Friday, July 5, 2013
July 5 - SPAM
On July 5, 1937, Hormel Foods of Austin, Minnesota, launched SPAM, a processed meat product in a can. It had been tried out in 1936 with little success as “Hormel Spiced Ham,” but a naming contest solved that problem. SPAM’s main ingredients are cooked pork shoulder meat, salt and water (with a preservative). The cooling of meat stock forms its gelatinous glaze, or aspic. Hormel wanted to make use of pork shoulder, which was thrown away because it’s too fatty for ham but not fatty enough for bacon. Near the end of the Depression, SPAM became popular at 10 cents a can, and it was a staple for American GIs overseas in World War II. Today it is very high in both saturated fat and sodium. It has acquired some unflattering “backronyms,” including "Something Posing As Meat" and "Spare Parts Animal Meat." The official website claims SPAM lasts forever in a sealed can ("it's like meat with a pause button"). It’s absurdly popular in Hawaii. And more cans of SPAM have been sold – now approaching 10 billion – than there are people on Earth.