photo by EfrankE

Sunday, May 2, 2010

SPAM – It’s What’s for Breakfast!

It is truly unfortunate that whoever coined the term for unwanted email decided on the word “spam”. Why couldn’t he have chosen a more unsavory food name for the usage, perhaps “liver and onions” or “Brussels sprouts,” a.k.a. “little green balls of death,” as described by one fellow blogger? SPAM should connote something deserving of respect.

SPAM, the food-stuff, as produced by Hormel, is the combined product of shoulder pork and ham. It was introduced into the Hawaiian Islands as a military food supply for troops stationed here during the Second World War and was rapidly accepted into the local cuisine. It enjoys an esteemed reputation here in the Hawaiian Islands. Some national, fast-food chain franchises here sell it from their breakfast menus. Rice, of course, accompanies nearly everything, at every meal, locally.

In recognition of the prized position SPAM has earned in Hawaii, and in emulation of various food blogs, today, I’ll be revealing, with commentary, the recipe for my…


STEP 1. Push aside enough countertop clutter for prep space (Non-bachelors skip to next step).

STEP 2. Figure out how many people are likely to be out of bed in time for breakfast and select appropriate size of rice cooker. Today, based on an estimated head count of four, I decided to go with the pee-wee.

STEP 3. Measure out rice and wash out dirt and anything else that may have managed to penetrate rice container defenses. Set pan of drained rice, with clean water, in cooker.

STEP 4. Start rice cooker first – important, since the rice will take longer than other items to cook.

STEP 5. Take a big swallow of coffee, because your hands are soon going to get messy.

STEP 6. Check date on bottom of SPAM can. If expired, deposit contents into dog’s bowl. If okay, pull tab on easy-opening top and remove. Turn carton upside down and shake out contents, which we will henceforth accurately refer to as SPAM. Personal observation and rhetorical question: Could you even ask for food to come out leaving its container more clean? And look! Hormel figured out how to get rid of that unappetizing, gloppy, gelatinized residue that used to always be there.

STEP 7. Cut SPAM into ¼” thick slices. Use slicing thickness guide on back of can if necessary. Expect shrinkage to occur during frying.

STEP 8. Brown both sides of SPAM slices in non-stick pan on medium heat. I start the first batch on a very light film of olive oil spray to prevent burning. Look for golden brown color on underside, then flip. It is the caramelization that gives SPAM its full flavor.

STEP 9. Trim off edges of slices and cut into perfect ¾” square tiles (within 1/8” tolerance). You may not care about being this precise, but, as an architect, I like to perform at a certain level of geometric exactitude in my food component preparation whenever possible. The trimmings, seen on the upper right, go into a bag for later use on critical occasions as an incentive in bribing obedience from the dog.

DISCLOSURE: I forgot to make the rice first so, while waiting for the cooker to do its job, I killed time by building a SPAM tower. Collapse appeared imminent and, indeed, structural failure quickly followed with eccentric loading as the probable cause.

Hindsight is easy, of course, but it’s less necessary to play with your food if you start the rice first.

STEP 10. Pour raw, scrambled eggs into pan, cook until safely dry. Add SPAM squares and melt in some shredded Mexican cheese. Those attempting to gain weight may prefer to use 100% Wisconsin cheddar. This main course also can be easily supplemented with ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls.

STEP 11. Remove SPAMbled eggs from heat, serve with customary two scoops rice on compartmentalized paper plate in local eatery fashion. Chopsticks are traditionally used, but I frequently employ the use of a fork, since it produces a higher success/attempt ratio of moving food to mouth. You can experiment to find out which works better for you, particularly when no one is watching.

This high protein, high fat, morning meal would be perfect for providing the energy required for a day’s expedition out on the ice in Antarctica. I, however, use it as fortification for a day of lying in the sun on the beach.

SPAM – not unlike sugar-laden, grain-based, commercially-boxed cereals - it’s part of a healthy breakfast.


  1. Oooooh I hate this mouse!! I was going along so well... busy having fun writing my wonderful comment...and then... moved a finger over the thing and poof.... I was on another page entirely...and couldn't get back to where I had been commenting. sigh.... Ya know how when you've written it out and worded it just so? ...and then...it's totally gone from your head? Well... that was it.

    No way I could be so clever once again...

    ....suffice to say, I wanted to tell you about eating Prem as kids... similar to your Spam I'm sure and it would take me right back to being 12 again if I tasted it. I almost bought some today after reading this post yesterday..

    ... and...I was telling you about my piping designer husband..and how he insists on working to about 1/64th tolerances even in our own renovations on this money pit of a house (ongoing for 23+ years now) ..no wonder it is taking us sooooo long to complete things. So, 1/8" would be a wonderful change.... seeing as my eyesight is going and I can't read the teeeensy marks on his tape measure anymore without a magnifying glass........

    ...what else? ...oh, yes.....he cuts the cutest little slices, cubes and triangles of cheese to nibble with our wine.... all with geometric exactitude...and I love to see them.....

    thanks for visiting my blog...and hey...I love brussels... I have a pretty tasty recipe on my other blog for them. It's a food blog... "Tea and Scones" ... it might even convert a non lover!

  2. Your husband sounds like my kind of guy. Nothing's more satisfying than eating from a plate that geometrically resembles the kind of organization you see in the microscopically-viewed world.

    Haven't heard of Prem. My friends from Oz seem to favor a nasty-looking concoction called Vegemite, or maybe it's Vegemate, I can't tell due to their accents. It's all kim chee to me, anyway.

    I didn't realize a recipe for tasty Brussels sprouts, or B.S., as I abbreviate them, was even a remote possibility in this life. Guess I have to check yours out. I am full on into scones though, as long as someone else is willing to make them. What do you like to put in yours? Blueberries, cranberries, Bumbleberries?