Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Wonderful World of SPAM

Funny how now when people talk about Spam they're usually talking about something to do with junk mail.  How they got spammed by some site selling porn or Viagra or advising you that you've won the Nigerian lottery.   

Recently I have several several encounters with a SPAM of a different sort, the original spam as I would like to think of it, the luncheon meat made mostly of ham and discarded pork products.  

It was on my way to Vanessa's Dumpling House one night this week when I noticed a new Hot Pot place with a window filled with bright pink and orange cards in Chinese and English advertising the various kinds of hot pots available.  It was the SPAM one that caught my eye.  Sure I've seen SPAM on menus in many Vietnamese restaurants, which I assumed was a hold over from the war, as I always thought that SPAM was a standard ration, it kept well in it's cute tin container and was a cheap substitute for pate, which the earlier colonial powers, the French, had introduced years before.

Then I went into my local Chinese grocery store to buy some coconut milk and there before me were shelves upon shelves of SPAM and it's imitators!
It's not surprising there are several web sites dedicated SPAM,  which was first introduced in 1937. A lot of websites are dedicated to SPAM recipes and along the way there is some interesting SPAM trivia like apparently the name was a smash up of spiced and ham... 

lastly once out of the SPAM section of the grocery store I saw this bottle of Tendorizer which I fully expected to be MSG, so I was shocked to see that the only ingredient in this bottle was : Papaya Powder


Chris & Skip in AVL said...

Grew up eating lots of Spam, actually Mom bought Treat, the cheaper version. Mom's flight of fancy was Chef Boyardee spaghetti (the canned one) baked with rectangles of Treat on top (this was actually one of Lillian's few White Trash offerings, we had plain and healthy southern food otherwise.) My neighbors were Hawaiian and brought their Polynesian-Japanese clan's love of Spam with them. Three meals a week was spam-based. I LOVED eating at their house!

About Papaya powder. You probably know this but Papain (the chemical name) is known as the most effective meat tenderizer because it's similar to stomach digestive juices. It really works--in fact too well if you leave it on too long. )Fresh papaya makes a great marinade ingredient!) And we a little bottle of "meat tenderizer" to the beach we go to because there are usually so many jellyfish and papain "digests" the chemical in jellyfish stings.

Urban Food Guy said...

Hey boys so lovely to hear from you! Thanks for the tip about tenderizer at the beach! Who know? Well you did, but that's the first I've ever heard about it, I always thought you had to pee on jellyfish stings?

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