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Non-Ironic, Artisanal Spam at Carnivore

Non-Ironic, Artisanal Spam at Carnivore
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  • Non-Ironic, Artisanal Spam at Carnivore

    Post #1 - January 28th, 2018, 9:41 pm
    Post #1 - January 28th, 2018, 9:41 pm Post #1 - January 28th, 2018, 9:41 pm
    My dad would pan-fry Spam for breakfast. He came to love this “spiced ham” while in the Army during WWII. To him, a poor kid from Hamtramck, Michigan, Spam was what he rarely had growing up: meat. It was still, even years after the war, a favorite for him. One day maybe six years ago, I bought some Spam and made it for breakfast, much to the very verbal disgust of my wife and daughters. I called my dad later that day.

    Me: “Guess what I had for breakfast?” [pause] “Spam! When’s the last time you had Spam?”

    Dad: “I had it for breakfast this morning.”

    Spam is a much-disdained food on the mainland, but in Hawaii, it’s beloved, as it is in the Philippines. Spam needs no preservatives, and it’s no surprise that it caught on among the military and Pacific island populations, both of whom were sometimes deprived of sustenance during wartime.

    But why is Spam now so disdained? Prejudice and misunderstanding. A quick Google reveals this explanation of “why Spam is not good for you” – “A single serving of spam has about 53% of the recommended amount of sodium…it has no nutrients or vitamins.” [https://www.learnvest.com/2011/10/good-for-your-wallet-bad-for-your-health-5-cheap-foods-to-avoid]

    Of course, Spam has nutrients; it’s meat: 100mg (about 3.5 ounces) of Spam yields 13 grams of protein, over a quarter of the daily requirement, and there are small quantities of minerals and vitamins. If salt is a worry to you, get the reduced sodium version (there are around twenty varieties of Spam on the market, including Spam with Black Pepper, Jalapeno Spam, Spam Boricua to please Puerto Rico and Spam Macadamia Nuts to further delight Hawaiians).

    Then there’s artisanal spam, as prepared by hand, in-store, by Brad Knaub and his crew at Carnivore.

    Edited, Brad Knaub, photo David Hammond.jpg A man and his Spam, Brad Knaub at Carnivore


    When I posted a pic of Hawaiian Spam musubi on Facebook, Knaub announced he would make some for his in-store luau last Saturday. I stopped by to get some.

    “Spam has changed the course of history,” Knaub – clearly a fan – told me. For instance, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev said his troops would have died without Spam, and without battle-ready Russian troops, WWII might have turned out very differently.

    Knaub is sincere in his efforts, explaining “There’s a lot of nostalgia around Spam, but I’m not making this for hipsters who eat Spam as if to say, ‘I’m so cool and ironic.’ No, you’re an idiot.”

    And, of course, Knaub is not making Spam to be served during wartime (although, technically, I guess he is). Knaub is going for taste, saying “I want to make Spam that people want to eat, not Spam they need to eat.”

    I tried Knaub’s Spam on several occasions, and, no surprise, it has a much finer taste than the Hormel original (more subtlety, less salt and fat). It’s basically high-quality pork shoulder and ham, with some salt and sugar. For those of us who grew up on Spam, it may not be crappy enough to hit the right taste memory buttons, but we (including Carolyn) really liked it for what it is: a non-ironic casing-free pork sausage that people will like.

    You can pick up the best Spam you’ve probably ever had at Carnivore (while it lasts), $12/pound.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - January 29th, 2018, 2:38 pm
    Post #2 - January 29th, 2018, 2:38 pm Post #2 - January 29th, 2018, 2:38 pm
    David Hammond wrote:My dad would pan-fry Spam for breakfast. He came to love this “spiced ham” while in the Army during WWII.


    Funny. My father would never eat another PB&J sandwich for the rest of his too-short life due to eating so many during his time in the Korean War doing air/sea rescue. He did take up and continue smoking.

    I don't care for Spam but I do make a "hash" from the S.A. tinned corned beef and lots of chopped onions, shredded potatoes, and garlic that we like very much.
  • Post #3 - January 29th, 2018, 3:18 pm
    Post #3 - January 29th, 2018, 3:18 pm Post #3 - January 29th, 2018, 3:18 pm
    David Hammond wrote:My dad would pan-fry Spam for breakfast. He came to love this “spiced ham” while in the Army during WWII.



    Hormel claims that the meaning of the name "is known by only a small circle of former Hormel Foods executives", but popular beliefs are that the name is an abbreviation of "spiced ham", "spare meat", or "shoulders of pork and ham". Another popular explanation is that Spam is an acronym standing for "Specially Processed American Meat" or "Specially Processed Army Meat".
  • Post #4 - January 30th, 2018, 11:38 am
    Post #4 - January 30th, 2018, 11:38 am Post #4 - January 30th, 2018, 11:38 am
    Recently, for some reason, I have seen several different versions of a Spam dish that involves those dried seaweed sheets, like a slice of Spam -- maybe marinated in soy and other ingredients? -- then fried and wrapped in the seaweed sheet. These were on My Family Recipe Rocks as well as a Lunchbreak segment on WGN noon news, and somewhere on the internet news feed that I can't backtrack to.

    These segments actually made Spam look like an interesting ingredient. I wondered if I could smuggle a can into the menu without getting caught. After all, I have managed to smuggle in Velveeta cheese since that 'horrible' ingredient now comes in individually wrapped little bricks the perfect size for a small pot of mac-n-cheese. The little bricks hide way in the back of the cheese drawer and have never been discovered.

    But could Spam go undetected if it were on a plate looking up at you at breakfast? I hate outrage and horror at breakfast.

    That being said, in our household, we stopped eating corned beef hash from a can because I could not convince myself that it was not akin to dog food. But, now that I think of it, the abandonment of canned corned beef hash happened in conjunction with my making corned beef brisket every March and freezing leftovers in packets for hash for a few months. Lately, brisketless, I have been thinking about a can of hash.

    You have to appreciate an ingredient that come with its own hymn of praise:
    Spam Spam Spam Spam...Lovely Spam! Wonderful Spam!
  • Post #5 - January 30th, 2018, 12:49 pm
    Post #5 - January 30th, 2018, 12:49 pm Post #5 - January 30th, 2018, 12:49 pm
    Joy wrote:Recently, for some reason, I have seen several different versions of a Spam dish that involves those dried seaweed sheets, like a slice of Spam -- maybe marinated in soy and other ingredients? -- then fried and wrapped in the seaweed sheet

    Musubi. Very Hawaiian

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #6 - January 31st, 2018, 7:08 pm
    Post #6 - January 31st, 2018, 7:08 pm Post #6 - January 31st, 2018, 7:08 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Joy wrote:Recently, for some reason, I have seen several different versions of a Spam dish that involves those dried seaweed sheets, like a slice of Spam -- maybe marinated in soy and other ingredients? -- then fried and wrapped in the seaweed sheet

    Musubi. Very Hawaiian

    =R=

    Grocery store rendition . . .

    Image
    Foodland - Kihei, HI - 18.0131

    Image
    Foodland - Kihei, HI - 18.0131

    A nearby restaurant, Da' Kitchen, does a deep-fried version, which they are somewhat known for.

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #7 - February 1st, 2018, 9:15 am
    Post #7 - February 1st, 2018, 9:15 am Post #7 - February 1st, 2018, 9:15 am
    I love Carnivore. They are always doing cool things there. I just hope it doesn't go the way of Marion St. Cheese Market.

    Last visit I picked up some beef shanks for osso buco and leaf lard and hog casings for saucisson.
    i used to milk cows

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