Happy birthday, Spam. The ‘mystery meat’ is 80-years-old today.
Spam is more than just tinned pork. The product, which first hit shelves in 1937, has been celebrated, maligned, even turned into a musical. There’s a Spam festival in Hawaii, a Spam museum in Minnesota, US.
You might remember when a man whose middle name is ‘I Love Spam’ had a Spam-themed wedding?
Spam! Lovely Spam!
(Photo: Press Association)
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Spam fed soldiers throughout the Second World War, is seen as a luxury meat in Korea, where it’s used in ramen, and is now available in flavours such as garlic, teriyaki, hickory smoke, and Portuguese sausage. Some people eat things called ‘crusty Spam bake’. The foodstuff is a cultural institution.
But despite Spam’s global fame, it’s New Yorker and Eater analyses, and its iconic blue tins, relatively few people know what the four words actually stand for.
SPAM means ‘Sizzle. Pork. And. Mmm.’
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Yes. These days Spam tells us, via its relatively low key Twitter bio and its retro funky website, that the four letters mean ‘Sizzle. Pork. And. Mmm’.
There’s still an urban myth mincing about that suggests the four letters stand for ‘Scientifically Processed Animal Matter’. Others have mused that it means ‘Shoulder of Pork and Ham’.
Spam manufacturer Hormel once apparently said the acronym simply meant ‘Spiced Ham’. But it appears the product has since had a facelift.
(Photo: Liverpool Echo)