Spam from nearby Austin, survived war


Spam is sliced and ready to eat: it comes from Austin, Minnesota, and even has a zip code, plus U.S.A., not made in China!
By : 
MARY JO DATHE
GLIMPSES OF YESTERYEAR

A much-maligned Spam didn't join the war casualties, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin.  Reprinted from the Wall Street Journal, this story by Thomas Knudson, staff reporter, explains why: 

When Joseph Bosch sits down to lunch, he sometimes breaks a vow he made 35 years ago.  He was a World War II army veteran from Missouri.  "I swore I'd never eat Spam again — we just had so much of it. But after a while, Spam isn't as bad as you once thought — I still eat it occasionally."

Spam lives, believe it or not, at the Geo. A. Hormel & Co. in Austin, Minnesota.  "We thought Spam might be another war casualty, but it never suffered."  said James Silbaugh, a Hormel vice president, at the time.   Sales have risen steadily since the war — Hormel sold 90 million pounds of Spam last year (1979).  Surprising, since Spam has become a household word — concocted with SP for the first letters, and AM for the last two letters.   

“Spam is ham that didn't pass its physical," was one standard GI joke.  Another: "Spam is a meatball without training."  Spam isn't a meatball — it is pork shoulder and ham, described by a Hormel person.  The mixture is chopped, spiced, plopped in a can while still raw, then it is cooked.  A process that means it can sit seven years on the shelf, making it standard fare for soldiers in the field during World War II.

A poem that has found its way into the files:  The fellows here, the fellows there, Know the meaning of despair; they dream of sirloin steaks and ham, but all they ever get is Spam.

One of the veterans’ former mess sergeant said, "I had to disguise Spam to get the guys to eat it -- I would bake it,  fry it, scramble it, bread it, and even cream it."  Most of the Spam that GIs cursed wasn't Spam at all -- it was usually a competing brand of canned meat sold in supermarkets today, like Armour's Treet or Swift's Prem. 

Hormel says it doesn't know just how much Spam was sold to the government in World War II, but it adds that armed forces don't buy much anymore.  Instead they opt for freezer dried meats because they are lighter in weight and less bulky.  Hormel now sells Spam mostly to the "blue-collar, lunch-box market."

Nikita Khruschev took note of Spam in his memoirs.  "There were many jokes going around in the army, some of them off-color, about American Spam; it did taste good, nonetheless.  Without Spam we wouldn't have been able to feed our army."

Said production manager at the time, "We don't care what they say about Spam; as long as they keep talking about it!"

So that's it — about Spam, a good brand and a good taste--have to admit we have some in our cupboard!

 

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