Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spam, wonderful Spam

A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting my mother when I noticed a hunk of Spam sitting on the kitchen counter.

We in the Swart family grew up on Spam. Fried Spam sandwiches ... makes my mouth water; although I haven't eaten any Spam in probably 20 years.

Now I'm reading today in the New York Times how the Minnesota company that makes Spam is in boom country.

The economy is in tatters and, for millions of people, the future is uncertain. But for some employees at the Hormel Foods Corporation plant here, times have never been better. They are working at a furious pace and piling up all the overtime they want.

The workers make Spam, perhaps the emblematic hard-times food in the American pantry.
Hormel says “it’s like meat with a pause button," the piece goes on to say.

Hot diggity dog.

And sales of another product, Velveeta (a Kraft product that bears the same passing resemblance to cheese as Spam bears to ham), is also booming.

Spam as comfort food?

Yeah, well, along with Kool-Aid, Jell-O and boxed macaroni and cheese, it seems people are turning back to foods from their childhood that they may have nixed in times of prosperity.

Or, as the piece suggests, it's all about the pocketbook.

Even as consumers are cutting back on all sorts of goods, Spam is among a select group of thrifty grocery items that are selling steadily.

Pancake mixes and instant potatoes are booming. So are vitamins, fruit and vegetable preservatives and beer, according to data from October compiled by Information Resources, a market research firm.

“We’ve seen a double-digit increase in the sale of rice and beans,” said Teena Massingill, spokeswoman for the Safeway grocery chain, in an e-mail message. “They’re real belly fillers.”

Sure, I'll go back to Spam. Problem is, will I have a pot in which to fry some up? And if I do, will some singing Vikings appear?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gillian,

Forget about the rice & beans! Have a Spam and Velveeta Fondue Party! Its the In Thing among all the budget-minded hipsters in town.

James

P.S. Tip: Spam cubes larger than two inches, while challenging in a fun kind of way, can be awkward for neophyte foduers.

Gillian Swart said...

Ewww, James! You sound way too knowledgeable about this! ... I'm picturing clumps of undigested Spam and globs of Velveeta clogging up my intestinal tract. (Just kidding, Hormel - I actually like Spam; I just never think to buy any.)

sds said...

hi,

try a slice with extra-sharp cheddar cheese grilled in a pan over a campfire.

there is nothing better when you wake up on the side of a mountain.

do you all know about Hawaii and Spam? look it up, rather interesting.

thanks,
sds