Tonight on the national news, there was a segment about how Spam sales have really picked up. Of course, the commentator and Hormel spokesperson both joked (snort inserted here, followed by the credit card commercial ha-haa-haa-haa-haa here) that this was not about the computer type of e-mail crapola we receive in massive amounts on a regular basis.
During times of tough economic times, Spam sales certainly do rise. This entry is not intended to make light of the current financial situation, but to call out that the current Spam is not your mother's Spam :o)
Spam is a canned precooked meat product made by the Hormel Foods Corporation. The labeled ingredients in the classic variety of Spam are: chopped pork shoulder meat with ham meat added, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrite to help keep its color. Spam's gelatinous glaze, or aspic, forms from the cooling of meat stock. The product has become part of many jokes and urban legends about mystery meat, which has made it part of pop culture and folklore.
Introduced on July 5, 1937, the name "Spam" was chosen when the product, whose original name was far less memorable (Hormel Spiced Ham), began to lose market share. The name was chosen from multiple entries in a naming contest. A Hormel official once stated that the original meaning of the name Spam was "Shoulder of Pork and Ham".
There are several different flavors of Spam, including:
Spam Classic - original flavor
Spam Hot & Spicy - with Tabasco flavor
Spam Less Sodium - "25% less sodium"
Spam Lite - "33% less calories and 50% less fat"
Spam Oven Roasted Turkey
Spam Hickory Smoke flavor
Spam Spread - "if you're a spreader, not a slicer...like Spam Classic, but in a spreadable form"
Spam with Bacon
Spam with Cheese
Spam Golden Honey Grail - a limited-release special flavor made in honor of Monty Python's SPAMALOT Broadway musical
In addition to flavor, some of the tins come in smaller sizes than normal. A more popular option is the 7oz size can. Recently, "Spam Singles" have been produced: a single sandwich-sized slice of Spam (Classic or Lite), wrapped in plastic instead of a metal container.
Of course, if we are going to head down the Spam trail, we should make sure we understand the nutritional facts (or should I say risks?). A 56 gram (approximately 2 ounce) serving of original Spam provides seven grams of protein, two grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of fat (23% US Daily Value) including 6 grams of saturated fat (28% US Daily Value), and over 170 calories. A serving also contains nearly a third of the recommended daily intake of sodium (salt). A 56 gram package of spam contains 4.7 grams of salt, indicating slightly over 8% of Spam's mass is salt. Spam provides very little in terms of vitamins and minerals (0% vitamin A, 1% vitamin C , 1% calcium, 3% iron). It has been listed as a food that is a poor choice for weight loss and optimum health and as a food that "is high in saturated fat and sodium".
To see what types of tasty meals can be made with Spam, you can always go to a Spam Recipe site.
And what Spam entry would be complete with out the Monty Python classic ???