WW2 Spam Remembered

The Palm Springs Air Museum hosted a presentation Saturday recognizing the canned meat product’s contribution to the Allied effort during WWII, with a DVD documentary, recipes and samples of Spam’s relatively new low-sodium version.

The event was the brainchild of Harold Willliamson, the air museum’s former president who looked for ways to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Allied victory.
“A hundred million pounds of Spam were shipped overseas during the war, and it was one of the key impacts on the home front in support of the troops,” he said Saturday.
Many U.S. troops became all too familiar with the canned Hormel pork product, packaged in durable and easy to ship rectangular cans. So much so that, at times many of them found they couldn’t bear to eat another bite.
Others, though, couldn’t get enough.
“We never had enough of it for it to really become a problem,” said Bob McKee, a Palm Springs resident and docent at the museum who fought in the Pacific theater.
He said he was more often fed frozen mutton and other sheep products that came from New Zealand and Australia wrapped in giant burlap bags.
“I couldn’t even stand to look at that stuff,” he said, talking about the mutton.
Spam became a major protein source for the British, and Soviet Union Premier Nikita Kruschev said it saved the Russian Army.
It became a staple for other populations as well.
Author Anke Otto Wolf, appearing at a book fair held Saturday in the same hangar as the Spam exhibit, broke into Williamson’s speech to add, “Spam saved my life.”
She explained that she was born in Berlin before the war, and after German dictator Adolf Hitler’s regime collapsed, Allied troops fed Spam to her family and other Germans.
“I didn’t think about that story until I heard Spam was going to be here today,” she said.
It was also introduced to locals in Hawaii and the rest of the South Pacific during the war, and remains a vital part of the regional diet today.
Air museum Education Director Greg Kenny pointed out it was among the supplies taken to the disabled Carnival Cruise ship that had to be towed back to San Diego last month.
Ken Woodward, a Korean War and World War II veteran who watched the presentation, said there are many groups it could be valuable for today.
It’s made inroads into South Korea, he noted, “and the North Koreans should have it, because they’re starving up there because of that dictator they have.
“That’s part of the difference between democracy and dictatorship.”


Spamghetti Carbonara

An “Exotic” SPAM ® Recipe

1 1/2 lbs spaghetti
4 eggs, slightly beaten (fresh or dried)
12-oz can SPAM, cubed 1/4″
1/2 cups grated cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp oil
ground pepper
3 tbsp margarine

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in skillet cook SPAM® and onion in oil and butter over medium heat until lightly browned. Set aside. When spaghetti is cooked, drain; return to pot. Add egs; toss to combine. Add SPAM mixture, cheese and parsley; toss to combine. Season to taste with pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 6.


SPAM® Upside Down Pie

More Spam………..

Festive! Fun to Make!

SPAM® Upside Down Pie
SPAM® Upside Down Pie

Another recipe that was first published in LIFE magazine in 1945.

 According to writer Marguerite Patten in ‘Spam – The Cookbook’, the name was suggested by Kenneth Daigneau, an actor and the brother of a Hormel vice president, who was given a $100 prize for creating the name. At one time and persisting to this day in certain books, the theory behind the nomenclature of Spam was that the name was a portmanteau of “Spiced Meat and Ham”.
According to the British documentary-reality show “1940s House”, when Spam was offered by the United States to those affected by World War II in the UK, Spam stood for Specially Processed American Meats. Yesterday’s Britain, a popular history published by Reader’s Digest in 1998, unpacks Spam as “Supply Pressed American Meat” and describes it as an imported “wartime food” of the 1940s.Many jocular backronyms have been devised, such as “Something Posing As Meat”, “Specially Processed Artificial Meat”, “Stuff, Pork and Ham”, “Spare Parts Animal Meat” and “Special Product of Austin Minnesota”.
And yet more SPAM, SPAM, SPAM SPAM and SPAM………..

Before the internet became commercialised and unsolicited commercial e-mail was sent the name spam was given to sending the same mail several times for no good reason. This was because of the Monty Python ‘spam,spam,spam’ sketch.




SPAM &#174 Fritters

Yet more SPAM!!

These were a family favourite when I was young, wonder what they taste like now?

SPAM Fritters
SPAM Fritters

Ingredients – 340g/12oz SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham.
Oil for frying or deep frying.
Batter: 125g/4oz (1 cup) Plain flour Pinch of salt 1 Large egg 125ml/4 fl oz (half cup) Milk, or milk and water, or water, or beer.



Method – Mix together all the batter ingredients in a bowl. The mixture should be thick, in the proportions given above, in order to coat the SPAM® well. Cut the SPAM® into 8 slices.
Meanwhile, heat 2-3 tablespoons oil in a frying pan or wok, or heat a depth of oil in a deep-fryer to 170oC/340oF or until a cube of day-old bread turns golden in 1 minute.
Coat the SPAM® slices once or twice with the batter then drop them into the hot oil. If shallow frying allow 2-3 minutes on each side; if deep frying allow a total cooking time of 3-4 minutes, turning over the fritters as required.


WWII Spam® and Egg Sandwich

 More SPAM
    1 tablespoon butter
    2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
    1 slice fully cooked Spam
    1 egg, beaten
    2 slices bread
    1 slice cheddar cheese (optional)
    1 slice tomato (optional)

   Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion  in butter until soft. Mash up the slice of luncheon meat with a fork, and add it to the skillet. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until browned. Pour the egg into the skillet so that it covers all of the meat and onion. Cook until firm,then flip to brown the other side.

   Place the egg and meat onto one slice of the bread and top with cheese and tomato if desired. Place the other piece of bread on top. Bread can also be toasted first if desired.


Planked SPAM ®

SPAM 1945
Planked SPAM - 1945

Right on the beam … Planked Spam

Score a whole Spam and rub with brown sugar. Surround it on the plank with tomato slices, capped with large mushrooms doused in butter. Bake 25 minutes in  hot oven, then ring with mashed potato and slip back into the oven for quick browning. Bring to the table, plank and all… and be greeted with cheers.



Introduced on July 5, 1937, the name “Spam” was chosen when the product, whose original name was far less memorable (Hormel Spiced Ham), began to lose market share. The name was chosen from multiple entries in a naming contest. A Hormel official once stated that the original meaning of the name Spam was “Shoulder of Pork and Ham”. According to writer Marguerite Patten in Spam –The Cookbook, the name was suggested by Kenneth Daigneau, an actor and the brother of a Hormel vice president, who was given a $100 prize for coming up with the name. At one time, the official explanation may have been that the name was a syllabic abbreviation of “Spiced Ham”. Many jocular acronyms have been devised, such as “Something Posing As Meat”, “Stuff, Pork and Ham” and “Spare Parts Animal Meat.”


Spam was imported into the United Kingdom during the war and remained a mainstay of the British diet for some time.  I can remember my mother serving “Spam Fritters” for dinner. for sometime I was led to believe that the name stood for Specially Processed American Meat, but perhaps not! 😕

A Spam advertisement on back cover of Time magazine on May 14, 1945. As of 2003, Spam is sold in 41 countries worldwide. The largest consumers of Spam are the United States, the United Kingdom and South Korea.

SPAM 1945
SPAM 1945

Spam again
Spam again