I’ve been following lectures on DVD’s* here at home, while I drink my tea and eat a chocolate chip cookie, and in one of the talks, the professor discussed the history of Hormel Spam. In case you are not familiar with that kind of Spam, it is a canned luncheon meat that became popular in the late 1930’s and early ’40’s.

Since you are reading this on a computer, I know you have experience with the technical spam and it’s sure not the one you eat, but rather delete.

I was very interested in the professor’s information about the food, Spam, because I am from the generation that ate a lot Spam all through World War II. We ate it with our eggs for breakfast, in sandwiches, and even as a main course sometimes for dinner. Right now, I have a can in my pantry in case of emergency.

If you weren’t around during WWII, maybe you don’t know that fresh meat was hard to come by for many communities. Of course, many other foods were in short supply as well. Sugar was rationed. We had books of stamps that were like coupons so that could get sugar. My mother used ours mostly for canning the fruit that we would go out and pick from farmers who allowed that activity.

People had Victory Gardens when they had enough dirt-space to grow fruits and vegetables. Mostly they grew vegetables. My parents only had enough room to grow strawberries in a small patch, but those berries were delicious.

We ate a lot of starch back then–potatoes, rice, spaghetti, breads. Funny enough, not as many people were obese as they are today, even at that. My family had access to live chickens from a local farm and we killed and dressed them ourselves. (Nasty job and the feathers really stink. I know because even a child could pluck feathers.)

Not so many years ago, I told my mother that I don’t like stuffed peppers. She said, “I overdid it, didn’t I?” I replied that she did. Because it was cheap, she served it quite often. Her green peppers were stuffed with meat that she ground herself (not Spam) and then mixed with breadcrumbs. Not exactly what I would call a gourmet dish.

I hope I didn’t disrupt your pleasure in eating your cookie with my explanation of the chicken, but at least I didn’t describe the entire distasteful process of preparing the bird for cooking. It was always delicious once it was ready to eat. And, it was a lot better than rabbit, which we often endured. You can thank me for not telling you how that was prepared for cooking.

* Great Courses are available from The Teaching Company
and I highly recommend you get their catalog

COMING NEXT: Famous Groups of Women, which includes information about the interesting Spam Girls as well as others.


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