I always thought that it was a given: people who grew up eating Spam simply hated it when they grew into adulthood, kind of the same idea as WWII GI's coming home from the war and not being able to look at, much less eat, creamed chipped beef on toast.
Since Spam was invented in 1937, it means that there never was a time in my life when Spam wasn't around. I remember eating it, probably during the war time when meat was rationed, but I never thought it was bad. We didn't have it much, because as I remember my dad usually was able to put plenty of food on the table during even those years. But we did have it on occasion. Mother didn't like to cook and sliced Spam made for an easy dinner. I don't remember anyone in the family throwing a fit about it, but somehow as an adult I ended up in the "EUWWWWWW! SPAM!" column. Over the years I have rarely given Span a second thought.
But today I was at the grocery store looking for a can of corned beef hash (which Jerry loves, especially with three over-easy eggs,) and my eyes in their sweep of the shelves locked onto the most unusual display of Spam that I've ever seen. Things have changed! Spam apparently is out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Spam Jalapeno, Black Pepper Spam , Hickory Smoked Spam, Oven Roasted Turkey Spam (?) – not to forget Spam lite and Lo-Sodium Spam among the rest.
I don't know how long these varieties have been available, but to say I was surprised at what I saw was an understatement. The patrons in the aisles of the market couldn't figure out why I was standing with my camera aimed at the row of assorted Spams.
But I just had to get a picture of them to send to my cousin Shirlee, who six years ago moved from SoCal to rural North Carolina and probably can't find her favorite Spam in the markets. She has become used to seeing whole hogs flayed and roasting on the barbecue, ears, tail and all, not an easy accommodation when one is a retired veterinarian! The first visit her sister Nancy made was a real eye-opener. Shirlee took her to a tiny restaurant in the hinterland where some special sort of meat was the raison d'etre of that eatery's existence. People flocked there for a meal. Nancy took one look at the offering on her plate and pronounced it as "indeterminate meat" and thus not edible. After I made a similar trip back and also sized up that same restaurant, I agreed with Nan. It made Spam look like filet mignon!
I'm sure by now Shirlee has come to terms with the cuisine of her area, but I do think that after 6 or 7 years of living with a more rustic regional cuisine, my cousin will probably want to place an order for Spam du jour with me. It'll be a trip down memory lane for her! The order probably will be "one of each" – except for the Jalapeno Spam. That will probably be a little too California trendy for her.