Mark D. Roberts

Now there’s a combination you don’t see very often: Chocolate, Running Shoes, and Spam. No, no, not the Spam that fills you inbox with donations from Africa and illicit invitations. This recent AP story referred to Spam, the stuff you eat. And, apparently, you and I are eating more and more of it these days.
Why is this happening? According to the AP, “Consumers have trimmed household budgets and postponed cars, major appliances and other big-ticket items. Yet they still are willing to shell out for small indulgences and goods that make life more comfortable at home, where they are spending more time.” Spam must be one of those “small indulgences.”
I expect some of you are plenty familiar with Spam. Others may not have tasted its delights. When I was growing up, every now and then my mother would fix Spam for dinner. Maybe she knew that if she served Spam sometimes then we’d be more grateful for our usal fare of natural meat products. Or maybe it was her secret plot to turn me and my siblings into vegetarians. (Actually, I didn’t dislike Spam as much as this suggests. When sliced, fried, and served with eggs, it was rather like bacon, ham, and sausage rolled into one.)
A few years ago I did a short piece on Spam for my blog. It was actually a rant about email Spam. But I thought I’d run it again, just for fun.
A Little More About Spam
Why, I wonder, do we call unwanted, junk e-mails and the like “spam”? The consensus of opinion is that the name is based, not on the luncheon meat, but on the song that was a part of a skit on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. This song included a bunch of Vikings singing: “Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, lovely spam! Wonderful spam!” To hear a bit of this marvelous number, click here (.mov, 96 K). The point would seem to be that spam is a bothersome invasion into one’s consciousness that keeps on going without end. That would describe Internet spam pretty accurately, I think.
Of course Spam is also and originally a luncheon meat. My mother would serve it to us once in a while. Sometimes we’d have Spam as the main course for dinner. She liked Spam, I think, because it reminded her of her childhood. It was a common food during World War II. (Photo: An actual ad for Spam from the 1940s. Makes you want to run right out and buy a case. Mmmmmm.)
What is Spam, really, you wonder? Well, there is a nifty Spam website, hosted by Hormel Foods, the creators of Spam, that will answer this question, and almost anything else you might wonder about Spam (if you wonder about Spam at all). Spam is a combination of pork shoulder and ham, along with “secret spices.” The name “Spam” was thought up by Kenneth Daigneau, who won $100 in a Hormel “name this wonderful luncheon meat” contest.
Spam, by the way, debuted in 1937. Since that time Hormel has sold over 7 billion cans of Spam. Just think about it. That’s just a little less than one can of Spam for every human being on earth.
If you’d like to learn more about Spam, you can always visit the Spam Museum. It’s in Austin, Minnesota, near the Iowa state line. That’s over 16,000 square feet of Spam stuff. Wow!
More fun, perhaps, would be an experience with the Spammobile. I wonder if you can rent one of these for a summer RV trek? (Photo: The Spammobile. No joke! But, according to the official Spam website, the Spammobiles were retired from service in 2008. How sad!)
Last time I visited Las Vegas, I was wandering through the casino of my hotel. Lo and behold, I spotted a slot machine that surprised me. It had a Spam theme. Wow! Now thereâ??s a delectable combination: Las Vegas and Spam.
I didn’t play that slot, since I’m not inclined to gamble, even when Spam is involved. But I must say I did wonder: If you hit the jackpot on this machine, what would you win? Money? Or Spam? Cans of Spam! “Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, lovely spam! Wonderful spam!”
Well, thatâ??s about enough for today on Spam. If any of my readers eat Spam, and especially if you like it, why donâ??t you put up a comment about your experiences of Spam. When did you start eating it? What is your favorite Spam recipe?

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