« Stuff You Missed in History Class

Offbeat History: A Culinary History of Spam

2020-03-19 | 🔗

Back in 2014, we tackled SPAM's story. This famous Hormel Foods product was invented in the 1930s to make use of a surplus of shoulder meat from pigs. It played a huge role in WWII, and shaped the cuisines of many Pacific Island nations.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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I hurt. Radio apple pie casts or wherever you get your podcast everybody here is an episode from our ten episode playlists that were calling beat history yeah weren't. Adding this too, are our regular publishing schedule as one kind of big drop all at the same time. On March nineteenth, in Southern Europe have a little bit of extra entertainment options available to you, particularly you are self cordon, fiend or sheltering embrace welcome to stuff, you missed in history class, production of Iheart radio. Welcome to the arbitrary and I'm how we try, do you remember recently on our remit but aid, and we had that weird influx of self published a book spam yeah,
like suddenly, just Tom's opposed for showing up people promoting their self publicity book, but often had nothing to do with him three now none of them- and that was the only thing and they had in common- was that none of them were about history. Otherwise they were by different people. They are posted from different accounts. There, indifferent charter It was very strange because I was wondering- maybe you know- maybe there had been some article but had gotten passed around. It was like to promote your e book posts on random people's Facebook pages. I posted on our Facebook page to say sir pay listeners any of you.
have any idea why this might be happening of a couple of people really went out of their way to yell at us and tell us idiots for even asking their question most people kind of shrugged their shoulders virtually about it. A few people gave us suggest to him, Sir, during daylight, track down exactly was going on, but a couple of people said you know would be cool is if you didn't episode about spam, the food not spam. Like the unwanted e communication but span the food, and I can get behind that because I will loudly and broadly say I quite enjoy spam yeah well immediately from just a few facts that I already knew about spans influence on various cuisines. In the wake of world war, two
I was like yeah: let's do the idea. That sounds actually pretty interesting, an awesome and then that led to several other people, tiding charming in with interesting tidbits, about spam in history. So that is what we are talking about today. Thank you. and people who put their weird ebooks hotter facebook page. It is this: are you it is journey but weak to cool episode, idea sharing, the journey is sometimes the lad times. You will ask us how we come up with these things. Well, that's an example, but so yesterday we get it about spasms history and how spam played a part in some pretty important historical events, namely world war, to him Korean war- yes, so in case anyone does not. Now spam is made by hormonal foods George
A or mail was born in eighteen, sixty in Buffalo New York. Now their last name was originally pronounced horrible to ride with normal, and it's not totally clear when hormone became Cornell em because we both been saying hormonal, all our lives and for the sake of consistency, we're just gonna go with hormones that was definitely with the company was calling itself by. The time span was invented, so the normal family moved to Toledo. Ohio in Georgia was just six and he worked in his father's temporary after school, the pen.
of eighteen. Seventy three meant that the family found itself meeting additional income so at the age of twelve George left school, so that he could spend more time working and make more money for the family. After a few brief stance in a couple of other jobs, he wound up working at his uncles meet packing business and he worked there until he was nineteen and George continued to work indifferent jobs throughout his young adulthood. He was working as a trembling salesman when he found a meat shop for sale in often Minnesota, where he was passing through, while he was doing some business in his sales and he bought this meat when he opened it. Putting his experience at his uncles me packing operation into practice and opening his own meet business soon. He really wanted the business to be more than just a butcher shop, so he borrowed some money, founded investor and establish George, a whole Cornell and company. The George was just G o with period after it
and they operated out of an abandoned Kremer II. That was in eighteen, ninety one, and at that point he was thirty one years old. Although the United States biggest meet packing operations were in Chicago, and here he was in Austin Minnesota. Hundreds of miles away from that sort of excess of industry, and he was also Brian knew. He was a small business in an industry that, at that point, was completely dominated by really established long time. Powerhouse and he also didn't actually have some of the equipment that he was going to need to be. You know a large scale, meat packer, for example. He did not have refrigerated rail cars at his disposal. Those have been around since one thousand eight hundred and seventy eight, but George did not have any until after the turn of the century, so George Hermel needed to set himself apart in some way, since he couldn't just go head to head with all these giant established meat packing companies, he decided to focus on two things: the first one
since more of the pig carcass was used then, and many other food animals and quality. So when other businesses were cutting their pork products with filled with fillers, he really stuck as much as he could just to meet that came from pigs and the company incorporated in one thousand nine hundred and one, and by one thousand nine hundred and twenty four, they were slaughtering a million hogs each year, George Formal Sunday, he had other sons as well Jane, the one who plays a part in this part of the story. He was a veteran of world where one having served as chief quartermaster in the american expeditionary forces, J came back from the war, with a sense of what canned goods can do in terms of feeding an army. So he encouraged torment to look into focusing on canned meat products. The company's first can ham came out in nineteen too
He sticks in nineteen. Twenty nine George hormone retired M J took at the helm after his father was no under part of the business and, at this point, hormone introduce Didn, t more beef, stew, informal Chile, those both came out in nineteen thirty five. At about the same time, the hormone company recognised that it had a surplus of shoulder me from pigs. Now this wasn't a particularly popular cut of meat because neatly removing the meat from the bone was a really time and labour intensive process, and because the lot of consumers thought that it was inferior to other cuts of pork like him
and what the hormonal company decided to do was to growing up this. Shoulder me, along with some ham and aunt salt, water, a bit of sugar and some sodium nitrates. That last ingredient preserves the color of the meat and also inhibits bacterial growth, and today spam also includes potato starch. But that was not in the original was added later to keep the liquid from seeping out of the meat and forming and gelatinous layer on top, which I remember seeing periodically again when I was a kid, and it was indeed kind of gross yeah is in the eighties when he made that this new products name was coined by Kenneth Dagger. Now who was not only a Broadway actor but also the brother of a formal bp? He won a hundred dollars for his efforts, its allegedly a portmanteau of spiced and ham, but the specifics on that are really not documented and hormonal claims that it. What it really stands for is a
closely guarded secret. That makes it sound like it's somehow secretly, spelling out horrible things that could be contained in it. But the important thing is that spam took the world by storm and we're going to talk about that after we have a quick, add break this episode of stuff. You missed in history class is brought to you by Norton three hundred and sixty with Lifelock hate doing taxes. There are a lot of people out there who loved to do them for you, but I'm not talking about tax specialists, I'm talking about cyber criminals and identity thieves during taxi than in Europe No information like your name and a security number could be emailed and shared more than usual criminals can steal your info from your device, isn't selling on the dark web or use it to commit other crimes even years down. The road and other words tax season is a great time to be a cybercriminal making it the best time to help protect yourself by using Norton three hundred and sixty with Lifelock Norton. Three hundred and sixty with Lifelock is a cyber
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now get to spam and how came to dominate the market? Yeah suspend mean its entry into the market and nineteen thirty seven and its launch was accompanied by a huge advertising campaign and build spam is suitable for every meal. Ampere snacks spam was basically an instant hit and it took eighteen percent of the market share for can have in its first year. That is hugely significant, the? U S was starting to recover someone from the great depression, but overall people, we're really excited about having access to an inexpensive shell, stable source of meat, plus its really long shelf life meant that you could start up when you had extra money, and you would have like a nice little go to your pantry of edible.
Spam also got an endorsement from George Burns and Gracie Alan on their radio. Show there the charming, depending on your taste, print, add for both spam and the show and which George says to Gracie Gracie. If a strange man offered to buy you lunch, what would you say and the Hen Gracie replies Spam, I think, is charming, but it is british are basically everything moves to did was charming to me also amend print hair. Add was the copy, cold or hot spam hits the spot called bits. Spam and vegetable mould spamming our sandwiches, hot spam and eggs spam and waffles baked spam spam burgers. A singing radio commercial also came out in the forties that began and ended with the word spam spam spam spam and you look at it as I did look at it many times they dig research. It looks a lot like the money
I thought sketch, but in reality it was sung to the tune of my body lies over the ocean. Now I just wish someone could convince Terry Jones to sing the spam song in his family. Be voice to my Bonnie lies over the ocean. I bet we cut would be real start again. But why war to really launch spam into the american patriotic consciousness? U S? Residents were encouraged to give up beef and premium cuts of other meats so that they can help the war effort and spam was a handicap. It is now so people were eating spam out of necessity towards the end of the great depression, because it was cheap and they didn't have a lot of money. This time it was more of a sacrifice to support the United States, the heart, EL company, along with other meat producers made specially packaged army versions of spam. These were basically exe dreamily large spam loaves and olive drab tins than they were
branded as spam. With that distinctive blue spam label, they contain some extra salt so that they could withstand the temperature extremes of all the places that the troops were deployed. There were also some ordinary cans of spam or basically bought in a pinch to try to make ends meet for the men's rations her male wound, but providing at least one hundred million pounds of spam during world war. Two that's a lot of spam is so much spam. The running theme in world war, two soldiers discussed in a war and for the troops, the word spam actually came to mean any kind of processed and preserved meat, and it was on the and you a lot. It's often seem like. It was three may look three meals a day every single day, so spam, three meals a day didn't literally me mean brandname spam, but processed meat, three meals, a day. People basically thought of all of that
stuff as spam is similar to how all tissues are kleenex. Even that is a thing that horrible try so are in nineteen. Sixty six, when the hormonal company was celebrating, Seventy fifth birthday, Dwight the Eisenhower, wrote in a letter to a retired hormone president saying quote: I ate share of spam, along with millions of other soldiers, I'll even confess to a few unkind remarks about it uttered during the strain of battle you understand, but as former commander in chief, I believe I can still forgive you for your only send sending us so much of it. That so much of it meant that a lot of servicemen swore they would never touch another kind of spam once the war was over, and while this may
I've been true at least temporarily. Many people who had sworn never touch. Another piece of spam wound up feeling a little nostalgic for it once the war was over eating spam took on this patriotic air and it was bolstered this concept of patriotism linked to spam by hormones, advertising campaign, which tides bam to wholesome values and patriotic spirit, and that advertising plan went on, threw out the Yes, it was also bolstered by a sixty member danced group known as the hormone girls who toward around in U S old fashioned after the end of the war after getting their start in nineteen. Forty seven. I hope we have pictures of those I saw a couple. I did not find any that we can like put in our blogger. Anything
Garth, but there are some that could be a great hollowing costume. The combination of nostalgia patriotism meant that spans Haiti in the. U S really ran through the fifties in the sixties: cookbooks featured spammers, an ingredient in all kinds of dishes, but as the seventies crept in spammers, popularity started to fade a bit on December, fifteen nineteen, seventy, the last skit on that night episode of money, Python supplying circus, was the infamous spam sketch, in which a couple goes to a cafe where they're serving a lot of spam, and then they were vikings, who also think about spam. Then, on December 31st, one thousand nine hundred and seventy four episode of MASH Hawkeye Entrapper John Save Radars PET lamb for being slaughtered refused by sculpting a new one out of spam, weirdo yank of x.
ban song son to the tune of our e M stand came out in nineteen. Eighty nine, at which point the can meet, had really become cemented in the american consciousness, as both a joke and junk food people started to think of spam is mystery meet made of remnants the way that hot dogs are reported to be, even though its ingredients had not changed. Aside from that addition of potato starch that we talked about earlier and today, people really kind of think of spam is dated and cheap at least most people in the United States. This is not the case in several other parts of the world. So it's a talk about spam in other parts of the world. We need to zip back to world war to you for a minute and the United States. The land lease act was passed on March, eleven nineteen, forty one and, as its name suggests the land Lease ACT allowed the United States to lead.
The earliest supplies and materials to ally nations without payment, if doing so was quote vital to the defence of the United States. So this was a way for the United States to help the war effort without actually committing troops, which would happen eventually, after the japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December seventh of the same year, through the lens LISA Spam made his way to Russia in the key to Khrushchev's, memoir speak If we were to these, as quote there were many jokes going around in the army, some of them off color about american spam, but it tasted good. Nonetheless, without spam we wouldn't have been able to feed our army. Spam also made its way several other parts of the world through the Land Leaf act and through the presence of american troops during the war, along with other military actions. So we're going to talk specific, we about Hawaii, which at this point was not yet a state as well as the Philippines and South Korea.
And in Hawaii spammers influence came from two sources? One was the american G eyes who were stationed there or who pass through Hawaii on their way to other parts, the Pacific, the other. was Hawaii japanese population. So, during world war, two in the Continental, United States, the government forest- many Japanese Americans into Internment- This is absolutely a thing that is on the list for podcast episode later on. Consequently, spam sometimes make it makes them parents and japanese american food, because it was one of the fields that was being served in the camps, but Hawaii was not yet a state. So the United States government could not really begin in turning its citizens and then you can make an argument that the United States government shouldn't have been in turning its
since, without due process in the first place it super did not have that authority to do in Hawaii. Also, the japanese population of Hawaii was just too big to be in turned their way too many people of japanese ancestry, the camps that would have been required were too large for the eye
ones themselves to be able to support. There is no way that the United States could do in Hawaii what it was doing in the Continental United States instead to combat this perceived threat from people with Jim, japanese ancestry, restrictions were placed on the movements and activities of people that were of japanese descent in Hawaii, so japanese Hawaiians were banned from deep sea fishing, which has been one of the ways that they primarily source their food for the japanese community because of Hawaii remote location, its landscape and the available food sources. The easiest protein source for japanese Hawaiians, too, used to replace what they lost from deep sea fishing was spam. Consequently, spam has been incorporated into many japanese dishes and these very based on different ethnic groups who live in Japan, but in particular there is a lot of sort of hawaiian
Japan is spam, use it there's a yummy restaurant here in ITALY and other does a yummy spam on trade with gravy and delicious ness, and I absolutely love it- the most famous example of the spam dishes that they were making it. This time, though, is spam monsieur. we, which is spam over rice, its wrapped in Norway? sea weed and sometimes aroma asleep, called spam. Sushi does kind of resemble a sushi role, but receiving as its more accurate name today. Hawaii is, of course, a state and consumes more spam than any other state and the island of Whitey key hosts and annual spam jam. Let's go
thanks to the presence of G eyes during World war to an ongoing military presence. Thereafter. Spam also became very popular in Guam in Okinawa. This episode of Steffy missed in history classes, ratty bike whip. I love my whip. Toothbrush. I've loved Elect toothbrushes for a really long time, but my quip toothbrush is more lightweight. the charge lasts for such a longer time in general, it's just easier and more fun to use. It also makes it so much easier to take care of my dental health, that's with brushing for two minutes Why is day Flossy regularly, no matter what These quip makes all of that really easy. Starting with an electric toothbrush. Refundable flaws in anti cavity toothpaste, quips electric brush has sensitive sonic vibrations, with a built in timer and thirty second pulses to guide a full and even clean, plus quip delivers the fresh brush head flaws in toothpaste, refills to your door, every three months with
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In Korea and Japan, citizens work really just desperately suffering during world war. Two as a side note, if you have not seen the japanese film grave of the fireflies, will give you an idea of how desperately hard things where for japanese citizens during the war can meet like spam, really saved people's lives and consequently became incorporated into local cuisines there as well. In South Korea. This continued during the Korean WAR american soldiers station there not considering spam to be particularly valuable or important, were happy to use it as trade. and to increase goodwill They would also sell it on the black market later on and therein
the Korean WAR, the United States Army, is postal exchange or p acts was often the only place that people could get meet. Spam was really what was available and since people can afford to buy it necessarily from the p x, it really came to be considered a lot three. It's an ingredient in a dish called boot age, a gay which I hope I am pronouncing correctly. I, which is also called military stew, and that's basically a do that all includes korean ingredients like chemistry of fried slab of poor, called Pew Yuck was also part of currying cuisine before the introduction of spam and spam became a replacement for pork and that dish when people couldn't get a hold of regular pork. So spam is undoubtedly an economy.
last viewed in the United States, but it's a little more expensive in Korea, and this association with scarcity and expense from earlier times means that today, its frequently given is a really high class gift. Often this is part of a really elaborate gift box that includes other foods. Korea is consequently the world's second largest consumer of spam. After the United States and spam similarly became popular in the Philippines as an after effect of U S. Military presence today in the Philippines often purchased outside of the country by people who are travelling for pleasure or business and then brought home with them as traditional homecoming gifts. This means a lot of times if you're in duty free shops at airports that cater to a lot.
Filipino travellers. There will be spam in the duty, free shops and spam is treated in the Philippines, on both the black in the gray markets, and there are actually nine different legitimately available varieties of spam there. There is even a turkey version for the nations muslim population tuner with that tastes lake. I also wonder what that they like. The reason that there is a black market at a grey market were spam is that there are some restrictions on imports in the Philippines, which means there's more demand for spam than is actually allowed to be imported, and when, when you look at the numbers of the number of can sold versus the number of people allowed to sell it, it just doesn't add up.
There is additional spam coming from somewhere. So there is a legitimate argument to be made here that all of these examples are examples of undue american influence on other cultures, but in the case of spam in particular, local cuisines have really taken spam and then were bit and made it into something that is uniquely their own, whereas in the United States, people were usually basically using spam as a substitute for other meat, rather than making something new and uniquely spam out of it, and today spam is distributed in more than fifty countries. In its trademark in more than a hundred there actually to spam cans in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian. In in the division of the history of technology, one was the original one thousand nine hundred and thirty seven can which had to be open
a key and the other is a more modern luncheon meat can, which was introduced in nineteen. Eighty seven to think has the pull tab style. The look of the label for spam has stayed basically the same. All this time Span was also served at a breakfast at the opening of a world war. Two exhibition at the National Museum of American history and the circle back a little bit too spammers. Many, Not hormonal is still majority owned by family, but it's no longer really family run family still owns it bit. Other professionals of running things are in charge of the company. I also in this episode had a whole rather lengthy section about labour history at the hormone company, which has some actually very interesting twists and turns,
contradictions, there were parts of the company's history that were really revolutionary in terms of labour relations. Are there other parts of the company's history at which there were really contentious and heated strikes and then, in one case, a strange, auto immune disease that cropped up at one of its meat suppliers? The aid that is the whole a series of things and then I you know, went through the outline to edit it. It all seemed extremely ancillary to the story of spam. I don't think we will have a whole episode on the history of labour relations at the hormone company, but if you are interested in such a thing, I will but the links to my sources on that in our showed a series out can check them out for yourself. I most
of my research for this sort of fell on either side of a weekend and on the Friday part I kept being like. Maybe I should go, get some spam and eat it cause I don't, I'm not sure I've ever eaten spam sure I did at some point as a child. Why have it in our three yeah? I know I know I've had should be fun, toast that Fischer. Does that not all nobody, It is another kind of military joke food. We definitely have spam in our three day. Emergency get you knowing there's some kind of disaster yeah, so that was on Friday and then on Monday. I had these resources that had all of these spam recipes, and I kept being like that sounds disgusting, like, though the ones that were you know that a military stew and spam receiving you like paths that are really interesting to me. But then there are ones that were American feeds that were made with spam, and I was like that's the grossest thing that I have ever heard of. I'm not only shade the spam man. People have put together some gross SAM.
big recipes. You have got one with a vague. Are there are lots of non spam growth rates of you? Ok, one of them was fake. Escargot and I'm just gonna want experiments. Halloween casting about anyone know what that is. I like escargot, when the idea of using spam to make fake escargot really grows to be out, Thank you so much for joining us today for the classic. If you have heard any kind of email address, there may be a facebook url during the course of the episode that might be obsolete. It might be doubly obsolete because we have changed our email address again. You can now reach us at history, podcast that I heart radio, dot com and we're all over social media at missed in history, and you can subscribe
to our shadow on Apple podcast, Google Podcast, the eye heart radio app and wherever else he listened upon, casts a few months than history class in the production of high heart radio. For more casts from my heart radio visit by her radio, Hap Apple pie casts or wherever you listen to your favorite chose. This episode is brought to you by olano cookies. Look sometimes that long, Zen yoga classes, just not in the card, so maybe a cookie, is peppered farm. Olano believes you should make some time, for you self. Once in a while. I
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