Does spam demonstrate ‘social mobility’?
(Some excerpts from a presentation)
An interesting question I’m sure you’ll agree!
Along with two colleagues I attempted to answer this question, or to at least investigate it.
Spam is quite an iconic brand and surprisingly tasty when cooked.
Disclaimer: Other mechanically produced pork stuffs are probably also tasty when cooked. The opinion of the taste of the spam is a personal one and not representative of the blog.
The blurb below is the notes to my presentation and should fill in any gaps in your ‘Spam knowledge’.
A brief history of Spam
Spam first burst onto the culinary scene in 1937! (Applause)
- Hormel Foods (sole producer)
- Shoulder of pork and ham (parts of pig used)
- Spiced ham
- “Ham that didn’t pass its physical”
- “Meatloaf without basic training” (names for spam used by US troops)
It washed up on Britain’s shores (not literally) during World War II and became a staple of rationing.
- GIs (introduced spam)
- Via Guam, Hawaii, Okinawa, the Philippines, and other islands in the Pacific. (These countries and dependencies also succumbed to the delights of spam).
Margaret Thatcher referred to the product as a “wartime delicacy”.
Spam is imbued with issues of class: it’s a low cost meat
- Spam Valley – Scottish colloquial term to describe people who live in affluent housing and appear rich but aren’t.
- Food semiotics: organic, air cured, extra-lean, lardons, speck, prosciutto, Serrano ham vs…
- Spam, Spam fritters, Spam sandwiches, Spam n eggs
British cultural reference points:
- School dinners
- Fanny Cradock – Forerunner of British celebrity chefs and often cooked in a ball-gown
- Who eats Spam? Unanswered
- Heston Blumenthal’s posh Spam fritter: http://youtu.be/01dlDlDo4n0 shows Heston Blumenthal recreating a British ‘school meal’ circa 1970s/80s and uses the following ingredients. The ingredients per plate cost £100 so imagine the price on the menu!
- Seasoned pork shoulder
- Pata negra Iberico ham
- Black truffles
- Tempura batter
- Panko breadcrumbs
“give a crunch a million miles away from the soggy 70s” (Heston Blumenthal)
- Served as a retro school dinner with oversized knife and fork (visual pun)
- He said, “This course has been an almighty challenge. To try and keep the essence of the Spam fritter from my guests, but make something that’s delicious.”
I hope that this has helped to fill in any gaps in your Spam knowledge.