IN 1945, THE WAR THAT wracked the world was finally over. American women who had served as military translators, typists and, even pilots suddenly found themselves out of a job. At the same time, the SPAM Man was trying to sell tinned pork.
Jay C. Hormel was the SPAM Man. Head of Hormel Foods, he was the canny heir to his father’s canned-meat business. Under him, the company introduced the smooth, spiced pork product known as SPAM right on the cusp of the Second World War. But there was a problem. By wartime’s end, 90 percent of Hormel’s inventory was shipped overseas, as food for American troops and allies. The company now needed to market wartime, tinned food to a peacetime audience.
I don’t know what the fuck is up with my sudden fascination with Spam. I mean, I ate it as a kid but not that often, and I still eat it occasionally but only fried Spam sandwiches. Matter of fact, I’ve got a few cans, along with other tinned meats, in my emergency stash. I neither hate it nor love it, unlike most of you folks. But have I ever said “You know what sounds really good right now? Spam.” Nope.
Hell, we didn’t even take Spam to the field with us when I was in the army. We took cases of Dinty Moore beef stew though, if that gives you any indication of how low our standards were. That shit’s nasty, but it was a break from C rations which only had 12 different choices, 9 of which were edible. Check this shit out: I ate some Cs a couple years after I got out, but I’ve yet to open another can of Dinty Moore.
But no, I don’t ever recall packing Spam to take with me. If I did, I probably brought it back, too.
I was in Walmart today with Lisa doing some shopping and found myself in the tinned meats aisle. Remembering that picture that I posted the other day of all the varieties of Spam in Hawaii supermarkets, I checked our selection of fine processed pork byproducts and discovered we only have 6 to choose from. I didn’t bother to check the flavors though, because to be honest with you I didn’t really give a flying fuck. It’s not like I was going to buy any, right?
Yeah man, I don’t know. Maybe it’s not a fascination of the product itself, but bewilderment that some folks love it so damned much it should be their official State Food.