Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam!

May 16, 2017

If historians were to pick ONE significant event from each year in history what would the most important from 1891 be? The formation of the US Forest Service? No. The opening of Carnegie Hall? Definitely not. The patent of corkboard? Not even close.

spam and beansNo the most significant event of 1891 was when, on May 16th, George Hormel opened a small butcher shop in Austin, Minnesota and introduced the world to… SPAM!

What was significant about the product is that it took pork and ham and cooked it in its own container thus giving it a rather long shelf life. Oh that innovative George Hormel!

Since its creation Spam has become a ubiquitous part of pop culture and the worldwide psyche. It’s eaten throughout the world but especially in Great Britain and also in the Philippines. In the United States more Spam is eaten in Hawaii than in any other state. From the infallible Wikipedia:

“Spam is especially popular in the state of Hawaii, where residents have the highest per capita consumption in the United States. Its perception there is very different from on the mainland.SPAM the Hawaiian Steak

A popular native sushi dish in Hawaii is Spam musubi, where cooked Spam is placed atop rice and wrapped in a band of nori. Varieties of Spam are found in Hawaii that are unavailable in other markets, including Honey Spam, Spam with Bacon, and Hot and Spicy Spam.

Hawaiian Burger King Restaurants began serving Spam in 2007 to compete with the local McDonald’s chains.  In Hawaii, Spam is so popular that it is sometimes referred to as ‘The Hawaiian Steak’.”

My exhaustive research uncovered the existence of a SPAM museum in Austin, Minnesota. Putting that on my bucket list!

Highlighted in a variety of movies and TV shows, SPAM was immortalized in pop culture by the comedic troupe Monty Python.  And, of course, it’s the term which has become synonymous with junk mail. More from Wikipedia:

“Spam was featured in an iconic 1970 Monty Python sketch called ‘Spam’. Set in a café which only served dishes containing Spam, including ‘Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam and Spam’, the piece also featured a companion song. By the 1990’s, Spam’s perceived ubiquity led to its name being adopted for unsolicited electronic messages, especially spam email.”

Be sure to check out these two links to learn more about Spam!

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