Monday, January 18, 2010

"It Tastes Like Heaven": A Historic SPAM Recipe

Well, here we are, about 1 month in to our rationing year and we're finally getting around to our first SPAM recipe.

SPAM was around before WWII, but didn't become really popular until the War - and subsequent rationing - began. At 5 red points a can SPAM is definitely a "bargain" meat. Plus, it's precooked and quite versatile - contributing it's salty meatiness well to many recipes.

Now, I have only had SPAM on a few occassions, and all before I turned 6 years old. As a child I liked the idea of tinned meat. There was a sort of beautiful precision in the geometric shapes that appealed to me. As far as taste, I vaguely remember a certain squishy, salty flavor similar to lower quality ham products. The Man of the House remembers eatings SPAM a few times as a child as well.

But our girls had never had anything of the sort.

It seemed a good idea to initiate them with the most simplist of SPAM recipes: Fried SPAM Burgers. It doesn't get any easier than this, folks.

1 can SPAM (I used the "lower sodium" variety)
4 hamburger buns
Assorted hamburger toppings (cheese, mayo, pickless, ketchup, etc.)
  • Slice SPAM loaf into 4 slices.
  • Fry SPAM slices in a non-stick skillet on medium/medium-high until lightly browned and crispy, approximately 5 minutes per side.
  • Place in buns and garnish as desired.
And the girls? Prior to the cooking they marveled at the way it schlopped out of the can and landed on the plate with a splat. They spent a good two minutes poking and prodding the meat cube before I sliced it. And for a while Sissy did a song and dance around the kitchen implying that SPAM was, in fact, octopus meat.

But after the cooking? They finished their SPAM burgers in record time! Really - it was gone in a flash! When I asked them to give a review of their SPAM burgers they both agreed on the same four words, "It tasted like Heaven."
So, it seems likely that SPAM will be a regular visitor in the Rational Living household.

On note: we served our SPAM burgers with the oven-crisped cabbage recommended by Rational Living reader Carla. It's very simple: thinly-sliced cabbage tossed with olive oil and salt/seasonings, roasted on a baking sheet at 400 degrees until slightly crisped (about 20 minutes or so). My review? "It tasted like Heaven." The roasting imparted a lovely, sweet taste to the cabbage, reminiscent of roasted Brussels sprouts. It also will most definitely be repeated during the year.

All in all, a successful rationing dinner this evening!

--Rational Mama


  1. matt and I are wondering what spam is made of. May we have the shortlist of the ingredients list?!

    your kids are more open minded than me. I would have had vegetables on a bun if I ate dinner at your house tonight :)

  2. Just for you, Angie, here's the list from the side of the can that I dug out of recycling: pork with ham, mechanically separated chicken, water, salt, modified potato starch, sugar, sodium phosphates, potassium chloride, sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrite. Basically, it's a shelf-stable pork loaf.

    I don't think I'll be craving it any time soon, but it will be a decent meat option if other sources are unavailable!

  3. Yay! I'm glad you like the cabbage recipe. When I saw you were going to try it, I wondered how it would turn out for you :).

    Spam isn't something I'm too crazy about, especially since I can usually get real pork for about a dollar a pound (Spam is about $4 a can here), plus I have possible food allergies. We had a similar food in my childhood that I think was called luncheon meat, or in other words, mystery meat, lol!

  4. The lunch ladies at my high school would also put a slab of American cheese on our Spam sandwiches.

    I thought they were YUMMY!!

  5. i guessed that the cake and mac would've been super yummy foods, but i must say i'm quite surprised about the "heavenly" spam. way to go rational fam!

  6. I think I will just take your family's word that the spam is heavenly.

    In general I have issue with food that comes out of a can. I am not really sure why. About the only canned foods I can tolerate are peaches (but only if in 100% juice) and tomatoes.

    Maybe you could contact the company that markets Spam, and see if they can incoroporate your family's description in to their next ad campaign. Although "Crazy Tasty" will be hard to beat.

  7. SPAM Ersatz Crab Cakes: Cut SPAM into inch-size chunks, roll in flour, beaten egg and cracker crumbs liberally seasoned with Old Bay seafood seasoning, or alternately a mixture of sage, red pepper, garlic powder and thyme. Deep fry and serve on a Kaiser roll with mayo, salad and white wine.