Ah, Spam, Spam, Spam, the perfect example of a food product either adored and cherished or completely despised and hated. There seems to be no compromise with this one: you either love SPAM, or ya don’t. But, your personal taste is up to you, and whether you’re a fan of it or not, you might want to stick around as we bring you 10 Things You Didn’t Know About SPAM!
10. You Shouldn’t Eat SPAM Every Day
It’s common knowledge that SPAM isn’t exactly seen as the healthiest of foods. So it’s kind of a given that it shouldn’t be part of your daily diet. But, what you might not know is why exactly that is. Yes, there’s some protein and vitamins, but there are also some much more concerning components that make this concoction so unique. Despite having only 6 ingredients, which doesn’t sound so scary after all, the amount of salt and fat is rather questionable and, let’s be honest, quite scary. You might be one of those people who grew up eating SPAM every day just for the heck of it or because you truly enjoyed the taste. But, did you know that in one single can of SPAM, lurks a whopping 96 grams of fat? In one can. And that’s not all! With over 4 grams of sodium, it’s more than twice the daily recommended sodium intake. Ouch, that’s a lot of bags of chips you got to say goodbye to if you want your precious slice of SPAM in the morning. Most people are just scared to approach or even touch a can of this eerie-looking processed meat because of what they think it’s made of when in reality, they should be more scared about the high chance of raising that blood pressure. But, if SPAM is your jam, just remember this: a can of SPAM a day will not keep the doctor away!
9. There’s A SPAM Museum
You’ve heard of the MET, the Louvres, and even the Big Mac Museum – well now get ready to live a whole new experience with the SPAM Museum! Yep, it’s a thing! If you happen to be passing by downtown Austin, Minnesota, why not pay a little visit to this amazing place that sounds like it’s right out of a whacky TV Show. Not only is it free, but you can visit over 9 galleries filled with interactive games, displays, with plenty of picture opportunities. For free. You don’t pay a cent. Well, minus the gas money you need to get there, but that’s beside the point. The website mentions this museum to be a trip for the history books… and for the cookbooks as well!. You can find everything from historical information on how the brand started and how SPAM came to be, to new and fun recipes to try at home. There are even exhibits where you can pack and seal your own can of SPAM! You can either fly solo and be your own tour guide or, if you want the full experience, you can tag along with one of their “SPAMbassadors”, who will show you the secrets and wonders of the museum. Oh, we did mention the museum was free, right? This just sounds like a premium type experience that you should have to pay for. But, no. It’s shockingly been opened for almost 20 years now, and despite having moved locations in the past, the SPAM Museum is still thriving, now more than ever. This just proves that really anything is possible these days, anything. Even a Museum for canned meat. What a great time to be alive!
8. Gordon Ramsay Hates SPAM (Like REALLY Hates It)
It should come as no surprise that one of the greatest and, let’s be honest, crudest chefs on television would have a strong opinion on SPAM. I mean, it is a weirdly-colored ham after all. But despite having done some recipes with the alleged “pork” over the years, Gordon Ramsay has expressed his loathing and passionate hatred for SPAM on multiple occasions. On one episode of the former British show Hotel GB, Ramsay revealed what lead him to the kitchen. The answer? SPAM. He was tired of eating so much SPAM and junk all the time that he decided to become a chef to stop eating all of these “so-called” meals in a can. He also said that he used to eat SPAM every Friday night. Right out of the can. He said it was like eating a brick. Can we really blame him for wanting to stop this madness? And to think that canned meat was a big part of his decision that led him to being one of the most successful chefs ever. Of course, eating it straight out of a can might not be the fanciest or most gourmet way to eat SPAM, but then again, is there really a way to make this preserved meat look fancy? Perhaps. But if there was a way back then, the world might have never known the wonderful and colorful chef that is Gordon Ramsay.
7. SPAM On The Rocks, With A Twist, Please
Who doesn’t enjoy a nice, refreshing cocktail with friends during a night out on the town? And who doesn’t also enjoy a little snack to make things even better? Well, if that tiny olive in your Martini isn’t enough to satiate you, you might want to try – or not – the Spam Mai-Tai cocktail. Yes, there actually was someone brilliant enough to invent a SPAM cocktail. This is definitely a very interesting spin on SPAM, to say the least. To celebrate the first SPAM Restaurant Month (again, an actual thing), the Duck’s Inn came up with a new and original way to serve SPAM in a can. Because yes, it’s actually served in a SPAM can. Don’t worry; there’s not going to be big chunks of soggy meat randomly floating around in your glass; it’s actually an infused drink rather than a mixed drink. By cooking SPAM with lard and mixing it with two different types of rum and letting it sit overnight, the famous Mai Thai becomes a saltier and meatier version of its usual tropical self. They then add some pineapple juice and lime juice to take away a bit of the strong pork flavor. Oh, how yummy sounding. Now, while this isn’t your traditional go-to drink for your Friday night out, it’s still… interesting to know it exists, right? The perfect addition if you’re having a good old can of spam as an entree, just be sure not to mix up the cans. Cheers!
6. What It Actually Stands For
Turns out, the mystery of SPAM doesn’t only reside in what it’s made of, but also in what the name actually stands for. You might have heard some different guesses as to what the initials stand for like: “Specially Processed American Meat,” “Something Posing As Meat,” or even, the most ridiculous of all, “Slimy Processed Anemic Mucus,” which all sound, somewhat accurate, to an extent, but funny enough, no one actually knows the real answer. According to Hormel, the company which produces SPAM, the brother of one of the executives came up with the name during a contest in which he won $100 as a reward. Apparently, the name derived from “spiced ham.” Despite this “revelation,” there is still a ton of speculation surrounding the significance of the name. Probably because it’s more fun making up your own creations than settling on some boringly obvious answer that has to do with actual ham. There’s even a joke on the company’s website in which it states that the real answer is only known by a very small circle of former Hormel Foods executives. And probably Nostradamus. Maybe, some things are better left unknown. Like if the name actually has a connection to the Processed Anemic one, we’re probably better left in the dark on that one!
5. There Was A SPAM Mascot
Like every good sports team or restaurant chain, SPAM also had its very own mascot, cheering on their brand! Only this particular mascot wasn’t cheering for their team to score or for kids to eat more Happy Meals, but rather for the American Troops during World War II. Slammin’ Spammy was a ” gun-toting, bomb-hurling, angry-faced pig” that was introduced by Hormel during the War to help support the Armed Forces during tough times, and he was literally everywhere. You could see him on clothing and on bombers. What a nice way to show your support! He was also a symbol of how SPAM helped feed the soldiers and became one of their main food sources. SPAM was also used as grease to lubricate their guns and waterproof their boots. Talk about a multiusage treat. Over 150 million pounds of SPAM was used in the war effort, and Slammin’ Spammy became the face of the brand. Look at that determination! To celebrate its 75th anniversary, SPAM came out with a brand new mascot, Sir Can-A-Lot, “a loveable character here to rescue the world from routine meals.” Definitely a more harmless and innocent looking mascot, that’s for sure.
4. It’s Produced Like… A Lot
If you’re not a fan of SPAM, it must be hard to imagine why some people eat it. Heck, even people who do eat it sometimes wonder why. But despite its seemingly wide unpopularity, SPAM is still being produced a lot. Like at a ridiculously high rate. Around 44,000 cans are produced every hour, which rounds up around 33,000 pounds of the canned meat. Since its first introduction in 1937, over 8 billion cans have been sold worldwide. That’s a whole lot of something that’s not even loved by half of the population. It’s also sold in over 40 countries, so I guess we’re not the only ones to consider when talking about its popularity. Another fun little fact is that just over 12.8 cans of SPAM are eaten every second. Every second. That adds up to a whopping 800 cans a minute, 1 million a day, and 400 million per year. So, before going around and claiming that “no one likes this stuff,” think about all of the numbers just listed. Think about all the people who are gobbling down SPAM on a daily basis for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s gotta set the record straight! It’s not going to change how it tastes, but it sure does highlight its popularity.
3. Email or SPAM?
We’ve already somewhat cleared the air on why SPAM was named SPAM, but, have you ever wondered why your junk mail is also called spam? Well, there’s a funny little story behind that one, and it’s way less murky than the original one. Once upon a time, the canned meat made an appearance in a notorious Monty Python sketch, and it turned SPAM into not only a pop culture icon but also into the term referencing your unwanted mail. You could say that birds of a feather flock together since SPAM is, well, kind of one of the most unwanted meats out there. Sorry SPAM lovers, it’s just a fact. This all happened due to a very distinct moment in the skit when a group of Vikings loudly chants ‘SPAM, SPAM, SPAM…’ in an increasing crescendo, which drowns out the other conversations happening – just like when your inbox floods with junk emails and drowns out the normal course of the Internet. Basically, the annoyance brought on by the excessive use of the word SPAM reminded people of the repetitive, useless emails they would get over and over. It could also be because people were getting sick and tired of seeing SPAM in every single meal and connected it with the other type of spam. Either way, SPAM is now forever associated with those annoying chain emails that you can’t seem to escape from and the countless cruises to the Bahamas you’ve won over the years. Ah, SPAM, always the butt of the joke, aren’t you?
2. A Radio Star
Not only is SPAM in your grocery store, on your TV and, sometimes, the star of some very disturbing childhood nightmares, but it was also once found in one of the most unexpected places ever: in your car! Or rather on the radio inside your car, but it’s all relative. The Hormel Girls were an all-girl band of 60 members, dressed in military-style, hired after World War II to promote Hormel’s products to a peacetime audience and create jobs for women Veterans. They would travel around the country, singing and performing while advertising SPAM – a dream job, basically – promoting SPAM for a living. The band eventually got their own radio show, Music With The Hormel Girls, which became quite successful. It was even a top-rated weekend show on at least three different radio networks. It would air on Sunday nights, and they played popular tunes, read poems, and sang songs. While they didn’t sing about SPAM, they did push the product to the masses and helped sales skyrocket. They basically sold America on SPAM with their charm and enchanting voices. The Hormel Girls are now considered an early symbol of the independent woman and a true Minnesota treasure. Just like SPAM, sort of.
1. It Can Save Entire Nations
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no! It’s a can of SPAM! Whether it’s because you forgot to go grocery shopping or because you’re too impatient to wait for your meat to defrost, a good old can of SPAM is always ready – probably sitting in the dark corner of your pantry, collecting dust. But, hey, it’s still there – ready to swoop in to save the day like Superman! Back in the day, after World War II, SPAM came to the rescue of many starving people, like the people of Hawaii for instance. The U.S. government had placed restrictions on Hawaii’s deep-sea fishing industry, which meant islanders were no longer allowed to fish, resulting in the loss of one of the most important sources of protein they had. Cue SPAM. Without this gem of a can, the economy probably would’ve collapsed and left the people of Hawaii starving. Countries like Japan and South Korea have also been saved from starvation by the almighty SPAM and have since kept the product as part of their daily eating habits. Even today, Hawaii is still grateful for this canned gift and has become the largest market for SPAM worldwide! Just in Hawaii alone, around 7 million cans are consumed every year and SPAM has sort of became the unofficial national dish! You can literally find the stuff everywhere. From sushi restaurants to McDonald’s, SPAM has truly become a staple of Hawaiin cuisine.