A dissertation on canned Spam

Spam, the unwanted, distasteful email product of dubious origin that ultimately winds up in your desktop garbage bin, is giving Spam, the unwanted, distasteful meat-like product of dubious origin that ultimately ends up in your kitchen garbage bin, a bad name.

 I became well-acquainted with Spam, the latter, back in the 1950s and ‘60s. The canned meat treat was, if nothing else, cheap and easy to use. The can had a nifty little metal key—with a small rectangular cutout at the bottom—soldered to the top. That little slot fit neatly over a metal tab near the top of the can; after inserting the tab, you just twisted the key and a thin ribbon of metal rolled up as you guided the key around the can.

You had to be careful. That metal band was sharp and capable of inflicting painful cuts to unwary fingers.

Spam also offered frugal housewives with a plethora of culinary delights. I remember Spam casserole—Spam, cubed and mixed with cheese and noodles and some other stuff and baked to a golden brown in the oven at something like 350 degrees—not hot enough, unfortunately, to completely incinerate it.

I remember fried Spam, Spam gravy, Spam sandwiches and Spam and eggs. I suppose you could use Spam in pretty much any recipe that called for meat. It was a source of inexpensive protein and the cans, if cleaned properly and tacked onto small pieces of wood, made fairly good toys for the sand pile.

I bought a can of Spam a few years back. First, I wanted my son to appreciate the unique cuisine of the 50s. And second, I wanted to check and see if Spam was anywhere near as tasty as I remembered it.

My son did not particularly appreciate the gustatory delight and, yes, Spam was pretty much exactly as tasty as I remembered it. I noticed recently that turkey Spam is now available. Gobble, gobble. No thank you.

As for the other spam, which is even more distasteful than the canned variety, it has no nutritional value, no containers that can be transformed into toys and nothing to aid frugal housewives in their daily chores, though it often purports to do just that along with other, much less noble goals.

I have been well acquainted with this brand of spam since I started using email. I have found no redeeming features for electronic spam. Fortunately, my company provides a spam interceptor that catches incoming garbage and dumps it into my junk mail bin, from which I purge it ever so often.

But, as with the canned variety, I sometimes have to open up the junk mail receptacle and make certain that nothing tasty, nutritious or useful has gotten into the spam can. A recent perusal of my spam box revealed:

  • “A divine request for help.” This would imply that the Almighty himself is posting emails seeking assistance, but the email address was not heaven so I deleted it. I hope that action was not too hasty.
  • “PLEASE READ CAREFULLY AND GET BACK TO ME.” That (including the all- caps) was posted from a Mr. Ali Kahlid. I hope he’s not holding his breath.
  • “Urgent Reply Needed.” My reply: NO!
  • “CONGRATULATIONS YOU HAVE WON COCA COLA LUCKY DRAWING.” I’m guessing this is not the real thing.
  • “Unleash your manifesting abilities.” Sorry, the world is not ready for me to unleash those on an unsuspecting public. How does one manifest, anyway?
  • “Hello friend.” Well howdy. Get a life.
  • “Achieve a higher connection with your higher self.” I have no idea what that means. It could be an invitation to a drunken bash, which I will politely decline. My higher self does not do connections all that well. It mostly wants to go to sleep.

I have several in this latest batch that are written in Japanese or Chinese. I can’t tell the alphabets apart but I do know that I can’t read either of them. Delete.

Okay, I realize that I may be missing out on some really good deals by dumping all my spam without reading it. I’m constantly promised better insurance rates, free iPads, European lottery winnings and the opportunity to use my bank account to launder money for someone in Kenya.

And I hope those emails from the FBI are not attempts to discover my whereabouts. I thought I left them in the dust when I moved from Georgia.

And heaven knows (through those “divine requests for help,” I suppose) that many of these attractively packaged cans contain viruses that would consume my computer files like we used to gorge ourselves on Spam spaghetti.

Hmmm, is it lunch time yet?


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