Many long years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we had not yet learned to hate and distrust every politician that drew breath, I was a callow youth in graduate school. Stipends were low and money was short. So I ate Spam. That...stuff...that comes in a can. The label on the can calls it "luncheon meat" and that seems to imply that it can be eaten cold. I may have been poor but I wasn't stupid, so I always cooked it up in a pan. Cooked it "well done" in fact. I did not then and do not now want to know exactly what is in the stuff, but "well done" certainly seemed to me to be the only way to go.
Time passed and money flowed somewhat more freely and the Days of Spam mercifully receded into memory. But then about a month ago I read an article reviewing some of the newer gourmet restaurants around the country. One creative young chef had begun to serve his discerning clientele, of all things, Spam. Sliced thin and grilled until crisp it was going over quite well apparently.
So when I next found myself in my usual grocery store I did something I once swore I would never do again: I put a can or two of Spam in my cart. (They even have flavors of the stuff now, like "Hickory Smoked.")
The secret to making Spam palatable, for me at least, is to slice it thin (no thicker than thick-cut bacon) and grill it on an iron skillet until it is crisp-- also like bacon. Then place it on a paper towel and blot the excess grease away. I almost refused to believe it: It was good. It was tasty, bacony, and not the least bit unpleasant. Savory, even. Oh, sure, it's not on the preferred list for a sensible diet, but as an occasional breakfast item I have done the unthinkable and started stocking it for the pantry. It has a shelf-life of a little over two years and that's a kind of bonus in these times I suppose.
So Spam is back on my pantry list after an absence of many years. I don't know whether that is a step forward or backward. Now I'm wondering how some crispy, crumbled bits would do in a spaghetti sauce...
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