Before we tie a big, fat bow on this year’s box of ups, down and go-arounds, I‘d like to give props to Spam, the wondrous food that started my relationship with Creative Loafing (the newspaper that I write a weekly food column for) earlier this year when I dared editor Max to lose his spam virginity to me. And yes, I was gentle. I fed him luscious morsels of Spam nestled in mounds of snowy, fluffy, white rice.
It’s not an easy task, convincing people to willingly eat meat that comes in its own coffin, especially after hearing the “STHLURP” as it slithers out and the “STHLUNK” as it lands on the counter top in a quivering, solid, gelatinous mass.
But once you get over that part, it’s delicious, savory and like a pair of tight Levi’s, it goes with just about anything. Feed me a Spam wrapped as sushi, diced in an omelet or grilled between buns of a burger, and I’m as happy as gorilla in heat.
Outside of Hawaii, though, Spam is like the ugly step-child, banned to the tippy top shelf towards the back, so far out of my 5’2” reach that I have to ask for help. Everyone shopping within earshot of the supermarket bullhorn, “customer needs assistance reaching Spam in aisle two,” stares at me as if I had just asked to be spanked with a corn tortilla. But, come on, it’s just pork in a can with a pop-top. See that gorgonzola cheese in your cart? It’s really rotting mold from a cow’s tits. Don’t you dare judge me!
I betcha can’t name another food product that pairs well with Champagne, can spawn a Monty Python sketch and kept troops alive and well-fed during WWII. So, go ahead and pick up a can of Spam the next time you’re at the market. Just say aloud, “this would be great for the hurricane box,” if you’re embarrassed.
To get you in the mood, I’m re-posting my Ode to Spam in the Style of Seuss.
Jaden’s Ode to Spam in the Style of Seuss
Do you like Fried Rice and Spam?
Would you? Could you? In a wok?
Would you like them gently tossed?
Would you like them with fish sauce?
Would you like them cut up silly?
Would you like them with fried chilli?
Would you eat ‘em with a spork?
Would you eat ‘em with with roast pork?
You may like them, they’re not obscene
You may like them in chow mien.
Eat them! Eat them! There they are!
Eat them! Eat them! Be a Spam superstar!
Spam Fried Rice
Ingredients:3 cups cold, cooked rice, chunks broken up so grains are loose & separate
1/2 can of Spam, cut into small dice
2 eggs, beaten
2 stalks green onion, minced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, finely chopped
1 tbl Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 tsp soy sauce (or 1 tsp fish sauce)
freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat cooking oil in large pan over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add eggs and gently stir to cook eggs. When eggs are about 80% cooked through (still a little runny), remove from pan and set aside. Wipe pan clean.
2. Turn heat to high. Add a little more cooking oil to pan. When hot, add diced Spam to the pan. Cook until spam is browned on all sides. Add green onions, ginger and garlic, fry until fragrant. Add spinach, fry until softened. Add rice and the cooked eggs and toss to incorporate all ingredients throughout rice.
3. Let it all just sit still in the pan so that the grains of rice have a chance to heat up, about 1 minute. Toss so that the rice that is on the top now is on the bottom. Add cooking wine and soy sauce and stir again. Season with fresh ground pepper. Cook until every grain of rice is heated through.
4. Taste...salty enough? If not, add a little more soy. But since the spam is salty already, you might want to go light on the soy.