SPAM

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Winning Nomination

SPAM is known worldwide as a Minnesota food product. It was an essential for U.S. soldiers in WWII, provides economic vitality to Minnesota, and is the source of much good humor. Our family took a day trip to the SPAM Museum in Austin and had an absolute blast!
~Richard Harden, New Brighton, MN


Runner-up Nominations

It helped us win WWII, it's a delicacy in Asia, a mainstay in Hawaii and Guam, more recognized globally than Coca Cola, yet it still remains a mystery to so many people. Since 1937, they've sold around 6 billion cans, too. Theres even a SPAM Museum now. SPAM is a world unto itself, and could be our most famous export. Even more than Bob Dylan and Prince!
~Dan Armstrong, Minneapolis, MN

SPAM has become an American icon in the 68 years since its birth. 2007 will mark the 70th anniversary of SPAM. The product was the brainchild of Jay Hormel, then President of the Hormel Foods Corporation, a Minnesota-born Fortune 500 company. SPAM was an important product for people in Minnesota, USA and the world at large during WWII. SPAM continues to be an important product in today's international market bringing notice to Minnesota as the home of Hormel Foods and SPAM, as well as the SPAM Museum. George Hormel could have started his company in Ohio, Illinois, Iowa . . . but he chose Austin, Minnesota, due to the perfect conditions of farming, weather, plenty of ice to keep the meat cold in the years prior to refrigeration, and work ethic of the people in the area. George A. Hormel knew then what we know now . . . Minnesota is a great place to live, work and play. SPAM fits right in!
~Shawn Radford, Austin, MN SPAM

SPAM, Hormel-brand canned meat. It's fed troops, made breakfast/lunch/dinner easy. It is a survival-kit staple, famous the world over.
~William Miller, Duluth, MN

George A. Hormel The founder of the Geo. A. Hormel Company in Austin, MN, the creaters of SPAM...need I say more? Known around the world and providing meals to our servicemen still today. Who can attend a Twins baseball game and not have a Hormel Hotdog? George A. has touched us all!
~

Spam provided an inexpensive meat source for England during WWII. It still provides a lot of the world and the U.S. with inexpensive meat. It now belongs to pop-culture, providing topics for songs and comedy skits.
~Melissa Mlynek-Peplinski, Swanzey, NH

A major protein source dropped on post World War II Japan and Germany
~Katherine Pederson, Minneapolis, MN

Minnesota business for many years. Developed canned food for the soldiers. Their food products are a staple in most if not all Minnesota homes.
~Jean Schendel, Stewartville, MN

George Hormel Bread from Pillsbury, vegetables from Green Giant, milk from Land O Lakes, and Cure 81 Ham from Hormel -- a balanced meal and all from Minnesota companies. George Hormel founded the Hormel Food Corporation in Austin over 100 years ago. Mr. Hormel emphasized innovation. Hormel Foods pioneered shelf-stable canned meat at a time when the quality of meats was inconsistent and the lack of refrigeration make meat storage risky. Today, Hormel Foods is the only Fortune 500 company in the state not based in the Twin Cities. He should certainly be included in any cavalcade of industrialists and entrepreneurs.
~Jim Peck, Austin, MN

It's been an international standard that sustained our POWs in WWII and sustains Hawaiians to this day. The product has been important to hog farmers, factory workers, and the communities they support from its hometown base of Austin, MN.
~Jana Hayden, Minneapolis, MN

Hormel Foods George Hormel brought convenience to home cooks, starting with canned hams, canned soup and SPAM. Hormel continues to make it easier for cooks with their marinated meat products, deli meats, hot dogs and many other branded products
~Darlene Lewis, West St Paul, MN

SPAM has transformed our state, country and world with its universal recognition as a lunch meat and derogatory adjective. Also, SPAM has an appeal which has lasted for decades and many generations.
~Dan Huwe, Clear Lake, MN

Everyone with an email account knows about spam! It is a standard story or punch line for commedians Monte Python: spam-spam-spam-... worldwide. It is a delicacy in Hawaii hmmmm. It has its own museum albeit company-sponsored. EVERY fighting man or woman remembers meals of SPAM. Campers love it because it is easy to carry and doesnt spoil.
~Bill Jolitz, North Oaks, MN

As a vegetarian, this might seem odd, but Hormel has been on an important part of S.E. Minnesota's economy. The product is known around the globe and it's certainly well known.
~Linda Johnson, Minnetonka, MN

SPAM luncheon meat has accomplished many feats since it was born in 1936: traveling the world, feeding billions of hungry people, and most importantly, helping to win a war. In March 1941, Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act, providing aid to Allied forces which resulted in shipments of 15 million cans of SPAM each week to Britain and Russia. As the war spread, so did SPAM. Soon soldiers were coining derisive nicknames for SPAM such as 'the ham that didn't pass its physical' and a 'meatball without basic training.' British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher described SPAM in her memoirs as a 'war-time delicacy.' SPAM continues to be a popular grocery staple the world over. Austin, Minnesota is the site of the SPAM Museum, which opened in 2002. Every summer visitors and locals alike celebrate at the SPAM Jam.
~Laura Helle, Austin, MN

The changes that our country has gone through can be seen in the time line that follows SPAM's life.
~Joan Desmond, Oakdale, MN

How didn't SPAM transform the world? The mysterious meatstuff in a can singlehandedly ended Facism in Europe, Imperialism in Asia, Communism and the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe, not to mention it fueled our mission to the moon! How could you not consider that savory, pragmatic, aromatic meatstuff?
~David Berger, Eau Claire, WI

My nomination for this 150 items is SPAM. SPAM made by Hormel foods.
~Jim Seufert

SPAM Museum I work at the SPAM museum, actually I'm an ambassador for the SPAM museum. Some background on SPAM. One of the things we hear a lot about is the connection of SPAM to WWII and lots of people talk about it. They also like the piece about the Hormel Girls. The Hormel Girls was a caravan started by J. Hormel to broaden the market with Hormel products. They used to do shows across the country. There is so much history of SPAM in the museum. It brings people into Austin, Minesota from around the world. It's an amazing place. People build friendships here even if they don't know each other. They connect over memories of SPAM.
~Gretchen Ramlo, Austin MN


Contents

History

Fuel for American troops worldwide

One of the most maligned products in American culinary history, SPAM started out as anything but a joke. Hormel Foods, of Austin, Minnesota, made a name for itself in 1926 by marketing the nation’s first canned ham. Eleven years later in 1937, Jay C. Hormel, son of company founder George Hormel, developed SPAM luncheon meat, the first canned meat product that did not require refrigeration. It’s a fully cooked combination of chopped pork shoulder and ham, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrate. Countless lame jokes to the contrary (for example, “Some Parts Are Meat”), its name is derived from the “sp” in “spiced” and the “am” in “ham.”

SPAM’s ability to stay fresh without refrigeration made it a useful commodity during World War II, when it became a staple of GIs’ diets. Today it remains popular in countries where it was widely available during war years. It is sold in forty-one countries. The largest consumers after the United States are the United Kingdom (not coincidentally the home of comedy troupe Monty Python, who parlayed SPAM mockery into a memorable sketch and a Broadway musical) and South Korea, where it gained popularity due to the large presence of American troops there during the Korean War.

SPAM’s popularity in South Korea is particularly intriguing. Far from being a joke there, it is a luxury item—-a delicacy that is popular during Chusok, the biggest gift-giving occasion of the year for Koreans. For decades after the end of the Korean War, South Koreans bought SPAM on the black market, from supplies that had been diverted from U.S. military bases. Then, in 1987, CJ Corporation bought the rights from Hormel and began producing SPAM at a factory south of Seoul. South Korean SPAM has less salt and slightly different spices than its American counterpart. It’s fried with rice or mixed into soups and stews. Sometimes it appears in kimbab, the Korean version of sushi.

Arguably Minnesota’s most famous—-or infamous—-international export, SPAM has secured its place in the world’s popular culture.

Resource Links

The Amazing SPAM Homepage!

Spam (food) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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