SPAM: A Biography: The Amazing True Story of America's "Miracle Meat!"

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9780156004770: SPAM: A Biography: The Amazing True Story of America's

Over sixty years ago, when meat was bought from a butcher, Jay Hormel's idea for pork in a can was nothing short of revolutionary. How in the world (and why in the world) did he do it? In nine highly engaging and entertaining chapters, complete with over 200 illustrations and photos, author and Spam-fan Carolyn Wyman traces the unbelievable success story of this one-of-a-kind, all-American, all-pork product, including: Spam's place in history, its role during World War II, and how Spam saved the Russian army from starvation, the making (yes, the ingredients) and the selling of Spam, from 1937 to today, spamming the Globe: From Zimbabwe to Anguilla, stories of Spam overseas, the infamous Monty Python skit and Spam's other starring roles and cameos in television, movies, cartoons, and music, delectable recipes like Spam Fritters, Spamtastic Mincemeat Truffles, and the award-winning Spam Cheesecake, Cyber Spam: The best of Spam on the Internet, including poetry from the Spam Haiku Archive. A fascinating portrait of an icon in a can, Spam: A Biography will delight everyone from the culinarily curious and connoisseurs of kitsch to netheads and veterans-and of course, Spam's true fans: the millions of people who eat America's "Miracle Meat" for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. SPAM-tistics: (1)Spam is sold in over 45 countries around the world. (2)Over 100 million cans are consumed by 60 million Americans each year, averaging 2.8 cans per second (3)The Spam can is part of the Smithsonian Institution's permanent collection (4)Over 5 billion cans of Spam have been sold since 1937. (5)Hawaiians are the highest per capita Spam eaters-averaging 4 cans/year per person-followed closely by Alaska, Arkansas, Texas, and Alabama (6)Hormel-sponsored Best of Spam Recipe competitions are held each year at more than 75 state and regional fairs (7)Over 20,000 people attend the Spam Jam in Spamtown, USA, aka Austin, Minnesota, Hormel's headquarters.

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Review:

The Cadillac of canned meat food products finally gets its due with Spam: A Biography. The book traces the meat's story from its distant Hormel ancestry through its history-changing 1937 birth, right up to the present day. Along the way we discover that its ingredients are not nearly so revolting as one might have been lead to think (merely pork shoulder, ham, salt, sugar, and delicious sodium nitrite) and that Spam received its pithy name from actor and friend of the Hormel family, Kenneth Daigneau. But this is no rosy-hued love letter to luncheon meats. Wyman tackles the tough issues of Hormel's labor problems during the 1980s and the visceral hatred many World War II GIs developed for Spam after finding it in meals for days on end. (Wyman also notes alternative wartime Spam uses, including skin conditioner, gun lubricant, and thickly-sliced playing cards.) In an invaluable service, readers are reassured as to the benign nature of the disturbing gelatin that surrounds Spam, and taught how to tell which batch they're eating by deciphering the markings on their cans. The author also tracks the history of Spam advertising and descends into the terrifying maelstrom of obsessive Spam fans. Of course, no book on Spam would be complete without recipes, and Wyman includes some truly chilling examples, including "SPAMtastic Mincemeat Truffles," "Fruit Cocktail-SPAM Buffet Party Loaf," and the absolutely ungodly "Lobster Thermidor aux Crevettes with a Mornay Sauce Garnished with Truffle Pâté, Brandy, and a Fried Egg on Top and Spam." --Ali Davis

About the Author:

Carolyn Wyman is the author of Spam: A Biography, I'm a Spam Fan, and The Kitchen Sink Cookbook. She has written for several trade magazines and national publications, such as the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times. For over ten years her weekly column, "Supermarket Sampler," a review of new food products syndicated by Universal Press, has appeared in more than one hundred newspapers across the country. Wyman lives in Middletown, Connecticut.

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