Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spam Nation

Spam, lovely Spam. This will appeal to the Gmail elves who never fail to put Spam recipes at the top of my Spam filter, which is amusing but also faintly revolting.

Now in 1972, you could have your choice of three delicious Spam varieties, matched to your proclivities and your personality, almost. Sort of like a culinary Rorschach test!

1. Regular, Boring Spam: "Don't worry," says the ad copy, we still make it plain. Gusty sighs of relief heard all over the land.

2. Smoke Flavored Spam: "If you like meat cooked outdoors on the grill, you'll love this loaf." Oh, right. And once we're done pretending to barbecue, I have a very nice bridge in Brooklyn that I'm selling cheap! PS: Calling this a "loaf" is not the best way to evoke the thought of grilled delicacies.

3. Hmmmm, yummy! Even the name is appealing...Spam With Cheese Chunks: They were just warming up with that "loaf" business. This is sheer poetry! "Like the taste of a ham-and-cheese sandwich? Then try this. It's quicker, thriftier, too. You get SPAM's good juicy meat with little nuggets of cheese built in."

That's the way to get people to buy it - make the product sound like a home-improvement project. Built-in bookcases, built-in chunks of fake cheese. Furthermore, if slapping ham and cheese on bread is too time-consuming for you, Spam is not going to improve your life.

It won't anyway.

This is from a 1972 Good Housekeeping Timesaving Cookbook, which seems to be a special edition of the magazine. The ads all stick to the general theme suggested in the title, so you can imagine the level of the cuisine.

29 comments:

Me-Me King said...

I don't know what's in Spam nor to I much care. One of my favorite sandwiches is fried Spam with cheddar cheese and mayo. Yummy!

Head Bitch in Charge said...

HA! Funnt, I love your commentary :D

Erica said...

Spam with CHEESE CHUNKS? Be still my fibrillating heart.

Like Me-Me King, I use Spam to make grilled cheese-n-meat sandwiches (mostly for the kids)... but I prefer them to start out life in their own separate containers for some reason.

Tori Lennox said...

I used to like plain old boring regular Spam, though I haven't had it in years. Spam with Cheese Chunks sounds kind of off-putting, however.

David said...

Spam with cheese chunks sounds like someone had too much to drink and hurled it out.

Yuck.

tahtimbo said...

I'm with Me-Me King, I like my spam fried, but I like mustard and mayo on mine. I've tried the smoked flavor and I really didn't like it. As for the Spam with cheese chunks...never heard of that one and I for one would not try it. Now, if I can only get that Monty Python song out of my head...

Heather Cherry said...

LOL at the gmail elves!

Bill said...

Spam, egg, sausage & Spam. Spam, Spam, bacon & Spam. Spam & eggs.

My grandmother, a good cook & even better baker, went through a weird Spam phase when she was in her early 90's. My cousins still talk about it in hushed tones.

Lola said...

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

Regular spam for me. Fried and served with scrambled eggs.

Lidian said...

Me-Me - I have actually ever had Spam, so have no idea (which of course never ever stops me from going on about something...)

HBIC - Thank you! I must go check out your blog ASAP, with a name like yours I think I will love it! :)

Erica - It was the "built-in" thing that really got to me with the cheese.

Tori - I think it may not have been one of their best-sellers.

David - Yeah, it kind of does! I can see that happening, too.

tahtimbo - I almost posted the Monty Python clip, you know...

Heather - I think they must be elves! Or possibly Orcs.

Bill - I must post some stuff from my Spork cookbook, it is like Spam only, I think, scarier. But lots of fun! :)

Amy said...

Oh my! I tried spam once and it was revolting process meat, if you can call it that, I just can't imagine wanting to try the different flavours. I wonder why it was so popular back then? And the email elves sending you spam recipe emails? wow they are getting imaginative aren't they? Normally I just get the viagra ones etc or the ones from princes and royal families about transferring money etc.

Eric said...

Gahhk, Spam filled with Velveeta-y pieces??? Bleh, reminds me of the spin off hotdogs with the same stuff and the gum that squirted juice. I think I'll go be sick now, haha.

Lidian said...

Lola - I really am going to have to try Spam one of these days!

Amy - Oh, I just meant the recipes up at the top of the Gmail Spam mail folder...but I do get some awfully strange spam as well!

Eric - I remember that gum, and my mother (who was very anti-Spam) loved it! In fact I think I saw it for sale up here in Ontario in the last year. And also they make a new kind called Splash, which I hear from my kids is not bad.

I have not partaken though. The gum said in its hundred voices, no, not you. And I replied no, not there.

Mason said...

Your writing was particularly entertaining on this one. It's been a very long time since I ate SPAM and the memories are vague. Your post reminds me why I have put it out of my mind!

Hairball said...

"Furthermore, if slapping ham and cheese on bread is too time-consuming for you, Spam is not going to improve your life."

*clap clap*
I feel the same way about those frozen PB&J sandwiches.

marsha said...

And just when I thought Spam couldn't be any less appealing. Loaf? Chunks? Bleck!

Lidian said...

Mason - I hadn't thought of Spam for a long time either; it put me in mind of a long-ago ex who told me, after I expressed my disdain for all things Spammy, how much he loved it and how his mother made many delicious things with Spam (thought whether with chunks or not I did not ask).

As you might imagine, this relationship went downhill from there. I enjoy blaming the Spam, actually.

Hairball - Oh my stars, I didn't know about those! I do know about the slice and bake cookies that are pre-sliced, in case you can't take the tube of dough and cut it up yourself, because you are too frantically busy, a la Bridget Jones (who wrote to Daniel Cleaver, to entice him, "Shut up, I am very busy and important.")

marsha - Yes, that copywriter was on fire, wasn't he?

Grace said...

Definitely plain ole boring spam. They do have a low-sodium one now too. Slice it, dust it with flour, fry in butter - I like it crispy. Please do not tell anyone I like Spam. My father would turn over in his grave if he knew I ate it!

Alicia aka "Fashiona" said...

I feel my arteries slamming shut just reading about it.

Meghann said...

Oh geez, can I throw up now??

Lidian said...

Alicia - Yes indeed :)

Meghann - Why yes, you may. I may, too.

Shay said...

Three ways to be revolted?

The Exaggerator said...

I happen to come myself from the general region of Minnesota (Austin, to be exact) where SPAM is produced.

And from what I have seen, they still make "the Old Reliable" and Smoke-Flavoured SPAM (the one with cheese chunks seems to be no longer available) ... as well as SPAM Lite, which is made with turkey meat and has some 40% less fat than the original recipe (or what passes for it).

And how many of you still recall the Monty Python routine?

Lidian said...

Shay - Yes, quite.

Exaggerator - I remember the MP routine extremely well, in fact as a teen I memorized it and several others!

Maria said...

That's what I wanted for dinner tonight: Spam with Cheese Chunks and radishes! Why isn't this made anymore?

I used to have an empty can of Smoke Flavored Spam. I don't remember eating it, so my sister and father must have been the consumers. The can was vaguely exotic. It kind of evoked an exciting Indiana Jones-like scene. It seemed to suggest that the person preparing the Spam had personally hunted and slayed each and every animal that went into the loaf and then continued to compress them into the little Spam square.

Lidian said...

Maria - Hey, that could be another sequel: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Spam!

Phyl said...

My brothers and I used to burst into the Vikings/Spam sketch at unexpected moments. When I was a fundie, going to a very large out-of-town Bible school, I taught it to all the girls as we stood in line in the huge dining hall, waiting for our lunchtime spam meals. Ah, good times, good times.

Don't know what the very righteous Dean of Women would have thought of our singing Monty Python songs at Bible school, though. Hm.

I seem to be free associating...

Lidian said...

Phyl - That does sound like great fun! I remember doing this routine/song too and thinking I was incredibly amusing - having watched MPFC every week at 10:30 pm on PBS, circa 1975-6.

Marcheline said...

Loaf! (As in pinch a) Chunks! (As in blowing)

It's not Spam, it's a frat party in a can!