Surviving Student Life: Cooking with SPAM

Mmmmm … SPAM with “real bacon”. Photo: JeepersMedia/flickr

 

by Evander L. C. Martinez

 

As a TAFE student, it can be hard to find the time to cook for yourself, let alone other people, what with studies and work stealing most of your day. This is a common problem; Hungry TAFE student wanders into the kitchen and finds it full of wonderful ingredients and possibilities but there’s nothing to cook.

“I’m a not a chef. I don’t know what to do with all these ingredients”, says your already over-worked brain on an average class day.

Well worry no more talking brain, this can all be fixed with one simple four-letter word… and that word is SPAM. Simply add SPAM to your life then, ZIM-ZAM-ALAKA-SPAM and BAM your cooking woes will disappear.

Now If like me, you can’t enjoy eating something without knowing absolutely everything about it first. I’m going to save you some time (because you’re a TAFE student with no time to do anything but read articles about SPAM all day) and give you a brief history on SPAM. Then when you start feeling a little inspired give you a few quick and simple recipes you can try at home.

SPAM Facts

SPAM was first introduced in 1937 by the Hormel Foods Corporation. The pre-cooked meat was named by Ken Diagneau, brother of Hormel Foods vice president and winner of the $100 contest held to name the new product.

There has been much speculation over the meaning of the SPAM brand name. While many believe the brand name is short for ‘spiced ham’, others theorize that it is in fact an abbreviation of either ‘Special Processed American Meat’ or possibly ‘Shoulders of Pork And Ham’, which is actually the core ingredient for the canned meat. Although all seem plausible, the real meaning behind the brand name “is known by only a small circle of former Hormel Foods executives”, as stated on the SPAM website.

During World War II, SPAM became very popular amongst those fighting in the war as a long-lasting luncheon with over one hundred million pounds (more than 450 kg) of the product being shipped overseas to feed allied troops. After the war, SPAM and the Hormel brand became so popular in America that it was considered patriotic to always have a SPAM in the kitchen. SPAM became so popular that they sung songs about it. Comprising of over 60 members, the SPAM-specifc Hormel Girls traveled around the country promoting the already beloved canned product. To this day more than seven billion cans of SPAM products have been produced.

Now that you’re well-educated in the history of SPAM, you can start enjoying the joys of cooking SPAM. Here are some simple recipes that can be done at home and on a budget.

Simple SPAM Recipes

SPAM and Scrambled Eggs

A simple recipe for the morning. Sound SPAM-ilier.

Ingredients

  • SPAM Classic, cubed
  • vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • spring onions, chopped
  • chives, chopped

Directions

  1. Whisk three eggs together in a small bowl. Add a splash of milk and continue whisking until properly combined.
  2. Pour the mixture in a greased pan on a medium-high heat. Pulling the egg edges into the middle allow all of the mixture to come into contact with the pan.
  3. Once the egg is almost cooked, add the cubed SPAM pieces onto the pan and lower the heat to medium. Stir together the mixture until the SPAM is thoroughly heated. Garnish with spring onions and chives.
  4. Serve in a small bowl and Enjoy.

SPAM BLAT Sandwich

One of my favourite recipes for lunch. It’s simply SPAM-mazing.

Ingredients

  • SPAM Classic or SPAM with Bacon (if possible)
  • 2 slices of wholemeal bread, toasted
  • iceberg lettuce,washed
  • 1/2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed and mixed with 1/2 a lime and a pinch of salt.
  • canola oil
  • mayonaise

Directions

  1. On a lightly-oiled heated pan, fry two slices of SPAM until it’s golden/maroon and crispy on both sides. Keep them on paper towels when cooked.
  2. Spread some mayonnaise on top of both slices of bread. Then start layering.
  3. First the lettuce, then the tomato, then the SPAM and lastly spread the avocado mixture on the top slice of bread and then add to the stack. Finally, cut the stack in half.
  4. Serve on a plate and enjoy.

SPAM Fried Rice

A meal that can be prepared anytime and by anyone. This recipe is also great for multiple people to enjoy. This one is a SPAM dunk.

Ingredients

  • SPAM Classic or literally anything from the SPAM range.
  • vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • rice, cooked and cooled
  • carrots, cubed
  • spring onions, chopped
  • frozen peas, thawed
  • soy sauce

Directions

  1. Scramble three eggs into a wok/pan that has at least 1/2 a tsp of vegetable oil on a medium-high heat.  When cooked place in a small bowl for later.
  2. Add another 1/2 tsp of oil to the wok/pan and throw in the onion, garlic and SPAM. Continue to cook on a medium-high heat. Once SPAM is golden and crispy, add in the peas and carrots.
  3. Add the rice to the wok/pan and combine all the ingredients. Throw the egg back into the wok/pan while also adding a pinch of salt, pepper and a small splash of  soy sauce. Combine all the ingredients.
  4. Once done, turn off the wok/pan, serve in a bowl and enjoy.

If you’ve tried out some of these simple recipes but still want more SPAM in your life, visit the official SPAM website at www.spam.com. There you’ll find more SPAM-tastic recipes, more in-depth information about SPAM and even some SPAM merchandise.

As a TAFE student, there isn’t always enough time or money to cook over-complicated meals but with SPAM you can cook simple and SPAM-ilicious meals without ever having to worry about spending too much on the groceries. You can make heavy meals that are light on your wallet.

Price Comparisons

  • Franklins – $2.89/200g, $3.44/340g
  • Woolworth’s – $3.35/200g, $4.69/340g
  • COLES – $3.63/200g, $5.09/340g

Until next time. Have a SPAM-nominal day.

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