In the 1930s, Jay Hormel noticed that there was some perfectly good, though not necessarily desirable, pork-shoulder meat going to waste in his meat-packing plant. So he, being the entrepreneur that he was, came up with the idea of processing that meat with a little ham and squeezing it into a can and selling it as an affordable meat product under the Hormel brand as Spam.
It was very popular. During WW II Spam became a fixture in the canned K-rations for GIs. By the end of the war the military and purchased had shipped 150 million pounds of Spam. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, recalling the Nazi bombing blitz of England, spoke of Spam as a "wartime delicacy."
You would think that Spam was the food of last resort. Something you ate because you had nothing else to eat… but I remember my mother frying it up and serving it as breakfast meat or for sandwiches. And in all honesty, I liked it. I suspect there are many in this room who remember eating Spam and being grateful for it. Apparently there are several people who still love a good can of Spam because Hormel claims they sell 100 million cans a year.
I guess, despite liking it, I always thought it was poor-folk-food...if you couldn’t afford ham, you ate Spam.
The U.S.D.A has eight grades of beef: USDA Prime; Choice; Select; Standard; Commercial; Utility; Cutter; and Canner. The grades of cutter and canned are what is left that is used to make ground-beef, processed and canned meats. If pork were graded like beef, Spam would be made from the Cutter and Canner meat grades.
No, Spam is not spiral-cut, Honey-Baked Ham. However, if you are hungry, Spam is good and maybe a god-send.
Our story today may be thought of as something of a Spam story. It is a story about a time when a can of Spam would have been a mouth-watering, culinary delight.
(From a sermon by Monty Newton, Spam, 6/7/2010)
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