Sunday 16 March 2014

Cooking Crimes - In Defence of Spam

Somewhere out there in the last however many years, there's been plenty of foods that've fallen out of fashion; stuff that's ended up being ridiculed and things you'd almost be ashamed to admit you actually ate (and enjoyed).

So for want of a better cliche (and it is a terrible one), let's smash those myths apart - those apparent 'cooking crimes' in society and I'll be the first to hold my hand up high and admit that yep, we do eat things like Spam, Fray Bentos pies, value products and yes, when I make bread, 99% of the time I do use a breadmaker.

This month, I'm going to have a go at defending good old-fashioned Spam...

The offending item...

To start with, what actually is it? A quick once over at a tin of the stuff tells you it's 'chopped pork and ham' and legend says that the name supposed to stand for 'spiced pork and ham' (although I don't think it tastes particularly spicy). Interestingly enough it's actually gluten free and contains more meat than your average fancy sausage from your local supermarket - 90% meat in one tin whereas most sausages only contain around 70% meat (and even then, that's if you're lucky).
Spam was first launched in the late 1930's over in America and quickly caught on over here during the Second World War (more than likely arriving with the GI's along with nylons, Coca Cola and the Jitterbug). My Grandad always liked Spam sandwiches, Spam fritters and Scrambled Eggs and Spam which I'm sure stems back to World War II - he went out to Germany in 1945 to help with the recovery effort and somewhere along the line in the 40s, he obviously developed a love for it.
Spam kind of fell out of fashion in later years though (who can forget Monty Python's infamous Spam cafe sketch?) although over the last 10 years or so it's had a bit of a renaissance. Spam fritters are back on the menu and the company which owns Spam (Hormel Foods) even sponsored the launch of the Python musical, Spamalot.
We like Spam for it's versatility; if you keep a tin or two in your cupboard, you can use it in all sorts of dishes or in place of ham in recipes. Plus the tins keep for absolutely ages (the date on the ones in the shops now say Jan 2017) so you never have to worry about it going off and if we have some kind of major civil emergency, you always got Spam to hand! :-)

Our three favourite recipes using Spam are...
For breakfast - Scrambled Eggs and Spam

Scrambled Eggs and Spam
I used to cook this for my Grandad; my Grandma used to help me crack the eggs and mix it all together before I very proudly carried the tray in to serve him his breakfast.

For lunch - Spam Fritters

Spam Fritters
 You can't beat a good old Spam fritter; throw in some waffles and some baked beans and you've got yourself a darn good midday meal.

For dinner - Chicken and Ham Pie

Chicken and Ham Pie
This originally came from a Good Housekeeping recipe book but we just substitute the ham for Spam and it's still absolutely delicious. It makes six portions so you can easily stash some away in the freezer for a rainy day.

So there you have it, that's why we love Spam. Oh and please don't let the fat on the meat put you off - all you need to do is take the meat out of the tin and wash it off under running water. Then just dab it dry it with a bit of kitchen tissue and use however you wish!
All together now..."spam, spam, spam, spammity spam, spam, spam...."

Ps. this post isn't sponsored by Spam or anything, we just thought it was high time we came clean and admitted we're happy to eat almost anything! :-)


  1. Great post. Tinned ham was always a camping staple for us growing up and always a favourite, but completely underused in our kitchen now. I look forward to the rest of the series.

    1. Thanks Jenny! I think Spam is definitely an underused thing in the kitchen! :-) x

  2. Aaah Spam!! I haven't had this for YEARS but the meat content's much higher than I thought...and any food you can crack out in the event of a nuclear fallout is a winner in my book!
    (And Spam fritters?? Yes please!)
    M x Life Outside London

    1. Haha, absolutely - I know people always look down on Spam but when the meat content is higher than most sausages, you can't go wrong :-) xx

  3. I'm not sure if i've ever had spam ... hmmm I do like a good tin of canned ham that's for sure, although I don't have much love for corned beef that's true. I should probably grab some the next time we're food shopping and give it a try in my scrambled eggs, or even an omelette.

    1. Go for it! Scrambled Eggs and Spam is delicious! :-) xx


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