Richard Lee via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Richard Lee via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

7 Spam Dishes Eaten Around the World

Richard Lee via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Richard Lee via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Few things are more American than processed meat in a can. But the appeal of Spam—the porky, salty luncheon loaf produced by Hormel—transcends national borders. If you’re still waiting to be turned on to the wonders of Spam, perhaps the addition of Velveeta, nori, or mushy peas will help it go down easier.


lint01 via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Spam migrated to England during World War II. The product’s long shelf life made it a convenient source of protein for U.S. troops and rationing turned it into a delicacy for the citizens of the places they occupied. Today fresh meat is much easier to come by in the UK, but Brits still have a soft spot in their hearts for the canned stuff. One popular British preparation of the ingredient puts a twist on the classic fish and chips. Spam fritters are made by dredging slices of the meat in batter and frying them up in a pan. The proper British serving suggestion calls for thick-cut chips and mushy peas on the side.


Spam rivals scrapple as one of the most unusual meat products to appear on a breakfast plate. In the Philippines, it’s fried up like bacon and served alongside rice and a sunny side up egg. When you put all the components together—Spam, sinangag (fried rice), and pritong itlog (fried egg)—you get Spamsilog. Tomatoes and cucumbers on the side are optional.


If one dish perfectly sums up the mish-mash of cultures that make up Hawaii, it’s Spam musabi. At first glance it resembles traditional sushi with a strip of nori (seaweed) binding together rice and protein. But upon closer inspection you’ll see the protein is actually a slice of crispy, caramelized Spam. On the islands this treat can be found everywhere from school cafeterias to 7-Elevens.


Puerto Rico’s Sandwich de Mezcla (or “the mix”) is an unapologetic celebration of processed goodness. The contents consist of canned pimentos, Velveeta or Cheez Whiz, and Spam all blended together in a food processor. It’s smeared between two slices of white bread and commonly served at parties.


Dominiek ter Heide via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Okinawa is home to a vibrant food scene—one that includes soba noodles, taco rice, and yes, Spam. Goya Chanpuru, made from tofu, egg, bitter gourd, and cubes of Spam, is one of the island’s signature dishes. The American product weaseled its way into the local cuisine through the U.S. military’s occupation of Okinawa during World War II. The history of the stir-fry actually dates back 1000 years, but when SBS asked a 90-year-old Okinawa native what was used in the dish before Spam she replied, “I don’t even remember.”


Cecil Lee via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In South Korea, Spam is marketed as a luxury product and given as a gift at holidays. Koreans consume so much of it that their population of 50 million people make up the world’s second largest Spam market (right behind the U.S., which has a population of over 300 million). The nation’s most iconic Spam dish is Budae Jjigae, or army stew. There’s a lot going on with this recipe: In addition to Spam, it contains kimchi, chili paste, hot dogs, beans, pre-packaged cheese, and instant ramen noodles. The dish originated during the Korean War when locals were desperate for food. Army rations smuggled out of U.S. bases were tossed together in a pot and spiced with traditional Korean flavors to create the gut-busting meal. The dish, which comes served in a gigantic bowl, is meant to be shared.


Macaroni soup is so ubiquitous in Hong Kong that it’s included on McDonald’s breakfast menus. Traditionally served with a slice of ham, Spam became the starring ingredient when it was introduced by British colonizers in the 1940s. The recipe isn’t overly complicated: canned corn adds some crunch while the egg on top passes it off as a breakfast dish no matter where in the world you're dining.

Bad Moods Might Make You More Productive

Being in a bad mood at work might not be such a bad thing. New research shows that foul moods can lead to better executive function—the mental processing that handles skills like focus, self-control, creative thinking, mental flexibility, and working memory. But the benefit might hinge on how you go through emotions.

As part of the study, published in Personality and Individual Differences, a pair of psychologists at the University of Waterloo in Canada subjected more than 90 undergraduate students to a battery of tests designed to measure their working memory and inhibition control, two areas of executive function. They also gave the students several questionnaires designed to measure their emotional reactivity and mood over the previous week.

They found that some people who were in slightly bad moods performed significantly better on the working memory and inhibition tasks, but the benefit depended on how the person experienced emotion. Specifically, being in a bit of a bad mood seemed to boost the performance of participants with high emotional reactivity, meaning that they’re sensitive, have intense reactions to situations, and hold on to their feelings for a long time. People with low emotional reactivity performed worse on the tasks when in a bad mood, though.

“Our results show that there are some people for whom a bad mood may actually hone the kind of thinking skills that are important for everyday life,” one of the study’s co-authors, psychology professor Tara McAuley, said in a press statement. Why people with bigger emotional responses experience this boost but people with less-intense emotions don’t is an open question. One hypothesis is that people who have high emotional reactivity are already used to experiencing intense emotions, so they aren’t as fazed by their bad moods. However, more research is necessary to tease out those factors.

[h/t Big Think]

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
The 10 Wildest Movie Plot Twists
Laura Harring in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Laura Harring in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

An ending often makes or breaks a movie. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as having the rug pulled out from under you, particularly in a thriller. But too many flicks that try to shock can’t stick the landing—they’re outlandish and illogical, or signal where the plot is headed. Not all of these films are entirely successful, but they have one important attribute in common: From the classic to the cultishly beloved, they involve hard-to-predict twists that really do blow viewers’ minds, then linger there for days, if not life. (Warning: Massive spoilers below.)

1. PSYCHO (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock often constructed his movies like neat games that manipulated the audience. The Master of Suspense delved headfirst into horror with Psycho, which follows a secretary (Janet Leigh) who sneaks off with $40,000 and hides in a motel. The ensuing jolt depends on Leigh’s fame at the time: No one expected the ostensible star and protagonist to die in a gory (for the time) shower butchering only a third of the way into the running time. Hitchcock outdid that feat with the last-act revelation that Anthony Perkins’s supremely creepy Norman Bates is embodying his dead mother.


No, not the botched Tim Burton remake that tweaked the original movie’s famous reveal in a way that left everyone scratching their heads. The Charlton Heston-starring sci-fi gem continues to stupefy anyone who comes into its orbit. Heston, of course, plays an astronaut who travels to a strange land where advanced apes lord over human slaves. It becomes clear once he finds the decrepit remains of the Statue of Liberty that he’s in fact on a future Earth. The anti-violence message, especially during the political tumult of 1968, shook people up as much as the time warp.

3. DEEP RED (1975)

It’s not rare for a horror movie to flip the script when it comes to unmasking its killer, but it’s much rarer that such a film causes a viewer to question their own perception of the world around them. Such is the case for Deep Red, Italian director Dario Argento’s (Suspiria) slasher masterpiece. A pianist living in Rome (David Hemmings) comes upon the murder of a woman in her apartment and teams up with a female reporter to find the person responsible. Argento’s whodunit is filled to the brim with gorgeous photography, ghastly sights, and delirious twists. But best of all is the final sequence, in which the pianist retraces his steps to discover that the killer had been hiding in plain sight all along. Rewind to the beginning and you’ll discover that you caught an unknowing glimpse, too.


Sleepaway Camp is notorious among horror fans for a number of reasons: the bizarre, stilted acting and dialogue; hilariously amateurish special effects; and ‘80s-to-their-core fashions. But it’s best known for the mind-bending ending, which—full disclosure—reads as possibly transphobic today, though it’s really hard to say what writer-director Robert Hiltzik had in mind. Years after a boating accident that leaves one of two siblings dead, Angela is raised by her aunt and sent to a summer camp with her cousin, where a killer wreaks havoc. In the lurid climax, we see that moody Angela is not only the murderer—she’s actually a boy. Her aunt, who always wanted a daughter, raised her as if she were her late brother. The final animalistic shot prompts as many gasps as cackles.


The Usual Suspects has left everyone who watches it breathless by the time they get to the fakeout conclusion. Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey), a criminal with cerebral palsy, regales an interrogator in the stories of his exploits with a band of fellow crooks, seen in flashback. Hovering over this is the mysterious villainous figure Keyser Söze. It’s not until Verbal leaves and jumps into a car that customs agent David Kujan realizes that the man fabricated details, tricking the law and the viewer into his fake reality, and is in fact the fabled Söze.

6. PRIMAL FEAR (1996)

No courtroom movie can surpass Primal Fear’s discombobulating effect. Richard Gere’s defense attorney becomes strongly convinced that his altar boy client Aaron (Edward Norton) didn’t commit the murder of an archbishop with which he’s charged. The meek, stuttering Aaron has sudden violent outbursts in which he becomes "Roy" and is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, leading to a not guilty ruling. Gere’s lawyer visits Aaron about the news, and as he’s leaving, a wonderfully maniacal Norton reveals that he faked the multiple personalities.

7. FIGHT CLUB (1999)

Edward Norton is no stranger to taking on extremely disparate personalities in his roles, from Primal Fear to American History X. The unassuming actor can quickly turn vicious, which led to ideal casting for Fight Club, director David Fincher’s adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel. Fincher cleverly keeps the audience in the dark about the connections between Norton’s timid, unnamed narrator and Brad Pitt’s hunky, aggressive Tyler Durden. After the two start the titular bruising group, the plot significantly increases the stakes, with the club turning into a sort of anarchist terrorist organization. The narrator eventually comes to grips with the fact that he is Tyler and has caused all the destruction around him.


Early in his career, M. Night Shyamalan was frequently (perhaps a little too frequently) compared to Hitchcock for his ability to ratchet up tension while misdirecting his audience. He hasn’t always earned stellar reviews since, but The Sixth Sense remains deservedly legendary for its final twist. At the end of the ghost story, in which little Haley Joel Osment can see dead people, it turns out that the psychologist (Bruce Willis) who’s been working with the boy is no longer living himself, the result of a gunshot wound witnessed in the opening sequence.

9. THE OTHERS (2001)

The Sixth Sense’s climax was spooky, but not nearly as unnerving as Nicole Kidman’s similarly themed ghost movie The Others, released just a couple years later. Kidman gives a superb performance in the elegantly styled film from the Spanish writer-director Alejandro Amenábar, playing a mother in a country house after World War II protecting her photosensitive children from light and, eventually, dead spirits occupying the place. Only by the end does it become clear that she’s in denial about the fact that she’s a ghost, having killed her children in a psychotic break before committing suicide. It’s a bleak capper to a genuinely haunting yarn.


David Lynch’s surrealist movies may follow dream logic, but that doesn’t mean their plots can’t be readily discerned. Mulholland Drive is his most striking work precisely because, in spite of its more wacko moments, it adds up to a coherent, tragic story. The mystery starts innocently enough with the dark-haired Rita (Laura Elena Harring) waking up with amnesia from a car accident in Los Angeles and piecing together her identity alongside the plucky aspiring actress Betty (Naomi Watts). It takes a blue box to unlock the secret that Betty is in fact Diane, who is in love with and envious of Camilla (also played by Harring) and has concocted a fantasy version of their lives. The real Diane arranges for Camilla to be killed, leading to her intense guilt and suicide. Only Lynch can go from Nancy Drew to nihilism so swiftly and deftly.


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