Spam may be one of the most feared, maligned, and underappreciated foods in this country. I learned quite quickly how to hide my love for Spam—to insist that I was shopping for my dog at the grocery, to shout “bacon” when my housemates asked what I was cooking, and to hide my Costco-sized jumbo pack in the depths of my pantry. It is only when I’m alone that I’ve allowed these 12-ounce cans of spiced ham and pork to emerge from those depths, but today I will share my secret with the world: Spam is awesome.
Spam was introduced into my home country, the Philippines, during World War II, when it was fed to occupying U.S. soldiers and eventually caught the attention of locals. Aside from being the most patriotic of foods, Spam is also incredibly versatile, and has been incorporated into a surprising amount of dishes—from various Spam pasta dishes to the famous Hawaiian Spam musubi (a spiced ham sushi dish). Whatever your taste buds are craving, rest assured that there is a Spam recipe for you—except for vegetarians…sorry!
Spam is absolutely delicious with rice. If you’re going plain, I suggest coating thinly sliced pieces of Spam in brown sugar before frying them, and serving it up with fried egg. If you have more time, grab some soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, chopped carrots, and Spam cut into matchstick size pieces and whip up Spam fried rice. Day-old rice is ideal, so if you have any leftovers, definitely consider this preparation.
We also have the staple Spamwich. Pretty much anything can go into this—make it a breakfast Spamwich with egg and cheese, or a lunch dish with the basic condiments.
There are a plethora of spam pasta recipes out there, but my personal favorite, Spam mac and cheese, is absolutely perfect for the cold months of the year. This recipe is tailored to the busy college student’s schedule: Easy Mac + Fried Spam = instant satisfaction. If you’re feeling more gourmet, you could try making it from scratch with the leftovers from your last cheese co-op pick-up—but who are we kidding, you’re making Spam.
So give it a chance, Wesleyan! Spam does not judge you—it caters to all your unhealthy indulgences, and can get you through any snowy day. Whether you’re whipping up a complex dish or just piling fried spam on top of white rice, do me a favor—Spam it loud, Spam it proud.