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Whether we're talking about internet snake-oil sales pitches, or mystery meat in a can, it's a fact of life. We can't live without exposure to both of them at some time or another, whether we like it or not.

But how much do we really know about either? I realize that an exploration of SPAM is may seem like being forced to work for a day in the vet lab that analyzes your dog's poop, but hey, if you had anything better to do, you wouldn't be reading this.

SPAM, it turns out, has been around since 1937. Say what you will, that's some product longevity, right there. It's sold all over the world, and is not only produced in Austin, Minnesota (home of the world famous Spam Museum), but also in Denmark, the Phillipines, and South Korea. And somebody likes it, because as of 2007, over 7 billion cans have been sold.

Not to be outdone by the Austin in Minnesota, Texans had to get into the act as well. So for almost 30 years (1976-2007), Austin, Texas held the annual Spamarama festival around April Fool's Day. Unfortunately, as of 2008, Spamarama was canned. One cannot help but note the irony in the demise of this salty celebration due to the recession, when more folks than ever may be sampling their very first can of this budget protein source.

Luckily for us, there's still plenty of SPAM itself to go around. It's even been preserved for posterity in the Spam Museum, and immortalized in song by none other than Weird Al Yankovic.

But now to everyone's favorite type of SPAM, the type so eagerly foisted upon us in our emailboxes, and even on the front page of the Reader, none-too-cleverly disguised as "blogs." Now, I always assumed that like most cryptic geekisms, SPAM must be some sort of acronym standing for something that the antigeekess had not yet sussed out. Something along the lines of Silly Pugnacious Advertising Missive, or Somebody's Perfectly Annoying Message. WRONG!

Many readers may be aware of the legit factoids regarding this already, but for those who are not, allow me to shine a bit of Grail light upon our mutual cluelessness. The term SPAM is in fact derived from the 1970 Monty Python SPAM sketch, in which -- whether she likes it or not -- Mrs. Bun is apparently going to be having some SPAM -- yes, the kind in the blue can -- for lunch. (I'm pretty sure the Vikings are marketing execs.)

And just in case we hadn't had enough of SPAM in its various forms, in 2005 Broadway was gifted with Spamalot, based on the film Monty Python & the Holy Grail. The name "Spamalot" is derived from a song performed in Broadway fashion by the Knights of the Round Table when Arthur and his knights visit Camelot, where they "eat ham and jam and SPAM a lot."

The final word on the subject of SPAM comes from my email box.

Subject: Warning about canned meat.

If you receive a warning from the Department of Health,

Telling you not to eat pork from cans,

Because of swine flu.....

Ignore it.

It's just spam.

More like this:

Comments
55

"The term SPAM is in fact derived from the 1970 Monty Python SPAM sketch,"

Noooo, really?! Sly spam! :)

Oct. 26, 2009

"...and even on the front page of the Reader, none-too-cleverly disguised as "blogs."

As much as I hate these fake"blogs" or BLAM as they're known,unless they're selling something blatantly obvious,they're not technically SPAM. Yes,they are annoying but it's kind of discrimintory to say"Yes,(regular Reader contributer),you can have a blog that talks about absolutely nothing but THIS PERSON can't because it might be SPAM".I doubt there can be any legal basis for crying discrimination but that fact remains to be seen. Everytime one of us goes on to these BLAMs and posts over and over SPAM ALERT! or SPAM! SPAM! SPAM!,we're creating more blatant SPAM than what we're trying to get rid of.

Definition of BLAM-Using a blog to promote something. Definition of SPAM-Filling up the comments on a blog with ridiculous tihs.

What ever happened to anonymously letting the Reader know about these"blogs" or.....here's a great idea! Ignore it! By drawing attention to said"blog",all you're doing is getting more people to look at it thereby justifying the entire reason behind the"blog"itself.

Oct. 26, 2009

Having lived in Iowa and traveled to Mini Soda a few times, I have had the pleasure of passing by the large billboard for the Spam museum. In fact, it is a giant Spam container with the lid pulled back about halfway. Not being a big Spam fan I found this to be both humorous and frightening.

As for the internet spam, before the internet it was door-to-door salesman. It's not going away no matter the stage.

Oct. 26, 2009

"In fact, it is a giant Spam container with the lid pulled back about halfway. Not being a big Spam fan I found this to be both humorous and frightening."

I would love to see this, if it could pick up and roll itself here.

Adam, are you a veggie-tarian? :)

Oct. 26, 2009

No, I'm a meat-atarian. A flesh eater, if you will. Or as the scientists put it, a carnivore. Not that I have anything against non-meat eaters, or even vegans, but I admit it, I love meat.

I wish I got a picture of that billboard. It's pretty classic. I tried to Google the billboard but all I found were pics of the museum itself.

Oct. 26, 2009

Thanks Pete. I couldn't find much, either. It's right up in northern Iowa along I-35 shortly before the MN border. Next time I'm in Iowa and take a trip up north (which seems pretty damn unlikely), I'll be sure to get a pic of it, just for you SD. And you too, Pete. Ok, ok. You too, Toto.

Oct. 26, 2009

That billboard's an elusive little bugger, ain't it? Can't believe none of us can locate it on the net. YouTube does, of course, have a great museum tour vid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHQH5tpopN4

I'm hungry. Maybe I'll go have some SPAM.

http://files.byondhome.com/Teka123/2008-12/IcewarriorX-0001/borat_not.jpg

(Okay, that was it. I'll try to resist the urge to use that one from now on. I promise.)

Oct. 26, 2009

Not to get into a pissing match with any native Minnesotans on here but you now know the difference in Midwest states.

Illinois(my homestate):Land of Lincoln.

Wisconsin(where I'd rather be):Land of fat farmgirls who put out after two beers,Leinenkugel's Brewery,best cheese ever(they say God pisses in every block of Sharp Cheddar produced) and The Packers(12x World Champions).

Minnesota:Land of SPAM and crappy football.

Oct. 26, 2009

Pete, I've been through Illinois multiple times in various parts of the state. My first thought was that it made no sense why Chicago isn't its own state. The difference between that city and the rest of the state is unbelievable. I found the rest of the state to be very scenic but Chicago to be a very clean city. Quite nice, actually. Unfortunately it's full of wind and Cubs fans. As for Wisconsin, never been but know people from there. I, too, have heard about the cheese. As for Minnesota, honestly, outside of the kick-ass amount of lakes they have and also a few areas of great scenery, I find Minnesota to be rather plain, too. I think this sums it up. On the way back from Minneapolis one time, an ex-girlfriend and I passed a sign for a town called Hope. We were hungry so decided to pull in, thinking the name of the town might set the tone for some good eats. Well, we found out that Hope is a ghost town. I think that sums up Minnesota pretty well. By the way, "Hope is a ghost town" became sort of an inside joke between us and I've been trying to work it into either a song or a story ever since.

Oct. 26, 2009

Oh man, that's killer: "Hope is a ghost town." Sheesh, if Bob the Guru had said that to me, we wouldn't be talkin' right now!

Oct. 26, 2009

AG You just teasin me. YOU KNOW DON'T YOU that Clay Aiken was in Spamalot and closed the show last year!!!!

Oh, and I love Spam!!! It's very popular among Hawaiians, of which there are many here in San Diego, and they make scrummy food with it. :)

Great thread! Thanks for clearing up that mystery, by the way, I always wondered why they called spam Spam!!

Oct. 26, 2009

Yes, Cuddle, I know that Clay was in Spamalot.

I was trying to ignore that fact.

:)

Okay, here he is:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_0A_iIbV4CZc/SLYrp9uUsZI/AAAAAAAAACY/StpyFCpp23k/s400/clay_aiken.jpg

Oct. 26, 2009

LOL sigh :)

Oct. 26, 2009

Re #13: Spam Musubi may be the single greatest food every to grace the planet. There is an L&L next to work and I go there alllll the time for some sushi styled Spam. I love Spam! When I was a kid I went to summer camp and there was a rare and elusive midnight Spam kebab frying and moxie drinking circle in which I was sometimes included.

Oct. 26, 2009

My grandmother used to make fried eggs over and fried potatoes and fried Spam for breakfast, yum!! Fried Spam with Mac and cheese is good, yum!!

Oct. 26, 2009

All Spam is good.

SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM....WONDERFUL SPAAAAAM!

Oct. 26, 2009

Adam-Chicago IS a very clean town but the violence that comes out of there is amazing. I survived some brutal visions in that city and the surrounding suburbs. I'll never forget some of the things I saw. I once had a psychologist tell me that I was a classic case of PTSD. He told me that if I could survive 21 years in Chicago,I could survive 4 years in prison. His analogy was:It's the difference between day camp and military school.

CuddleFish-Specially Processed American Meats http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_(food)

For all you SPAM lovers,let it be known that you can have my share. I can't stand SPAM.

Oct. 26, 2009

Don't diss Clay Aiken. He was absolutely fabulous in Spamalot. But he did not close the show. His run ended a week before it closed. He was in the audience closing night.

Oct. 26, 2009

Oh, I wasn't dissing Clay, azalea. I like him quite a lot, actually. Thought he was wonderful on AI.

It's just that Cuddle has a BIT of an obsession with him, which was just explored extensively in another thread.

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/dailymusto/images/spamalot_walk.jpg

:)

Oct. 26, 2009

"Hope is a ghost town."

If "Bob" uttered this phrase in a dark alley, it would not bode well for Cuddle. In this case, copious and immediate screaming might be appropriate ;)

Interlude:

SPAM!... I'm gonna eat it forever, light up my plate like a flame...SPAM!...I'm gonna learn how to lie...SPAM! I'm gonna make it to heaven...remember that SPAM is my name. [remember, remember,remember,...SPAM!]

Oct. 26, 2009

AG was just ragging on me, Azalea, she's not picking on the Clayman!!! We's buds, me and AG!! I'm actually lucky that all my pals here are indulging my obsession!! I figure sooner or later they either gonna call Atascadero to come and get me, or throw a shoe and tell me to shut the cup up!!

Oct. 26, 2009

Well, Bob was a wonder, all right. Was so funny when he had that meltdown on the phone!!!

Oct. 26, 2009

I saw Spamalot in Boston, ackshully. Twas awesome.

Oct. 26, 2009

"I figure sooner or later they either gonna call Atascadero to come and get me, or throw a shoe and tell me to shut the cup up!!"

Nooo, with us, you will simply be forced to rhapsodize in blog form. Ahem: Wherever could that achin' for Aiken blog be...?

Oct. 26, 2009

Ooooh dear, will put in on the list, have a few other blogs ahead of him, though!! BTW, where's the one you promised us, the fictionalized celeb romance thread???

Oct. 26, 2009

I have two more full days of work catch-up, then will take a couple few weeks off. So, I'll start working on it in a few days, among other blog ideas--including communal projects :)

Oct. 27, 2009

RE #26:

LOL. Oh, he's MOS DEF getting a can of SPAM.

:)

Oct. 27, 2009

i actually remember Spam Samiches from the 40's with Miracle Whip instead of Mayonnaise

so don't ya be dissin' my childhood favorite

YYYUUUMMMMMM SPAM!!!

Nov. 3, 2009

SDaniels...u work???

Nov. 3, 2009

uh oh spam definition

i think i'm guilty...lololol

Nov. 3, 2009

re: 33: Can you clarify that question, nan--including a definition of work? :)

Nov. 3, 2009

There is a pretty good book on the subject (if you are an IT dork like me) called Spam Kings:http://www.amazon.com/Spam-Kings-High-Rolling-Hucksters-Enlargements/dp/0596007329

It really is a high dollar industry... and we spend a fair percentage of our time trying to protect and educate our users from and about spam, viruses, trojans, phishing and all the other evils of the Internet.

That being said... I like Spam, too (the "meat"). Spamburgers, Spam Musubi and Spam and eggs are too damn good.

Great blog AG. Beware Spam Flu. - Joe

Nov. 3, 2009

ooooooooooooooo...spam and eggs...u can have that before you go to work SDaniels...hahahahaha...that smokey flavored spam

nummy num!!!

Nov. 3, 2009

Wait a min.. Nan, the 40s?

So, you are in your late 60s or early 70s?

Nov. 3, 2009

... or was that not an appropriate question?

Nov. 3, 2009

Remember, Joe, all women are 29 unless they tell you otherwise. Life is so much more simple that way.

Nov. 3, 2009

You can learn so much for Borat.

Nov. 3, 2009

re: #37: nan, I work at home. We eat fish, but no other meat, so presumably Spam is off the list, as it contains horse and dog, I think :) As for smoky flavor, we got this sliced smoke-style soy lunchmeat that is actually pretty tasty!

re: #40: That really is some wisdom for the 'ages,' isn't it? :)

re: #41: This is becoming a kind of tic, isn't it AG? Borat's Tourette's? :)

Nov. 3, 2009

I love the "Not!"

Nov. 3, 2009

Re #43:

Yeah, I said I was going to retire Borat, but then Joe asked that silly question, and even Borat knew the answer. Even in Kazakhstan, they know better than that.

:)

Nov. 3, 2009

I don't think you should retire Borat either--NOT!

Kidding, I vote you keep him in your repertoire.

Nov. 3, 2009

You should keep Borat around. Every once in a while someone needs to be put in their place..

  • Joe
Nov. 4, 2009

re: #10: Pete, I emailed you on where to find Charleston Chews. In return, I want the lowdown on the BEST possible Wisconsin cheeses, listed in order of sharpness and yumminess levels.

Nov. 4, 2009

I can't believe it, but according to Pete's link in #19, there is NO WIKI ARTICLE ON SPAM!!!!

Who among ye SPAM lovers will step up--to the PLATE? Could this be the communal writing project we've been seeking, apart from Pike's libretto?

I leave it to you SPAMMERS to decide.

A QUESTION FOR EXPERTS ON KITSCHY, NOSTALGIC FOODS:

I once made an amusing set of inquiries of Hormel, Kraft, and various companies making processed meat 'foods;' was trying to find a true recipe--and a good photo-- for the "Stockade Roast." Even tried food sites like Epicurious, and Chowhound. People had some fun things to share, but no stockade roast :(

Here's a book I want to get, called "Retro Food Fiascos." Anybody read this already?

http://www.amazon.com/Retro-Food-Fiascos-Collection-Concoctions/dp/1888054883

Anyway, the Stockade Roast is a very special dish, consisting of a kind of meat lump, like a meatloaf, with a catsup glaze, surrounded by a "stockade" structure of hot dogs, used kinda like Lincoln logs. It is paramount that pimiento-stuffed olives are used to decorate. I was thinking of making a veggie version with soy dogs, and making a big pile of mashed taters, as though the 'stockade' is resting in holiday snow drifts. As is common with American recipes from the 50s, a vegetable may be present in the form of tufts of curly parsley.

You know, it occurs that the stockade roast might be doable with SPAM, too...

Nov. 4, 2009

The stockade roast sounds like an urban legend to me, SD!

Nov. 4, 2009

There's a wiki page on SPAM, SD. You just have to look for it. As for a wiki article, I'm not sure what exactly that is.

Nov. 4, 2009

You can call the content of the page an article, Pete--can be used as a general term. The link you posted in #19 declared that there was no Spam article, and I looked no further.

Nov. 4, 2009

Ah. If you click where is says "Please search for Spam (food in Wkipedia..." near the top of the page and then click on the first listing-Spam(food)-you'll get to the page.

Nov. 4, 2009

Cool, but what of my stockade roast, Pete. Got time to find that? I'll make you guys one... :)

Nov. 4, 2009

Stockade roast? Sounds good as long as it's SPAM-free. :-D

Nov. 4, 2009

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