Story by Kathy Collins | Illustration by Matt Foster
Eh, you wen’ try da new Spam yet? Da one s’pose to taste like Portagee sausage? Well, if you no live in Hawai‘i, you no can buy ‘em in yo’ neighbahood store. In fack, even if you live on Maui, you still goin’ have hard time find ‘em. Da buggahs sell out as soon as they put ‘em on da shelf.
Da new Spam is one mahalo gift from Hormel Foods to Hawai‘i, made spesho’ jus’ fo’ us. Dass ‘cause we da numbah-one Spam fans in America. Even dough we only get half of 1 percent of all da peepoh in da U.S., we eat mo’ Spam dan any oddah state . . . around 7 million cans a year!
Ev’ry time da mainland media try fo’ explain how come we eat so much Spam, dey always talk about World War II, when da military wen’ ship tons of da stuff ovah heah, an’ da GIs wen’ share ‘em wit’ da locals. Dose days, fresh meat was hard fo’ get an’ hard fo’ keep — mos’ guys nevah have refridjaraytah back den — an’ aftah Japan wen’ bomb Pearl Harbah, da U.S. no would let da local Japanee fishamans go out in their boats, so had fish shortage, too. So Spam, Vienna sausage, an’ can sardines was da main source of protein.
But da main reason we love Spam is simpoh: Spam is ‘onolicious. Nottin’ else taste like ‘em, not even da odda brand luncheon meats. Da salt jus’ right, da spice jus’ right, da tex-cha is perfeck. And so convenient, da shape an’ size. Easy fo’ slice up strips fo’ stir-fry, or slabs fo’ sandwich or musubi. No wondah Spam is one a da four basic building blocks of da local diet. Da oddah t’ree is sugar, starch, an’ shoyu.
Da guys at Hormel, dey know we love our linguesa (Portagee sausage) almost as much as our Spam, so dey figgah, if dey put ‘em togeddah, we going love Spam even mo’. Not. At leas’, not fo’ me. If I ‘ono(crave) fo’ Portagee sausage, I goin’ eat Portagee sausage. I like my Spam taste like Spam.
Dass what I said couple, t’ree years ago, when dey wen’ bus’ out da teriyaki Spam. An’ no even get me started on Spam Lite. Dat one get 25 percent less sodium an’ 50 percent less fat dan regulah Spam. Dey should call ‘em “Spam Why Even Boddah?”
If you not one Spam purist like me, an’ you like try da new Portagee sausage flayvah, you can get ‘em online. But watch out, some guys charging up to twelve bucks one can, on eBay. Mo’ bettah you go to da off-shoh website, Spam.com. Ovah deah, you can get any kine Spam you like: chorizo, tocino, hot an’ spicy, black peppah, garlic, jalapeno, hickory smoke, plus Spam wit’ cheese an’ Spam wit’ bacon. Even get turkey Spam, but like I said befo’, why even boddah?
No get me wrong, I appreciate da t’ought an’ da effort behind da spesho SPAMs, but, eh, if da buggah not broke, no fix ‘em. On da oddah hand, if Hormel can figgah out how fo’ put rice an’ nori (seaweed) inside da can, in da middoh of da meat, I would be da first in line fo’ try da inside-out Spam musubi. I would go fo’ li hing mui Spam, too.
So long as dey keep makin’ classic Spam, an’ no change da originoh recipe, I no care how much oddah flayvahs dey come up wit’. Like dey say, variety is da spice of life. But Spam — classic SPAM — is da foundation.