In the Beginning: 11 Days and Counting

Image credit: 

Here's another teaser from our newest new book In the Beginning... Enjoy!

SPAM PART I: The Meat

51yai+MKH5L._AA240_.jpgFirst, let's get the ingredients out of the way. SPAM is chopped pork shoulder meat with ham, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrite. Unless, that is, it's SPAM Lite, in which case there's also some chicken thrown in there. Or SPAM Oven Roasted Turkey, which includes (we assume) turkey and is suitable for Muslims.

Pushing Tin

Now that we know what it's made of, why? SPAM was invented in the late-Depression era, in 1937, which may explain at least some of why it seemed like a good idea: people were desperate. According to Nikita Khrushchev's book, Khrushchev Remembers, SPAM was a godsend for another hungry group — Russian soldiers inWorldWar II. For a further illustration of how bad things were, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher "“ who we really, really can't imagine eating SPAM — reportedly once referred to it as a "wartime delicacy."

More after the jump...

38197-spam.jpgAnd what does SPAM "“ sorry, we have to capitalize it that way, Hormel says so "“ actually stand for? Despite convincing evidence, it doesn't stand for "something posing as meat." The company's official explanation is that it's short for "spiced ham," but
that wasn't always its party line. Hormel has also stated in the past that the name stands for "shoulder of pork and ham," although we can sort of understand why it wouldn't necessarily want to drive home the whole shoulder thing today.The name was suggested by Kenneth Daigneau, an actor who received the $100 prize in a contest Hormel had
sponsored. Conveniently, he just happened to be the brother of a Hormel vice president. We think there's just a little too much mystery in this mystery meat. Then again, SPAM has sold over 6 billion cans, and what have we done lately?

Oh, and if you liked this post, here are some other delicious origins you might want to read about: The Birth of Roller Coaster, The Very Strange Origins of the Dishwasher, A James Bond Story (for your eyes only!), and the Fascinating Tribe behind the original Bungee Jump.

Remember: In the Beginning goes on sale November 1st, and will be available at (respectable) bookstores everywhere!

More from mental_floss...

October 19, 2007 - 2:22pm
submit to reddit