27 November 2006


No, not the annoying, unsolicited e-mail variety. The original SPAM invented in Austin, Minnesota in 1937. The much maligned can of congealed meat delight with a shelf life of a gazillion years.

Austin is merely a 20-minute drive from my hometown of Owatonna. On Friday afternoon, my brother and his daughter joined GLH and me for a trip to the SPAM Museum. This was our first trip, but my brother had been there before and enjoyed it enough for a second trip.

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, a trip to the SPAM Museum is fun for the whole family! Those of you who know me, know that I never miss an opportunity to experience the roadside kitsch offered so abundantly on the highways and byways of United States! (Largest ball of twine, anyone?)

Here is my brother and his daughter, posed next to a statue I termed "SPAM Can Sam."

And my niece greatly enjoyed the interactive Hands-On SPAM game, which timed you while you canned the SPAM, cooked it and slapped a label on it. My brother's fastest time was 18 seconds. I clocked in 21 seconds. My niece, only 2 1/2, had a fastest time of 58 seconds with several rounds of practice and some help. Not too shabby!

Top Five Facts about SPAM (provided by Hormel Corporation Public Relations):
1. More than 122 million cans of SPAM are sold world-wide each year.
2. If all the cans of SPAM ever sold were put end to end, it would circle the Earth at least 10 times.
3. Hawaiians are the largest consumers of SPAM with an average annual consumption of 5.5 cans per capita. (Now that's a lot of SPAM!) It is even included as part of a Traditional Thanksgiving meal in many Hawaiian homes.
4. SPAM reached its height of popularity during World War II, when fresh meat became scarce and it supplemented the diet of millions of Americans.
5. Nikita Khrushchev once said that SPAM helped the Russian Army survive during World War II. "Without SPAM, we wouldn't have been able to feed our Army."

On the way back to my parents' house, we stopped by the side of Interstate 90 to capture this amazing sunset. Yes, it is both dangerous and illegal to stop by the side of the interstate for non-emergency purposes, but I think you will agree that the sunset was more than worth it!


Expat Traveler said...

wow - that does look like a lot of fun. And that sunset was incredible..

And thanks for the tease aobut the snow. WE've actually something like 49cms on the ground, no plows, no salt and no snow tires makes for a hard driving time...

Remember this is the West Coast on the ocean! hehe... Yes we are wimps! I'm from warm and sunny california!

The Big Finn said...

Does the SPAM Museum give any reason why Hawai'ians consume so much SPAM? I'm thinking that it probably had something to do with being good surfer food.
I've eaten SPAM in Hawai'i many times, but I don't think I've ever eaten it anywhere else.

Global Librarian said...

They didn't say why it became so popular.

But I theorize that it became popular because fresh meat was once very difficlt to get in Hawaii (island in the middle of nowhere). Even now, fresh meat can be very expensive...