or trying to figure out how best to go green. See why she loves DC.

One thought on “DC Omnivore 100: #91, SPAM®