Sunday, February 8, 2009

Spam! Spam! Spammety! Spam!

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...

7 comments:

Off Grid Survival said...

Seems like spam is making a huge comeback, everywhere I look I find a new article about spam, and how they are one of the few companies making a profit.

fuzzys dad said...

My wife calls it Stuff Posing As Meat. I like it cut about a 1/2 in.thick fried with onion,pickle and onions.

OrangeNeckInNY said...

Like I said to Jeff at Alphecca, Spam strips in a bowl of Ramen with iceberg lettuce blanched in the hot Ramen broth is freaking awesome. If you read the ingredients on a can of Spam, there's no artificial ingredients.

sanjac said...

I like the reduced sodium Spam, just don't buy the one with both reduced fat and salt, it doesn't fry up or taste as good. You can use it a lot of different ways but I can only eat it a few times a month before getting burned out on it.

The Hermit said...

I've always liked Spam. I make sandwiches out of it with spicy mustard and onion. Or I fry it with eggs.

Roxie said...

And here I figured you would be trashing people who send junk emails!

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid in the late '40s, my Mom would fry it for us with brown sugar and crushed pineapple. I need to add it to my shopping list.

OldeForce