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Hormel Spam America's Mystery Meat

Updated on August 23, 2018

Interesting facts about SPAM, made by Hormel

I started looking up facts about spam the food as a way to add to an email or post that was spam, the annoying commercials. I dig up an interesting or fun fact about spam, so that unwary clickers at least learn some trivia about spam. Usually it is well received and garners a smile or two.

SPAM has a dubious reputation among the American populace. Known as "mystery meat" since it looks very different than meat's normal shape and texture, along with a shine or glaze that doesn't normally exist in the natural world, and no need to be refrigerated like fresh meat.

Photo: (cc) Matthew W. Jackson

The creation (invention?) of SPAM

It's alive! ALIVE!

Spam was introduced in 1937 by Hormel foods. The name "Spam" was created by Ken Daigneau, who was the brother of a Hormel executive, winning $100. This translates to about $1,500 today.

The meaning of the word "Spam" is a closely guarded secret, known only to a select few Hormel executives, now retired. Some guesses are "Spiced Ham" and "Shoulders of Pork and Ham."

The ingredients of spam are Pork shoulder meat, with ham meat added (is that last part really necessary?), salt, water, potato starch (binder), sugar, and sodium nitrate. The wonderful SPAM glaze is called aspic, and forms when you cool the gelatinous ooze known only as "meat stock."

Spam in America

Like the Oscar-Mayer Weinermobile, Hormel has a motorized vehicle for promoting Spam, which I like to call the Mystery-Meat Machine, but is in fact called the Spammobile.

In 1963, spam was used as a cheap food for students in south Florida, but it was also used in art projects, because nothing says quality like a multi-use canned meat. Because of the popularity, Hormel introduced Spam cans featuring school colors.

Photo by: Brent Moore

Spam 6 pack flavors
Spam 6 pack flavors

Spam Flavors

Spam is available in many different flavors. If you are having spam for breakfast, try the bacon flavor, because if there is one thing spam doesn't have enough of, it's cholesterol.

Spam has even expanded past meat like food, into nuts, with SPAM flavored macadamia nuts.

Spam around the world

Spam has gotten really popular in Asia. Similar to hot dog vendors in the United States, you can buy spam as street side as well as fast food chain as a sandwich. Spam is served with rice in many other parts of Asia as well.

Spam is also sold deep friend in many places, including Hawaii, as masubi (rice and Nori seaweed). Spam is also deep fried and eaten in the United Kingdom.

I have a Philippine friend who, whenever he visits his homeland, must bring boxes and boxes of Spam for his family.

Photo by: Philbert Ono

Spam Parodies

In 2005, the musical Monty Python's Spamalot was released, featuring some of the original actor's from Monty Python's flying circus. It is a musical based on Monty Python And The Holy Grail.

In 1999, Weird Al released the album UHF: Weird Al Yankovic which featured the song "Spam" that parodied REM's "Stand."

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