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By Kellene Bishop


spam-in-a-canI’ve encountered some pretty strong facial expressions when I insinuate that having SPAM in one’s food storage is an asset.  And to be forthright, I totally get it.  Even when we were dirt poor, my mother never made us eat it.  However, I wasn’t educated in matters of emergency preparedness then either.  But I certainly am now, and as a result, have come to embrace the wonders of SPAM.  I’ve discovered that if I cook with it much like I would chicken or pork in a recipe, then it’s delightful.


And no, the irony that I’m writing about SPAM today in face of the Swine Flu has not escaped me.  I guess I’m just warped that way.  


I have some great recipes that I’ve tried out and adapted for “food storage” available ingredients, but before I do that, I thought I’d share a couple of factoids about SPAM for you.


A 2 ounce serving contains 7 grams of protein and 15 grams of fat—two important components for the body during an emergency.


Residents of Hawaii and Guam consume the most amount of SPAM per capita than any of the other areas, including 41 countries in which SPAM is sold.  In fact, SPAM is sold on the McDonald’s menu in Guam and the Burger King menu in Hawaii—known as the “Hawaiian Steak.” 

spam-soldier-eatingSPAM was widely used during World War II in Okinawa and the Philippines due to it being an effective way to get meat to the front lines.  Soldiers had to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  As such, they began to joke that SPAM was simply “ham that didn’t pass its physical” or “meatloaf without basic training.”  Surpluses of SPAM from the soldiers’ supplies made their way into native diets.  Consequently, SPAM is a unique part of the history and effects of U.S. influence in the Pacific.  

SPAM comes in 12 different flavor varieties, including garlic, hot and spicy, and a roasted turkey version.

Due to its low cost, it’s long been stigmatized as “poor people food.”


SPAM is consumed all over the world in fried rice, stir fried with noodles, in sandwiches, burritos, and fried on the sides and served with eggs.  It’s even been used in sushi rolls.


Every year, Austin, MN has a Jam celebration in honor of the food which includes fireworks and a carnival-type setting. Waikiki, HI does something similar as well each year.  Austin, TX holds a Spamarama each year which conducts a Cook-off Contest as well.


My suggestion is that you begin familiarizing yourself with SPAM now, so that you can successfully use it in your meal preparation in the (not so distant?) future.


3 tbsp butter or oleo or vegetable oil                  
7-oz can SPAM, cubed 1/4"
1/2 cup of dried chopped onion                      
10 pitted black olives, chopped
1/2 cup of dried chopped green pepper        
6 eggs (or equivalent of dried eggs, rehydrated)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (or dried equivalent)
2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp pepper

In 10-inch omelet pan or skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat.  Add onion, green pepper and potatoes; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisply tender (5 to 7 minutes).  Add SPAM and olives; continue cooking until SPAM is heated through.  Loosen sautéed ingredients from bottom of pan; add remaining 1 tbsp butter.  Tilt pan to cover bottom with butter.  In small bowl mix eggs, water, and pepper; pour over SPAM mixture.  Cover; cook over low heat 12 to 15 minutes or until egg mixture is set on top.  With pancake turner, loosen edges and bottom; invert onto serving platter.  Yield: 6 servings

Hearty Spam and Bean Soup

2 cups dried pinto beans, wash and soak overnight (or make this in a pressure cooker)
12 oz can SPAM, cubed 1/2"           
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 quart water       
3 bay leaves
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp cumin
2 (13-oz) cans tomato juice              
1 (14-oz) cans chicken stock            
1 medium onion, chopped (or dried equivalent)                        

In 4-quart saucepan add all ingredients; stir to blend.  Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until soup is thickened (3 to 4 hours or 30 minutes in a pressure cooker).  Remove bay leaves.  Yield: 6 servings

Spaghetti SPAM Carbonara  

1 1/2 lbs spaghetti             
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil                     
12-oz can SPAM, cubed 1/4"           
1/2 cup chopped onion                     
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
ground pepper

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in skillet cook SPAM and onion in oil and butter over medium heat until lightly browned.  Set aside.  When spaghetti is cooked, drain; return to pot.  Add eggs; toss to combine.  Add SPAM mixture, cheese and parsley; toss to combine.  Season to taste with pepper.  Serve immediately.  Yield: 6 servings.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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