Spam Spam Spam Spam- everybody loves Spam..


The last time I ate Spam (and it has only been once until today) it was not a memorable experience. Infact I seen to remember I wretched as it slithered out of the can..

All that changes when you are HUNGRY and when your food choices are limited so for the sake of authenticity I decided to open the can of SPAM in the cupboard (which I bought 6 weeks ago) and cook with it as any good housewife would have done in the 1940’s.

Would SPAM still be ikky? Could I physically eat the stuff given my inaugural exeperience? And what about the ethics?

Would SPAM still be ikky…?

Putting all this stuff aside the can of Spam was tentatively opened and true to previous form slithered out of the can and I cut two slices from the block of processed luncheon meat with its jiggly, jelly coating. Into a pan I placed a little butter and heated until hot, sprinkled the spam slices with a little thyme and pepper and placed into the pan and slowly browned the slices, turning once, over medium heat.

Once cooked they actually looked OK!

An even bigger surprise when I tasted the offensive article…it actually tasted pretty good! It was quite salty but  quite yummy and an ideal accompaniment for a plate of rather bland cauliflower and potatoes.

Now I can see how the 1940’s housewife sang it’s praises…

SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM everybody loves SPAM!


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70 thoughts on “Spam Spam Spam Spam- everybody loves Spam..

  1. My parents were refugee kids from WWII and spam was one of the staples around our house when I was a kid. I remember eating spam hash (spam chopped into cubes fried up with potatoes, onions, and peppers) Spam on rice, and spam burgers. I lived in Korea where it is often rolled up as a kind of sushi roll (called Kimbap) and you can buy it in beautiful gift boxes to give as hostess gifts there. Not the healthiest thing in the world considering its fat and salt content, but a fun addition to otherwise fat free meals.

  2. Gosh yes it seems like spam and corned beef were very popular during WWII so it makes me wonder where Spam got it’s bad press from…maybe people just got sick of the stuff?

    Mmmm- the hash sounds nice!

    Yes it is very salty and although I don’t normally count calories I did take a look on the tin and can see that it’s calorific value was nearly 1200 calories a tin! It did me for dinner yesterday, lunch today and I’ll make a main dish from it tomorrow.

    Interesting about being served like a sushi roll in Korea and given as hostess gifts!!!

    Thanks for sharing those facts!!!

    C xx

    • I still east spam. It’s wonderful. To be honest i’m still not sure why so many don’t like it. It’s shoulder and ham trimmings pressed. That’s it. I make a fried egg and spam sandwich with cheese and picante sauce.

      • I really like Spam as well as corned beef hash but also other tinned food items like Treet, Vienna sausages, kippered herrings, hog brains, etc. When I was under 5 yrs old I was raised by my grandmother and her mother my great-grandmother lived across the street. I ate many WWII ration-type meals and grew up enjoying them! Thanks for so many more WWII recipes!

    • A friend in the US tells me SPAM is extremely popular in Hawaii too, and it’s also considered a delicacy as well as a national dish, see excerpt below from Wikipedia:

      In Hawaii, Spam is so popular that it is sometimes referred to as “The Hawaiian Steak”. There is even an annual Spam-themed festival on the island of Oahu that takes place every spring, known as the “Waikiki Spam Jam”.

    • Try this SPAM idea from my childhood. Chill the tin of SPAM first, grated on the rough side of the grater, mix equal quantities of self raising flour and sparkling water (or lager or ale, it musy be carbonated liquid) mix together and fry spoonfuls till crisp and golden, Drain oil and serve hot with whatever you like.

  3. I tried Spam because of this website and I also cooked it in the frying pan. I had bought the one with less fat and a couple of slices of it with some eggs did work for my dinner. I was surprised that the taste, a little more salty than I’m used to, wasn’t bad at all. It won’t become a constant in the meal time rotation but I’ll have it in the pantry for a bit of a change, especially in the winter. It just seems to be a winter food to me.

    Thanks for getting me to try something different!

  4. My grandmother always had spam on hand and it was a regular lunch article in the years she babysat me. Its just fine in a sandwich with a little mustard. Never tried it heated in any way. If you are doing 1940s you might want to try corned beef too.

  5. My mother made a delicious sandwich filling with Spam. She boiled a couple eggs and chopped them together with the Spam. Then she added some pickle relish, finely chopped celery, a little yellow mustard, and mayonnaise. I’ve had it on whole wheat bread and white bread, and the flavor is compatible with both. In fact, I think I will make this filling for a tea that my DAR group is hosting for lady veterans at the local veterans’ home in November.

    • Hey thanks for this Kathy!! That sounds very nice- infact I was surprised how nice Spam actually tasted and how versatile it was… especially when only eating 100% rations… I bet people during the war loved using spam..(never thought I’d hear myself say that about the stuff!!!)
      C xx

  6. Spam grated (from the fridge) goes very nicely in place of ham on a pizza.
    My kids favourite is spam, cheese and pineapple on a tomato base. Yum.

  7. I also have dabbled in 1940’s and prior retro- recipes to save money and perhaps drop a few pounds, and have developed a profound appreciation for the cuisine.Prior to recently I have not used Spam since the 1960’s, but there is one recipe that i really like. That is dice spam, add pineapples, water chestnuts and soy sauce and serve over rice.

    I have also tried some pre World War I cooking. This style is characterized by a big breakfast and lunch, supper is usually a dessert.

    Keep up the good work.

  8. I am of the older group, and remember span during the war years…It was used almost on a daily bases in one form or another..I grew to hate it
    But over the years I have found it to be a staple to use and has always been in my pantry…..I have even used it in stir fry and My grand kids and great grandkids love it.. Now days when everyone is on s diet it seems to have lost it appeal…..
    But to be quite frank its not as bad as people say for diets…you can kill the fat and salt content by marinating in many diffrent forms….I know because I do Thank you for giving this little ole lady a look at my past…

  9. I’ve stumbled across your blog while doing research on wartime rationed food so I could make more economical and just as nutritious meals for my family. I stumbled across a spam recipe called “Baked Spam”. Take one can of spam, put it in greased baking pan. Score the top like you would a regular ham. Sprinkle on ground cloves. Bake at 350 degrees F. Make a sauce from a tablespoon of prepared mustard, vinegar. a little water and a bit of sugar if desired. Baste baking spam with sauce. Bake another 15 minutes, basting with sauce every 5 minutes during baking time. I baste it again after I take it out of the oven. I serve it with pan-fried potatoes and onions and any veggie I happen to have on hand. It got high praise from my husband and my two picky eaters. It’s awesome, give it a try.

  10. I have baked it using a brown sugar glaze and some pineapple……either crushed or rings. Very similar to a baked ham.

  11. You could attempt to learn how to spell before going online : when food makes you feel ill you tend to want to retch , not wretch, though you are very possibly a wretched person when all is said and done. The Oxford Dictionary is a worthwhile purchase for people like yourself who obviously have no idea about your own language.

    • Thank you Brian. I will, of course, rush out during my lunch break today to purchase the dictionary… (ermmm). Thank you for saving me…

    • Shut up Walton, spill your bitter juice elsewhere. What a sad individual one must be to feel the need to write a whole nasty paragraph about a spelling error.

      (keep up the good work Carolyn)

    • Yea Brian all you have done so far is provide negative comments. Roll another one and melt away, off into your own self important world greatness.

    • It is unfortunate Carolyn that there is always some pedantic little twit like Brian Walton lurking around !

    • Brian.I know that my comment is almost 10 years too late and I hope you have mellowed during this time . I am sure that you have your flaws in other areas and would not appreciate someone being as mean as you. You think it makes you superior but I just see you as the bully that you are. I wonder what people say behind your back.

    • Brian, if you have nothing constructive to add then add nothing. As Jane Austin’s oft quoted rule states, ‘There is a fine old saying, which everybody here is of course familiar with: ‘Keep your breath to cool your porridge’; and I shall keep mine to swell my song.”


  13. as i go camping loads, Spam is a family favourite, fried, in fajitas, on cheese crackers, Spamwidches, in pasta, it goes in anything, with anything. the pizza sounds interesting, might try that sometime.

  14. Battered spam fritters!!! Yummeee!
    Mum used to dip the spam slices in batter. Just flour and water, or milk and often an egg. Like most folk during the war, we kept chickens in our back garden so eggs weren’t a major problem. Dad used to ‘pickle’ any excess in “isinglass”, whatever that was, in a big galvanised bucket . Vegetable were not a problem either for most folk as the government provided land “allotments”, seed, fertiliser and instructional material!

  15. super markets sell ready made spam fritters now , just need to fry them ! taste as good as my mum used to make !!

  16. If you haven’t tried Hickory Smoked or Bacon Spam- then you haven’t eaten Spam yet… Love either fried over the campfire when camping!!!

    • We cut cans of SPAM into 1/2″ sqare logs stuck lengthwise on sticks and wienie-roasted over a campfire, sometimes a little blackened/crunchy–ecstacy to the tastebuds!
      Alternately, slice or dice your SPAM, braise it in water, or, if available, white wine or beer. Discard the liquid and crisp-fry the remains. Yhis will win over even sworn SPAM-haters.

  17. love this site, now on to the it use it in a lot of stuff, but because of the saltyness, discovered here in NY they sell turkey spam…..not as salty, less calories, but still just as good…thanks for this site……

    • I haven’t seen a recipe for Spam & Dumplins, so I think I’ll try it tomorrow.
      Should work out ok..

      I like Spam slices fried and placed on top of a pan of macaroni & cheese…

  18. When I was a youngster, my mother used to make a wonderful dish with SPAM. She sliced it and fried it in a little butter (or margarine, this was in the 50’s so I don’t know which she used), then opened a can of sliced peaches and poured it over the SPAM, juice and all and brought it to a boil. One of my favorite dishes as a kid (and still is today, and my husband is a convert). I don’t know how that fits in to the ration plan, but in those times she probably would have used home-canned peaches.

    • You could definitely get hold of tinned fruit if you times it right, during the war! LOL…. well that sounds quite unusual but when I ate meat and did the spam recipes, it was surprisingly tasty in recipes but then again I think it has a huge amount of salt in!! Saying that though I bet a tin of spam could feed a large family easily and probably with leftovers!

      Thanks for sharing this!

      C xxx

  19. SPAM is, indeed, still popular in Hawaii and with some people on the West Coast of North America. I can tolerate SPAM when it’s well-cooked. Trying to eat the stuff when it’s raw – well, it’s as bad as the old Army rations at their worst. (Was rejected SPAM included in the field rations?)

  20. I often use Spam anywhere I would use ham! Spam gets a bad rap but it actually is tasty, quite reasonably priced and fills the gut!

  21. My parents were born in mid-WWII Germany. Post war, my parents still ate a lot of rationing meals as they would have done in the UK post war. When we moved to Australia, mum bought SPAM and I remember having it quite often as a very young girl. Then we moved to a very hot climate and I think the thought of SPAM in Australian summer heat whilst living in a caravan was more than Mum could bare. I’ve never had it again, but remember liking the saltiness so I’m keen to try it again.

  22. We grew up very poor with 7 in our family. Mum would often open a can of spam,mash it with a fork with a Tbsp of relish and a bit of mayo. She would put a thin layer on a split stale bun and broil it in the oven. The heat would cause the fat to soak down into the bread and make it taste fresher. We often had this with two tins of tomato soup and a big glass of much needed water ( to wash down all that salt!)

    I’m also reading about rationing and came on your site. You’ve done a great job! I hope you have been able to keep the lost pounds off. If not, I bet another round of this diet would be even easier to re-visit.


  23. How well I remember having Spam during and after WW II…my mother baked it, as described in earlier posts above. Along with a Waldorf salad and baked sweet potatoes it made a very good meal. I’m glad I found this site, looking for the recipe. I’m going to make this meal and take it to share with close friends who were WW II kids as well. We really enjoy the memories! Thanks and keep up the good work! Rick

  24. During the 1960s both my mother and my husband’s mother used to make spam patties. using a small cake (or bun) tray, line each of the 12 ‘holes’ with short crust pastry, then add sliced spam -you can also add some finely sliced onion and even some made up stuffing mix to make the spam go a little further. add tops and glaze with either milk or egg (or both) bake in a hot oven until pastry is cooked. Great with potatoes of choice, veg and gravy. My husband and I made these when first married to save money. We don’t tend to eat pastry now, although , I feel I may just try the recipe again…
    Hopefully I have spelt all of this correctly so that I don’t see another bitter comment from Brian Walton.

  25. I live in the state where Spam was invented, and I honestly cannot imagine how you did not like it! I’m glad you gave it another shot!!

    P.S. Fries perfectly well without the butter.

  26. I live in Minnesota, USA where Hormel, the maker of SPAM is located – absolutely LOVE spam! much to hubby & kids shergrins! It is high in salt & fat because it was originally designed to go to the front for the soldiers – the salt kept it preserved longer and the fat was needed to give the fellas much needed caloric/fat intake, the additional benefit was that no extra fat is needed in the pan for cooking. I like to stretch the can by curbing 1/4 of the can, adding some diced onions, maybe a couple of mushrooms, this gets scrambled up with some eggs – a great meal for a family of 6 during planting/harvest time on the farm.

  27. my mom made a casserole with spam. layer sliced potatos, sliced onions, sliced carrots, sliced spam in casserole dish, ending with potato layer. Mix 1 can mushroom soup and 1 can of milk. Pour over layers and bake at 350 until vegs are cooked. Great on a winter day ! Slide a plate under while cooking …tends to boil over.

  28. One way I like to cook SPAM is to cut it up into bite-sized pieces and fry them until browned on all sides. Remove from pan saving the grease. Fry chopped onion in the grease for a few minutes. Add the cooked SPAM to the onions and a can of baked beans. Cook until heated through. It dries out a little so I add a little water. Serve with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

  29. I am of the war era and Remember my mother making a shepherds pie of spam shredded and adding a assortment of veggie chopped up from the allotment .mixing all together with a little gravy and topping with mashed potatoes…..she also made a meat loaf out of spam and veggies and topped that with a bread sauce…..I still use some of her recipes from her own cook book she kept from years ago….

  30. Hi my mother always made a pie, it was great. cut up the spam in cubes fry one small onion, half a pepper, you can add some branston pickle, mushrooms if you want to. slice tomato over the top. add a sprinkle of oxo cube.
    short crust pastry. its tasty and good hot or cold.

  31. I discovered Spam while living in Hawaii with a tiny food budget. My favorite way to eat is is browned and used in place of bacon for a B(Sp?)LT with a nice fresh tomato and Hawaii’s favorite Hellman’s/Best Foods mayo! Even my husband likes it. 🙂 . Second favorite is browned and cubed small in fried rice. Always a can in the pantry now. I use the low salt Spam. Going to Hi this next week and will buy Spam Musubi for sure. Nice website! Thanks! I love historic recipes.

  32. I became reacquainted with Spam once I joined an outrigger canoe club, a cultural sport of Hawaii and islands of the South Pacific. Spam musubi is very popular at our regattas. I have since brought home a few cans here and there and my husband decided to take Spam to a new direction one morning when he made me Spam benedict on an English muffin complete with poached egg and hollindaise sauce. It was quite good.

  33. I just discovered this site – LOVE IT! I am a WWII buff! When I was in college on a limited budget, we would put a slice of Spam on the bottom half of a bun topped with a lice of American cheese and onion flakes. We would butter the top half and then broil this in the oven. This is delish!! I served this to my kids when they were growing up, and they still request it today.

    • I’m one of 9 children so obviously Mom often made frugal meals. I remember her putting a slice of Spam on a piece of bread, followed by a slice each of tomato and Velveeta, and broiling it to melt the cheese. I can’t say that I loved it, but I am so grateful for the resourcefulness that kept us well fed!

  34. Spam has been popular amongst my omnivores for decades. Not often but as a treat and great for camping. However they have noticed that lately it is much saltier than before. Is there a way to remove salt. No reduced salt cans on the shelf in the stores. I can`t see soaking it as for salt fish or pork as it would probably disintegrate. Any ideas.

  35. I can now get SPAM in a half sized can (great for us singletons!) I either slice it thinly and put it on bread with some chees and a little mustard -great for winter nights! or dice it small, dredge in flour (no salt!!!) and fry it up for serving with potatoes, yams, etc.

  36. SPAM is very popular in Hawaii and Alaska because raw meat has to be shipped to both states. Hawaii was the U.S. navy’s major distribution site during war against Japan.
    I found your Blog while researching frugal cooking recipes. Your diet idea was very interesting. I love the recipes you’ve posted.

  37. If you can get it, use SPAM Lite — less salt and less fat than the regular version. It still isn’t the healthiest thing, but man… once in a while… a fried SPAM and ketchup sandwich just hits the spot. =D

    • SPAM is still popular in the NE England, especially in Newcastle upon Tyne, a SPAM fritter from the Grainger Market is a tradition and a treat. Aside from that if you cube it quite small it can be added to all the other goodies for very acceptable stir fried rice also adding onions, peas, carrots, etc.

      Childhood memories of bridies (Scottish pasties) filled with shredded SPAM, onions and anything else she had to hand in pastry – yummy !

      To Maureen G – no you can’t remove the salt, you’ll just have to stock up on the reduced salt version when you can find it.

      To Elbert J – lots of Hawaiian recipes use SPAM, it’s almost a religion.

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