The word, on the internet, is displayed as either SPAM or spam. Uppercase, it refers to the canned meat product. Lowercase, it refers to unsolicited e-mail messages or comments. Some people mix it up, but the company that makes SPAM wants us to emphasize the differences.
Now that I’ve done my duty, I want to talk about the popularity of the canned meat. Don’t worry, I’ll try not to be long-winded.
According to Wikipedia, SPAM is more popular in Hawaii than any of the other states in America. They even serve it at McDonald’s and Burger King. People in Hawaii can eat spam with every meal. I don’t remember it being that way when I lived on Kauai in the 1970s, but I’ve seen it with my own eyes while living on Oahu temporarily (since February 2019).
In developing countries, like the Philippines, SPAM is prohibitively expensive. One can of SPAM can cost a significant part of day’s pay. I don’t know how they manage it, but the Royal Subic store at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone has an entire row dedicated to it, as well as some cheaper knockoffs that don’t taste the same.
It’s imported from the United States, so we get all the flavors (hot and spicy, bacon, etc.). It’s rare, but I sometimes use the bacon-flavored one to replace bacon at breakfast. Of course, I rarely eat meat with breakfast but when I do, it’s either bacon or bacon-flavored SPAM.
Again, I don’t know how they manage it, but Royal Subic sells out of it all the time. I’ve gone in on occasions where only the cheap knockoffs were on display.
There’s a lot of fat in the original flavor. I suppose that’s why they came out with a “lite” version, which obviously means less fat. Only the original flavor follows the original recipe. I’ve seen things like chicken in the ingredients of the other flavors, combined with pork.
I try to avoid pork most of the time. The only standalone pieces I can usually stomach are ham and bacon. I don’t care for pork chops, unless they’re used in “pork adobo”. Josie, my wife, trims the fat from pork when she sees it because she knows I won’t eat it. My father-in-law (R.I.P.) used to love chewing the fat, literally. It didn’t matter to him if it was the fat from pork or the gristle from steak.
Animal meat has fat. It’s a fact and there’s nothing we can do about it except eat less of it. Despite what vegetarians and vegans may spout, human beings need some fats in their diets. We can argue what kind of fats, but animal fats have benefits that plant fats can’t match. It’s a proven fact that less fatty foods don’t tend to taste as good.
SPAM may not be good for me but if I only eat it once in a while, what’s the harm in that?
I’ll leave you with a YouTube video from Business Insider about the origin of spam. We can thank a Monty Python sketch for conflating it with the canned meat product in the first place.
Photo Attribution: Amazon.com
Edited and updated. Originally published in March 2016